Solomon Mikowsky

Cited as “one of the world´s most sought-after artist teachers, for reasons that are not hard to come by” (Clavier), Solomon Mikowsky is renowned for his “magical ability to develop his piano students into artists” (Sur Exprès). He has worked with an extraordinary number of gifted pianists and is featured in Benjamin Saver´s The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the USA, in Liu Ye’s Our Piano Era, spotlighting interviews with some of the world’s greatest teachers, such as Fleisher, Graffman, Lipkin and Vardi, and in Mario Cremata Ferrán’s La Voluntad de Prevalecer, together with the world renowned prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso.

Dr. Mikowsky’s students have won over 150 international piano competitions plus prizes, including the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Masters Competition (three winners, including first prize) in Israel; the Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Sviatoslav Richter, in Russia; Van Cliburn (Special Award) in the US; Beethoven in Bonn and Schumann in Leipzig (first prizes in both), in Germany; Vianna da Motta and Porto (two winners in each), in Portugal; Alessandro Casagrande (first prize), Senigallia (first prize), Caltanisseta, Finale Ligure, Ibla, Marsala, Mazara del Vallo, Monza and Torrefranca, in Italy; Andorra (four winners, including two first prizes and the Alicia de Larrocha Prize); Vilnius International Competition (first prize) in Lithuania; Francis Poulenc in France; Dublin in Ireland; Montreal (two winners) in Canada; Panama (nine winners, including three first prizes); Yamaha in Japan; Viña del Mar in Chile; Ignacio Cervantes (two winners, including first prize) in Cuba; international competitions in Beijing and Shanghai, in China, and the Taipei Chopin International Piano Competition in Taiwan.

His students have also won many competitions in Spain, including the Santander (first prize); Maria Canals (eight winners, including three first prizes) and Ricardo Viñes, in Barcelona; José Iturbi (four winners, including two first prizes), Carlet (five first prizes) and José Roca (two winners, including first prize), in Valencia; Pilar Bayona (six winners, including first prize) in Zaragoza; Jaén (seven winners, including two first prizes); Joaquín Rodrigo and Hermanos Guerrero (four winners, including first prize in each), Infanta Cristina (including first prize), Spanish Composers (first prize and Spanish Prize) and Ataulfo Argenta, in Madrid; Ibiza (two first prizes); Cidade de Ferrol (first and second prizes) in Galicia;  Toledo (first prize); Manresa; Albacete (first prize), and Marisa Montiel (first prize) in Linares.

In the United States, they have won the Chopin Kosciuszko (ten winners, including eight first prizes), Artists International (five prize winners), the Naumburg and the Thomas Richner (first prize), in New York; the Minnesota E-Competition (two winners); World Competition (three winners, including first prize) in Cincinnati; Palm Beach (first prize) and Murray Dranoff, in Florida; New Orleans (first prize); Hartford Symphony (first prize); New Jersey Symphony (first prize); Junior Missouri-Southern (first prize); Gina Bachauer in Utah; Cleveland; Hilton Head; Houston Symphony; Denver Symphony;  Augusta Symphony; Helen Hart in Kentucky and North Carolina Symphony. Two of his students have been recipients of Arthur Rubinstein and Shura Cherkassky debut recitals at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Previous listings do not count the multiple winners at Manhattan School of Music, including various winners of the Harold Bauer Award, four winners of the Munz Chopin Competition and about forty winners of the annual College concerto competitions, including the EisenbergFried, Dora Zaslavsky-Koch, as well as the Precollege concerto competitions.

Among Mikowsky’s students have been recipients of the $300,000 Gilmore Artist Award, the Gilmore Young Artist Award, the Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Astral and Koussevitzky Artists, in the United States; the Diapason D’Or in France; and the Orden al Mérito Civil by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Many of his students currently hold important teaching positions at the leading conservatories in England, Spain, Germany, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States, including the Mannes School piano faculty, the Manhattan School of Music College piano faculty (two) and the Precollege (six), the UC Berkeley music faculty, the Stuttgart Hochschule Musik and the Kronberg Academy’s Sir András Schiff Performance Program for Young Artists.

In North America, his pupils have performed with the New York Philharmonic (two students), Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, National and San Francisco symphonies, the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, and the Atlanta (two students), Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Colorado, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Minnesota (two students), New Orleans, Oregon, Seattle, and St. Louis symphonies, Boston Pops and Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, in the United States, and the Montreal (two students) and Vancouver symphonies and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, among others, in Canada.

