September 10, 2018

Greetings from the Alumni Council

The 15 members of MSM’s Alumni Council are dedicated and passionate MSM alumni who represent a wide range of diverse careers.

Our primary role is our commitment to increasing the connection between the School and our alumni community. Our goal during this Centennial year is to be able to reach every single alum.

We have mailing addresses for 11,700 and email addresses for just 8,400. A detailed and up-to-date database is crucial and we would love your help in finding our “missing” alums. Please send any contact info and career updates here:

Manhattan School of Music is one of the world’s most respected music conservatories. Aspiring musicians apply from around the world for the chance to study with exceptional teachers. Its reputation, already stellar, continues to grow under the visionary leadership of President James Gandre.

As we begin the 2018-19 season, we will be celebrating our 100 years of amazing musical and academic achievements with a host of exciting concerts and Centennial events.

Alumni Council Vice-Chair

As we reflect on our first century as an institution, an obvious and important question comes to mind: just how many Manhattan School of Music alumni are there?

The answer is, there is an astounding 17,000 MSM alumni currently spread out around the globe!

Many are involved in the music industry while others have pursued challenging and fulfilling career paths outside of music. When you talk with these alumni they will tell you that their MSM education was a crucial component of their current success.

As a way for you to get to know our Council members, I asked them to consider the following two questions: What did they want to accomplish as part of the Council? And how has MSM impacted their own lives and careers?  Below are their responses.

Finally, a huge thank-you to the amazing and dedicated Lauren Frankovich, MSM’s Associate Director for Alumni Engagement. Her tireless support of the Council’s work is incredibly appreciated.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the upcoming Centennial events!


Justin Bischof
Alumni Council Vice-Chair 

BM ’90, MM ’92, DMA ’98, Organ

Artistic Director & Conductor, The Modus Opera & Orchestra; International guest conductor & concert organist

I asked the Council to consider the following two questions: What did they want to accomplish as part of the Council? And how has MSM impacted their own lives and careers? 

Louis Alexander, Chair

MM ’79, Musicology
Former Director of Alumni Education, MIT

The work of the Council is much needed, and my aim is twofold: to find ways in which the School will become an ongoing resource for alumni and to strengthen the ways in which we alumni can connect with and inspire each other. MSM had a greater impact on my life than did the universities where I did my undergrad and graduate studies. Even though I chose a professional life outside of music, I am first and foremost a musician and my time at MSM not only strengthened those skills but gave me a solid basis that has proven to be highly transferable.

Paul Beck

BM ’98, Bassoon
Concert Librarian for Renee Fleming

Connecting alumni outside of the New York area is a priority for me. I have Midwest networks at the Milwaukee Symphony, Lake Forest Symphony, and Chicago Sinfonietta. Finding out who the alumni are in those groups and letting people know about all the new things going on at MSM would be rewarding. MSM was a gathering place of like-minded and like-talented people and without it I might not have developed a taste for excellence. MSM opened my mind and showed me the highest level of everything NYC and classical music offers. Then I wondered, “How can I also be excellent?” And you know what? Each day I wonder how I can be a little better at my work in the music preparation field.

Sharon Daley-Johnson

BM ’88, Violin; MM ’89, Music Ed
Performing Arts Director, Museum Magnet School;
Founder and Director Emeritus, Reaching for the Arts, Inc.

I plan to continue reconnecting alumni back to MSM as well as to get involved with the student body in order to build a culture of alumni awareness. In reflecting on my years at the school, I know that starting my organization Reaching for the Arts, Inc., which helps minority youth get into performing and visual arts high schools, is directly based on my experience at MSM. Besides my parents, it was my education and experience at MSM that taught me to give back to the many communities I serve.

Dianne Danese Flagello

BM ’52, Percussion; MM ’52, Music Ed; Hon. DMA ’99
Former Director (1974-1999), Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division; President, Maelos Music, Inc.

I always felt that being the Director of the Preparatory Division (now called the Pre-college Division) for 25 years was an honor and privilege. Not only did I have hundreds of very talented and highly motivated young students to guide, but parents who for many years were excited to be at Manhattan School of Music every Saturday. Now in retirement, I have been doubly enriched by attending recitals and concerts given by these now recognized professional musicians. Many of their parents have become some of my very best friends. MSM has beautifully rewarded my life. I became a member of the MSM Alumni Council to help promote the value of such an exceptional musical education and to encourage as many people as possible to contribute to our Centennial Project.

