A vibrant group of active alumni who serve as ambassadors for the School.
The purpose of the Alumni Council is to serve both the needs of Manhattan School of Music and alumni with the overall goal of improving and developing greater connections among alumni and with the School.
New York City resident Justin Bischof is one of the most eclectic artists of his generation. He is an internationally acclaimed orchestral & opera conductor as well as concert organist, pianist, and improviser. He has performed in some of the world’s great venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tonhalle of Zurich, Eli Broad Theatre of Los Angeles, St. Paul’s Cathedral London, Notre Dame Paris, Cologne Cathedral, to name a few. He has collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent artists including Joshua Bell, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun and Roberta Peters. As an orchestral conductor, he was worked with numerous ensembles including National Arts Center Orchestra, The Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Vancouver Symphony, the Royal Symphony of Oman, the State Philharmonic Kavkazskiye of Russia, the WAAPA orchestra in Perth Australia, and the National Orchestra of Haiti. He is the Founder & Artistic Director of MOO The Modus Opera Orchestra of New York City which has presented an Annual Children’s Benefit to help at risk children that has raised over US$1,000,000. He made his Australian Opera Conducting Debut in Perth at the WAAPA leading a critically acclaimed production of the Australian Premiere of Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Crucible. This nationally celebrated artistic event was a highlight of the Australian classical music season. Other important opera premieres include the Hawaiian premiere of Menotti’s The Medium and The Telephone, working with members of The Honolulu Symphony and Hawaii Opera Theatre. As Artistic Director of Modus Opera, he has led several full productions including Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. With international mezzo-soprano Ariana Chris, Maestro Bischof has conducted and led from the piano several benefit concerts entitled Opera Trash at Carnegie Hall and Le Poisson Rouge receiving rave reviews. He led a production of Britten’s Rape of Lucretia in 2019 at the newly renovated historic Flea Theatre. He is one of the profession’s most respected organists and has concertized extensively. He won the First Prize at the 2000 AGO International Organ Improvisation Competition and is a leading proponent of the craft with his all improvisation performances have been met with critical acclaim throughout the world. Bischof has performed and recorded with numerous orchestras including the Zurich Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt. He will be performing the Middle East premiere of Samuel Barber’s Toccata Festiva for Orchestra and Organ in February 2019 at the Royal Opera House in Muscat Oman with the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt.
Mike Fahie is a jazz trombonist, composer, and educator living in Brooklyn. His current projects include a collaboration with legendary trumpet player John McNeil (represented on the Destiny Records release, Plainsong), the Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra (represented on the current Greenleaf Music release, Urban(e)), and the Mike Fahie Quintet (heard on Mike’s debut album, Anima, released on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground label). He is also an in-demand sideman in New York City, playing with many highly recognized groups. He is the lead trombonist of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, a three-time Grammy nominated ensemble. He is the principal trombonist of the Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York, and a member of the Gramercy Brass Quintet. He is also a regular member of the Dan Pugach Nonet, the Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Orchestra, and the Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra. As a composer, Mike has received numerous commissions, including 3 for premiere at the Festival of International Schools at Carnegie Hall: The Odyssey (2016) for wind band, The Planets (2019) for jazz band and strings, and Bogotà (2019) for wind band with euphonium soloist. As a commercial musician, Mike has played several Broadway shows including the Lion King, Porgy and Bess, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Ragtime, In The Heights, and Elf. He performs with various rock and pop bands and has appeared on a number of recordings and movie soundtracks. He is also a dedicated educator and is the jazz trombone instructor at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Mike has also been on the faculty of the United Nations International School for over 15 years. He has also worked across the US as a trombone and composition clinician. Mike was a finalist for the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Trombone Competition and was the first ever Canadian Fulbright Scholar in jazz.
Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez burst onto the international opera scene in 2007, making a break-out company debut with her soulful portrayal of Mimi in Puccini’s La bohème at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Alvarez has since gone on to debut at some of the world’s most leading opera houses including Oper Frankfurt, with celebrated performances of La Rondine alongside Joseph Calleja; a Bayerische Staatsoper debut as Violetta in La Traviata alongside Jonas Kaufmann and Simon Keenlyside; a return to La bohème for Opera National de Bordeaux, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Virginia Opera, Oper Leipzig, Oper Frankfurt, Arizona Opera and the Metropolitan Opera; and a company debut as Aïda under the baton of legendary Maestro Riccardo Muti, marking her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Alvarez previously joined Maestro Muti on tour with the Orchestra e Coro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in concert performances of Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Other notable engagements include Tosca with Choregies d’Orange and Opera de Oviedo; Kat’a Kabanova with Boston Lyric Opera; Florencia en el Amazonas for San Diego Opera; major Verdi debuts as Elvira in Ernani, Hélène in the rarely-produced Jerusalem, and the title role of Aïda for Opera Royal de Wallonie; and a return to ORW for her first foray into the bel canto repertoire as Donizetti’s infamous Tudor Queen, Anna Bolena.
