Success Stories

Explore Recent News and Success Stories about MSM Students, Alumni, and Faculty.

  • Jun 14, 2019Opera

    Terence Blanchard and Briana Hunter featured in The New York Times

    Artistic Advisory Board Member and Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard (HonDMA ’17) will premiere his new opera, “Fire Shut Up in My Bones”, at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis this weekend.

    Voice alumna Briana Hunter (MM ’12) will perform the role of The Mother in the world premiere of “Blue” at The Glimmerglass Festival beginning next month.

    Read an interview with Mr. Blanchard about his new work and hear Ms. Hunter perform an excerpt from “Blue” in this article from The New York Times.

  • Jun 10, 2019Piano

    Joanne Polk featured on WQXR’s “Essential Piano Recordings”

    Two of piano faculty member Joanne Polk‘s albums, Fanny & Felix Mendelssohn and The Flatterer: Piano Music of Cécile Chaminade, are included in WQXR’s collection. Praised as “a leading champion of music by women”, Polk has received numerous awards and recognition for her piano recordings. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music in 1990 and currently teaches twenty-one talented musicians as a faculty member at the School.

    View WQXR’s full list of essential piano recordings here.

  • Jun 8, 2019Precollege

    Precollege student wins first place at Prima Volta Competition

    Pianist Jerry Wang, a student of Precollege faculty member Carmel Lowenthal, was awarded the highest honor of the Prima Volta Music Competition as the sole Grand Prize winner. He performed in a winner’s recital last week at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

    Learn more about the Prima Volta Music Competition here.

  • Jun 7, 2019Composition

    Salina Fisher named 2019 NZSM Composer-in-Residence

    Recent graduate Salina Fisher (MM ’19) will be the 2019 Creative New Zealand Composer-in-Residence at Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī. The talented young composer and former student of Susan Botti graduated last month and will be returning to her hometown of Wellington for the twelve-month residency. Salina says she plans to work on a number of new pieces including one for shakuhachi, koto, viola and cello, a new piano trio, and an orchestral work featuring pūtōrino (the traditional instruments of the Māori people of NZ).

    Read more about Salina and her upcoming residency here.

  • Jun 5, 2019Precollege

    Precollege Orchestra featured on WQXR

    Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege Philharmonic Orchestra is featured in the latest episode of classical radio station WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase. The episode shares a November 10, 2018 performance of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 Scottish by the orchestra and conductor Nathan Hetherington.

    You can listen to the episode here.

  • Jun 3, 2019Piano

    Jenny Chai joins UC Berkeley piano faculty

    This fall, alumna Jenny Q. Chai (MM ’06, PS ’07, DMA ’13) will join University of California, Berkeley’s piano faculty. During her time at Manhattan School of Music, she studied with Solomon Mikowsky and met frequent collaborator Andy Akiho (MM ’09).

    With radical joie de vivre and razor-sharp intention, Jenny Chai creates layered multimedia programs which explore and unite elements of science, nature, fashion, and art. The New Yorker describes Chai as “a pianist whose dazzling facility is matched by her deep musicality.”

    Visit Jenny’s website here to learn more about her work.

  • Jun 2, 2019Precollege

    Benjamin Rossen advances to Cliburn Piano Competition quarterfinals

    Precollege student Benjamin Rossen joins 13 other top junior-level pianists in the quarterfinal round of the prestigious Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition.

    Out of over 230 applicants, only 24 pianists were selected to compete in the preliminary round for a chance to win prizes, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities.

    A student of Precollege faculty member Jeffrey Cohen for five years, Benjamin has already won numerous prizes in contests held by Steinway & Sons and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

    Watch his incredible performance from the Preliminary round here.