Anthony de Mare

BM ’80, Piano
Contemporary Performance Faculty, Manhattan School of Music; Piano Faculty, NYU/Steinhardt; Steinway Artist

I would like to see a wider range of alumni becoming involved in the activities that are organized each year. I also feel one of the most important objectives is to encourage alumni to share their career-development stories and paths with current students so that they become aware of and feel optimistic about the creative options that are available when they are embarking on their own careers once they’ve graduated. From the time I was a student, my teachers, the staff members, and of course my fellow student-colleagues encouraged me to pursue the world of contemporary music and make my indelible mark there. I was grateful for the comprehensive training and encouragement I received and for the friendly atmosphere, which gave me the confidence to always be open to learning and moving forward. I was especially honored to be invited to teach at MSM in the early ’90s and to help stimulate the expansion of contemporary music at the school. The development of my performing career has always been influenced by my work as a professor both in the private studio and in the classroom, thanks to MSM.

Salvatore Di Vittorio

BM ’97, Composition
Composer, published by Panastudio/Casa Ricordi;
Music Director/Conductor, Chamber Orchestra of New York

I’d like to greatly inspire everyone in the MSM alumni community to have a much more active presence. MSM allowed me the opportunity to reflect openly and to personalize my own specific career goals—as a composer and conductor—in a very unique way.

Captain Kenneth R. Force, USMS (Ret.)

BM ’64, Trumpet; MM ’65, Music Education;
PD ’70, Music Supervision and Admin
Former Director of Music, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; Former President, Goldman Memorial Band

I auditioned for Manhattan School of Music after I left the Army. I was thrilled to get accepted and had an extraordinary experience. From subbing in Broadway shows to performing in Radio City Music Hall’s orchestra—as well as in all kinds of other jobs—my training at MSM was the key to my success. It was there that I received the foundation of a conservatory education and the professional experience of playing in the field. My goal is to see the integration of the Alumni Council with the student body. The Council and the alumni community at large have a lot to offer. I would like our students and recent graduates to feel supported, encouraged, and inspired as they embark on their career paths.

Heather Hamilton

MM ’93, Piano Performance; MM ’95, Orchestral Piano
Director of Music, Saugatuck Church, UCC;
Owner, Hamilton Music Services, Fairfield, CT

As part of the Council I hope to accomplish the task of informing current students of the importance of giving back to their Alma Mater when they graduate. No matter what the dollar amount is, all alumni need to give back in some way. I also would like to see a mentorship program developed to put current students in touch with graduates in the same field. MSM has given me the chance to enhance my skills as a musician and a businesswoman. As a graduate student I was fortunate to work with top musicians and play under some fantastic conductors. The various courses, chamber music experiences, and playing in all of the orchestras has made me a well-rounded musician and leader.  The faculty and administration were all very caring, like family, and I am fortunate to be friends with many of them these many years later.

Kathleen Hegierski

MM ’71, Voice
Manager of Client Services and Investor Relations, Cartesian Capital Group

MSM was pivotal and helped to launch my career as a singer. I was able to concentrate on repertoire and focus on the discipline needed to prepare for a career. This focus and discipline has carried me through life and been immensely important as I now work in the financial world.

Esther Lee

BM ’98, Voice; MM ’00, Voice
Admissions Director, Village Community School in New York City; Vice Chair, New York City Master Chorale

As part of the Council, I would like to find ways to help reconnect many MSM alumni who have lost touch with the School and let them find ways to support the young talent of the future. In addition to some of the most important friendships I have today, MSM gave me lifelong skills that I am able to apply in many facets of my non-musical career—from collaboration and communication to outside-of-the-box thinking. I am forever grateful to MSM for teaching me how to be a better leader.

Eganam Segbefia

MM ’18, Trumpet

As a member of the council, I would like to build a better connection between alumni and current students through master-classes, clinics, workshops, and social events. I would like to help create an MSM tradition that will enrich the lives of everyone in the MSM community. MSM has influenced me in a vital way. As a student, the impact that MSM has had on my life shows in how I live. I’ve learned how to push towards my goals with practice, patience, and persistence.

Wendy Talio

BM ’83, Piano
Independent Consultant, Marketing Data Analyst
Founder, Living Artist Society

MSM has made great strides investing not only in the current infrastructure and student body, but also in developing professional resources and networking opportunities for its alumni. To have the ongoing support of this community is vital to musicians’ long-term career sustainability. Being part of the council has allowed alumni to have a seat at the table in shaping the future of the School. As chair of the communications committee I hope to reach and connect as many alumni as possible and invite them to be part of the conversation.  My time at MSM allowed me to discover my true self, musical and otherwise. For me, the study of music is as rewarding as bringing forth a fine performance. It wasn’t until I stepped into work outside of music as a data analyst and marketer that I fully appreciated all I had learned inside the practice room. It is in gratitude for this understanding that I decided to synthesize my skills to provide affordable marketing analytics to the DIY artist community.

Eric Umble

MM ’16, Clarinet
Founding Member, sTem ensemble

In an effort to build a stronger bond across our community, I hope to assist with the development of community-building initiatives that strengthen ties to alumni and to engage current students. I owe my career to MSM. Each professional opportunity in my career originated with a connection I made during my time at MSM. MSM taught me how to take initiative and how to work towards building a meaningful career.

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