January 4, 2018

In Memoriam: Robert Mann (1920-2018)

Manhattan School of Music and its Board of Trustees are deeply saddened by the passing of beloved musician, educator, composer, and chamber music “ambassador” Robert Mann.

A great friend of MSM and a member of the School’s violin and chamber music faculty since 2006, Mr. Mann has been the guiding force behind the Robert Mann String Quartet Institute since its founding at MSM in 2012. Under his leadership, the Institute has brought talented young string quartets to the School each January for intensive coaching with Mr. Mann and other artists. (The 2018 Institute program is underway, with a concert scheduled for Sunday, January 7, 2:30 pm, at MSM.)

In another connection to the daily life of the School, Mr. Mann was president of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, which is currently headquartered at MSM. In 2006, in recognition of his extraordinary musical achievements across what was then nearly seven decades, MSM bestowed an honorary doctorate upon Mr. Mann and in 2009 hosted a concert celebrating his life in music.

Robert Mann instructing participants of his String Quartet Institute in Miller Hall, at Manhattan School of Music

In addition to Mr. Mann’s salutary influence at MSM, the Mann family continues to play a crucial role in advancing the School’s learning environment: Mr. Mann’s son, Nicholas is a member of MSM’s faculty and Chair of the Strings Department, and his sister-in-law, Claude Mann, is a Trustee.

That sense of “family” ran deep for Robert Mann and extended into his musical life. As the celebrated founding first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, he “helped engender a chamber music revival throughout the United States” (New York Times), ultimately resisting the lure of a promising solo career for the more collaborative, family-like intimacy of the chamber setting.

It is this central image of Mr. Mann as a generous, loving, and collaborative family member, artist, and educator that will endure, in addition to his many other accomplishments and memorable personal qualities.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Lucy Rowan Mann, Mr. Mann’s wife of 64 years, and to his immediate and extended family, whose continuing friendship and collaboration we so highly cherish.

We know that Robert’s long, rich, accomplished life and the many wonderful memories it inspires will be a source of comfort and joy in the days and years ahead.

Lorraine Gallard, Board Chair

James Gandre, President

Robert N. Mann (1920-2018)