Chira Bell (they/them) is a Soprano and 2022 alumni of Manhattan School of Music. Being black and queer, they have diversity, representation, and the rights of all at the heart of their work. Mx. Bell was incredibly active in the student community during their time at MSM. They worked in the campus store and as a Resident Assistant. Additionally, they served in various student organizations (Black Student Union, MSM Womxn, etc), ending their MSM leadership as a two year President of the MSM Student Government and of Queer People for the Betterment of Society. After graduating in May of 2022, they began work as the personal assistant to operatic Mezzo-Soprano and MSM Alumni, J’Nai Bridges.
Blair Cagney, a New Jersey native, is a soprano whose experience spans a variety of operatic styles. Her first major performance was the title role in Tobias Picker’s contemporary opera, Emmeline, with Manhattan School of Music. Soon after, Ms. Cagney explored the classical French repertoire when singing Micaëla in Carmen with Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and covering Leïla in Les Pêcheurs de Perles with MSM’s Opera Repertory Ensemble. Most recently, she sang Susanna in Mercadante’s I Due Figaro with Manhattan School of Music. In 2022, she returns to the work of Tobias Picker to sing Sophie and cover Emmeline in Emmeline with Tulsa Opera. Although she is a fierce advocate of contemporary music and new works, Ms. Cagney has a deep love and passion for the classical repertoire.
American conductor Brian Holman has performed on five continents to great acclaim. He is Music Director of New Rochelle Opera and Associate Conductor of Modus Opera Orchestra. Recent credits include the world premiere of Larry Delinger’s ShadowLight (Marble City Opera), Les contes d’Hoffmann (Opera Orlando), Le nozze di Figaro (Inland Northwest Opera), La traviata, La bohème (New Rochelle Opera), Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Cenerentola (Red River Lyric Opera), Amelia Lost (Cleveland Opera Theater, Marble City Opera), and Rape of Lucretia (New Camerata Opera). Festivals: Harare International Festival of the Arts, Mediterranean Opera Festival, Film Fest Tucson. Orchestras: Orlando Philharmonic, Lebanese Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Tucson Pops, Baroque2000 Chamber Orchestra Durban. Assistant Conductor: New York City Opera, Opera Africa, Treasure Coast Opera, Montclair State University Opera. An accomplished pianist, Brian has appeared with a singers across a broad musical spectrum: Nelly Miricioiu, Laquita Mitchell, Aprile Millo, Stella Zambalis, Francisco Casanova, Hans-Pieter Herman, John Mac Master, James Valenti, Lester Lynch, Daniel Borowski, Nini Cáffaro, Dawn Padmore, Kofo the Wonderman. Brian has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Salle Cortot, Teatro Nacional de Santo Domingo, Feinstein’s 54 Below, MGM Grand Detroit, Casino du Liban, The Duplex, Don’t Tell Mama, The Rainbow Room, the UN, and has been featured on international radio and television (WQXR, Classic FM, Sirius XM, Esimora Cultural RAC Colombia, Alhurra, LBCI, TeleOccidente Sicilia).
Yahan Liu is the Asian Business Development Representative for Steinway & Sons. An award-winning pianist, she enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer and teacher. She holds a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music and is a winner of the Clifton Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award, the National Young Maestro Competition, and the Rowan Soloists’ Competition. Her primary teachers include Joanne Polk, Lydia Boguslavsky, and Pei Sun. A passionate educator, she has taught piano extensively throughout the New Jersey and New York areas as well as in China. Liu has undergone extensive training in the history and education of Steinway & Sons’ legendary pianos. Through her role at Steinway, Yahan also supports a team of Steinway Teachers and Educational Partners, with whom she organizes student recitals, promotes competitions, and exchanges relevant updates about teaching and playing piano in the 21st century.
Chris Nappi has performed and/or recorded with Steve Reich and Musicians, SEM Ensemble, Newband, North Carolina Symphony, and Ben E. King. As a composer he has created music for the dance, theater, and multimedia installations. He has recorded for the record labels Asphodel, BIS, Dog w/a Bone, Ear-Rational, EMI, Mode, New Tone, New World Records, René Block Editions, Tzadìk, and Wergo. As Music Director for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company he has conducted at major dance venues in the U.S., including the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. He serves on the percussion faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege and the Ostrava Center for New Music in the Czech Republic. He has been guest soloist at the Ostrava Center since 2001, performing European and world premieres of percussion solo and chamber music by such composers as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Alvin Lucier, and Christian Wolff.