  • May 31, 2019Piano

    Classical piano students place at 5 Towns Music competition

    Rising third-year student Ahmed Alom Vega (BM ’21) placed first in the 5 Towns Music and Art Foundation annual piano competition held May 30, 2019. Yong Murray (MM ’19), student of Phillip Kawin, earned second place at the event. Previous winners of the competition include MSM alumnus and former faculty member Dmitry Rachmanov (DMA ’89), Anne-Marie McDermott, and Christina Kiss.

    Ahmed is pictured on the left with his teacher, Solomon Mikowsky, and Yong is pictured on the right.

  • May 30, 2019Jazz

    Jazz composition student wins BMI scholarship

    Current student Rin Seo (MM ’20) has been awarded the Chuckii Booker Scholarship from the BMI Foundation, a $5,000 prize given biennially to a young jazz composer studying at a U.S. music school. Rin is a first year master’s candidate and student of Grammy award-winning composer Jim McNeely.

    “I came to the United States in 2015 with a strong desire to discover my musical identity. It was not an easy journey because I have studied Classical music for twenty years and Jazz was not that familiar to me, but I was quickly fascinated by Jazz and my passion to learn it lead me to where I am now, so this award means a lot to me. It is such an honor to receive this scholarship.” said Seo.

    Read the full press release here.

  • May 28, 2019Orchestra

    Two OP alumni earn orchestral positions

    The violinists, Julia Choi (PS ’17) and Jeremias Sergiani Velazquez (PS ‘18), are recent graduates of Manhattan School of Music’s Orchestral Performance (OP) program. Ms. Choi has won a position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Mr. Velazquez has won a position with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Both graduates are former students of Glenn Dicterow, former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic and current Chair of the OP program.

    Photo: (From L to R) Julia Choi, Glenn Dicterow, Jeremias Sergiani Velazquez

  • May 23, 2019Precollege

    Precollege alumnus wins 2019 Stulberg Competition

    Violinist Daniel Rafimayeri, a graduate of MSM’s Precollege Program, was awarded the Burdick-Thorne Gold Medal, Bach Prize at the prestigious competition. Precollege alumnus Ari Boutris (student of Patinka Kopec) and current student Chelsea Xia (student of Elizabeth Faidley) also competed in the semifinal round.

    The 44th Stulberg International String Competition took place May 18, 2019 at Western Michigan University and was judged by Paul ColettiEmilio Colón, and Jennifer Frautschi.

    You can watch live performances from the competition here.

  • May 14, 2019Precollege

    Benjamin Rossen to compete in International Piano Competition

    MSM Precollege piano student Benjamin Rossen will compete in The Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition, chaired by Laura Bush, beginning May 31 in Dallas, Texas. The 2019 Cliburn Junior competitors hail from all over the world, representing 11 countries: the United States (7), China (5), Japan (4), Canada (3), Hong Kong (2), Armenia, Australia, Austria, Russia, South Korea, and Taiwan.

    The young musician has been a student of Precollege faculty member Jeffrey Cohen for five years, and has already won numerous prizes in contests held by Steinway & Sons and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

    More information about the competition here.

  • May 10, 2019Opera

    Catherine Malfitano to perform in TOSCA at Festival AIX

    MSM voice faculty member Catherine Malfitano (BM ’71) will perform the role of Prima Donna July 4–22 at the Théâtre De L’Archevêché during the 2019 Festival D’Aix-En-Provence. The legendary soprano won an Emmy Award for her performance in the title role of Tosca opposite Plácido Domingo (HonDMA ’18) in 1992, when the opera was broadcast live from Rome to viewers worldwide. Ms. Malfitano has also directed new productions of Tosca for the Florida Grand Opera and the English National Opera.

    Tickets for Tosca at Festival AIX are available for purchase here.

    Photo by Rose Callahan

  • May 9, 2019Opera

    Alaysha Fox joins LA Opera’s Young Artist Program

    Alumna Alaysha Fox (BM ’13, MM ’15) has been selected as a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for the 2019-20 season.