In Europe, they have performed with the Berlin Philharmonic (two students), the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony and the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester, the Dresden Philharmonic and the Staatskapelle, NDR Hamburg Orchstra, in Germany; the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony, in Austria; the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, BBC Proms, City of Birmingham Symphony, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, in the United Kingdom; the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, in Holland; the National Orchestra of France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Lille Philharmonic, in France; the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Italy; the Budapest Hungarian Festival Orchestra in Hungary; the Zurich Tonhalle in Switzerland; the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and the  St. Petersburg Orchestra, in Russia; the Danish National Symphony; the Belarusian Symphony; the National Orchestra and Finnish Radio Orchestra, in Finland; the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Sweden; the Oslo Philharmonic and the Radio Symphony, in Norway;  the Porto and the Gulbenkian orchestras, in Portugal; the National Symphony and  Czech and North Czech philharmonic orchestras, in the Czech Republic; and the Spanish National Orchestra and all the other important orchestras, in Spain. They have also performed as soloists with the Israel Philharmonic (three students), the Cairo Symphony in Egypt and the main orchestras in Central and South America, in the Caribbean (Cuba and the Dominican Republic), in Asia (China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, the Tokyo and Nippon symphony orchestras in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines), in New Zealand, and with the Melbourne Symphony in Australia.

They have performed under such conductors as Barenboim, Comissiona, Dudamel, Dutoit, Ehrling, Entremont, Eschenbach, Fischer, Frühbeck de Burgos, Jurowky, López Cobos, Masur, Mehta, Maazel, Skrowaczewski, Petrenko, Temirkanov, Tovey, Williams and Zinman, among many others. They have been guest artists at the Aspen, BBC Proms, Blossom, Bowdoin, Canary Islands, Caramoor, Chicago Grand Park, Edinburgh, Gijón, Granada, Grand Teton, Jerusalem, La Roque d’Anthéron, Lucerne, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart, Proms in London, Ravinia, Salzburg, San Sebastián, Santander, Stony Brook, Tanglewood, Yellow Barn, Vail and Verbier music festivals, among others.

Solomon Mikowsky was born in Cuba of Russian-Polish parents. His early training was with César Pérez Sentenat, who studied in Paris with Joaquín Nín, student of Moszkowski, a Liszt pupil. He was granted scholarships by the Cuban government and the Juilliard School to study in New York with Sascha Gorodnitzki, foremost pupil of the legendary Russian virtuoso Josef Lhevinne. A neurological impediment interrupted his performing career, leading him to earn a doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College and to dedicate his life to instructing future artists. He has served on the juries of some of the most important international competitions and given master classes in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Budapest, Salzburg, London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and throughout Australia and Asia. During the summer, he directs his International Piano Festivals (link) in Europe and in Cuba, where he teaches and his students perform in recitals and as orchestral soloists.

The Solomon Mikowsky Recital Hall at MSM was inaugurated in 2010 and expanded in 2018. A versatile, state-of-the-art performance hall, it includes two Steinway pianos, a concert grand and a professional grand. A third Steinway grand was donated for Mikowsky’s own studio at Manhattan School of Music. The recital hall also exhibits students’ memorabilia, various editions in Spanish and English of Mikowsky’s critically acclaimed book Ignacio Cervantes and the XIX-Century Cuban Danza (review), the biographical The Piano Teaching Legacy of Solomon Mikowsky, written by his longtime student Kookhee Hong (review) in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean versions, as well as some of the hundreds of CDs recorded by his students. Mikowsky also contributed the Mikowsky Recital Hall at the Chicago College of Performing Arts with a Steinway grand, and the Ignacio Cervantes Recital Hall in Havana, Cuba with a Steinway concert grand. The José Martí newly renovated theater in Havana also features a Steinway concert grand donated by Mikowsky.

Mikowsky has been honored with the Cintas Prize by the Institute of International Education. He is recipient of the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service from Manhattan School of Music and a Doctor Honoris Causa from Cuba’s Instituto Superior de Arte. An exclusive Steinway Artist, Mikowsky was the first teacher featured in the Steinway Gallery with his portrait hanging right next to those of Richard Goode, Byron Janis and Yevgeny Kissin. He has contributed to Américas, the journal of the Organization of American States, and has been featured in interviews in Chopin (Japan), Piano Artistry (China), and Musica di pianoforte (South Korea). He has taught at The Juilliard Precollege Division, the Philadelphia Musical Academy (University of the Arts), New York University, Columbia University Teachers College (Adjunct Associate Professor), and Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.  Mikowsky has been a member of the Manhattan School of Music College faculty since 1974 and of the Precollege faculty since 1969.