Penny Prince has been connected to her beloved Manhattan School of Music since age 11 when she began piano studies with Zenon Fishbein. Professor Fishbein was a pivotal influence in her life, and after attending the Preparatory Division, Penny earned her BM and MM in piano at MSM. She has concertized and taught in the N.Y.C. area ever since. Penny went on to earn her PhD in Music Education at NYU Steinhardt School, and is an Associate Professor at Lehman College, CUNY, teaching music education, piano for music educators, and various other courses. Penny Prince is a prolific composer of musicals, and produces collaborative musical theatre plays at Lehman and for the community. Her next musical is an online production of “Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet,” airing in September 2020. Dr. Prince is an advocate for criminal justice/prison reform. She founded the Reentry Committee at Lehman College which serves to educate the community and welcome and support formerly incarcerated students and families.
Eganam “ÉGO” K. Segbefia got his start busking at the Grand Central Shuttle “S” train station and has since performed at premiere venues in New York City such as The Greene Space, Trinity Wall Street Church, The Riverside Church, Cathedral of St. John The Divine, Symphony Space, and Carnegie Hall. Throughout his education, Eganam has received multiple awards and scholarships including the Manhattan School of Music Educational Assistance Program Scholarship, EALGreen Scholarship, South Carolina State University Marching Band Scholarship, and Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music’s Most Improved award. Eganam is also the winner of Manhattan School of Music’s prestigious Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition. Eganam received his master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and his bachelor’s degree from South Carolina State University. Devoted to his mantra, “Inspiration Without Perspiration is Hallucination,” Eganam is now pursuing his dream of becoming a premier soloist and using his growing platform to provide clinics and workshops to high school and college students, highlighting the value of working hard, and working smart towards actualizing dreams.
Jarrett Winters Morley is a Metropolitan Theatre Award-nominated actor, singer, composer, and lyricist. He is the creator of the original theatrical works Morningside and Godless. For Morningside, he wrote the book, music, and lyrics, worked on the show as the music director and conductor, and it was the first student-written Musical Theatre production produced by Manhattan School of Music in their 100-year history. In 2020, Mr. Morley played Bazzard in Manhattan School of Music’s virtual production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Instilled by his parents, Mr. Morley is an active supporter of the arts in the educational system and providing access to the arts in underprivileged communities. Prior to his collegiate years, Jarrett studied as a member of the performing arts program at Stagedoor Manor, and as a student in the National High School Institute (Cherubs) at Northwestern University. At Northwestern University, he was given the opportunity to be in the first non-professional company of Charles Mee’s The Glory of the World. He has performed at the Oscar Hammerstein II Awards, honoring Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, alongside Norm Lewis, Randy Rainbow, and Robert Cuccioli. He has also performed at Rockefeller Plaza’s Rainbow Room for the Manhattan School of Music’s Centennial Gala, alongside David Loud. Recent engagements include The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Manhattan School of Music), The Human Comedy! (New York City Center Encores!), The Producers (Tappan Zee Players), and And The World Goes ‘Round (Manhattan School of Music). Mr. Morley’s TV/Film credits include: Class Act, The Meyerowitz Stories, Pose, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, New Amsterdam, Mr. Robot, The Deuce, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Manifest, Hunters, The Plot Against America, and Billions. Mr. Morley has worked as a Music Supervisor, Production Coordinator, Junior Associate, and Voiceover actor for the production company Creative Business Communications, which in turn has worked for corporate clients such as SL Green, Johnson & Johnson, and Wakefern Food Corporation. In 2021, he worked on the development of “Get Happy: Michael Feinstein Celebrates The Judy Garland Centennial”, alongside Elliott Forrest, John Fricke, and Michael Feinstein. He currently teaches voice and conducting privately, and runs his own private recording studio. He received his B.M. from Manhattan School of Music in 2020, and his M.A. from Berklee College of Music in 2021. He lives in New York City. Mr. Morley is a proud member of both The Dramatist Guild of America, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Mr. Morley’s works have been seen at the Rogue Theatre Festival, FringePVD, and the New York Theatre Festival. Mr. Morley is currently a Fulbright Program candidate and is SAG-AFTRA eligible. As of February 2022, Mr. Morley is a member of the Manhattan School of Music Alumni Council.
Phyllis Beeson Susen Barbash (deceased)
John K. Blanchard
Blanche Heisler Blitstein
Anthony de Mare
Salvatore Di Vittorio
Dianne Danese Flagello
Dennis Jeter III
Irwin Katz (deceased)
Cornelius Claudio Kreusch
John Lewis (deceased)
Shirley Manuel (deceased)
Steven Nugget (student representative)
Charles Bryan Nelson, Jr.
Marilyn (Teitler) Tyler (deceased)
Elizabeth R. Van Arsdel
Lola Cummings Weiss
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