    After a series of nationwide auditions, the 25 top candidates were invited to Los Angeles and New York City to perform for opera legend Plácido Domingo (HonDMA ’18); President and CEO Christopher Koelsch; the program’s Artistic Advisor, the distinguished mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (MM ’87, HonDMA ’08); and the company’s Senior Director of Artistic programs, Joshua Winograde, along with Nino Sanikidze, the head coach for the program.

    Read the full press release here.

  • May 7, 2019Jazz

    Terence Blanchard to be Named a BMI Icon

    MSM Artistic Advisory Board member Terence Blanchard (HonDMA ’17) will be recognized during the 2019 BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards on May 15, 2019 for his significant contributions to the cinematic community. The five-time GRAMMY Award-winning trumpeter and composer has more than 33 albums and 50 film scores to his credit, and most recently received an Oscar nomination for his music in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.

    Mr. Blanchard performed his work “Mantra” from A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) alongside MSM Jazz Arts students during Manhattan School of Music’s Centennial Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall in April 2019.

  • May 7, 2019Opera

    Tenor Brett Sprague to make German opera debut

    Alumnus Brett Sprague (MM ’12) will perform at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in the role of Lord Barrat in a new production of Henze’s opera, Der junge Lord. Performances are May 23, 26, 30, June 5, 8, 14. Later in the summer, he will perform the role of Pedrillo in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Theater Nordhausen. During his time at Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Sprague performed the roles of Almaviva in Ghosts of Versailles (Corigliano), Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Mozart), and La voz en la fragua in La Vida Breve (de Falla).

    For more information on Brett Sprague, visit his website.

  • May 7, 2019Voice

    Current student named Contributing Writer for WQXR

    Voice student Heather O’Donovan (MM ’20)’s blog post 5 Operas You Can Bring the Kids to has been published on the classical radio’s website.

    Heather, a first-year master’s student at MSM, has had nearly twenty of her articles and quizzes posted on the site, which can be viewed here. Heather has also contributed several articles to other news publications like OperaWire and Buzzfeed.

  • May 6, 2019Precollege

    Precollege alumni win at The American Prize competition

    A group of five Precollege students, who graduated in May 2018, won the high school division of The American Prize in Chamber Music Performance for 2018-2019. The ensemble included Jane Bua, piano; Coco Mi, violin; Ari Boutris, violin; Daniel Rafimayeri, viola; and Alexander Rohatyn, cello; and was coached by Precollege faculty member Emirhan Tunca. Winners of Manhattan School of Music’s 2018 Chamber Music Competition, the members have enjoyed featured appearances with The Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, National Public Radio’s “From the Top”, Aspen Music Festival, Decoda, Heifetz Music Festival, The New York Concerti Sinfonietta, New York Youth Symphony and The York Symphony Orchestra, among others.

    Additionally, MSM alumna Mary Mackenzie was named a Finalist Honorable Mention in the professional division for the Mackenzie-Williams Duo. A passionate performer of contemporary vocal music, soprano Mary Mackenzie works closely with composers to develop and premiere new works for voice.

    Read the full press release here.

  • May 5, 2019Voice

    MSM alumna receives international vocal competition recognition

    Soprano Shaina Martinez (MM ’18) has won several awards since graduating last year, including 1st place in the Russell C. Wonderlic Competition; 2nd place in the Opera NEO Voice Competition; 3rd place in the Junior Division for the Young Patronesses of the Opera Voice Competition; 1st place in the Talents of the World International Voice Competition; and 3rd place in the XXI Concurso Internacional de Canto Lirico.

    This summer, Shaina will join the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago as a vocal fellow in the Project Inclusion Fellowship. In the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Martinez has been selected as a Florida Grand Opera Young Artist, where she will be covering Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, playing the roles of Elisetta in Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto, Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.

    View Shaina’s full upcoming schedule on her website.

  • May 4, 2019Voice

    Alumna Esther Lee to perform with NYC Master Chorale

    MSM alumna and Alumni Council member Esther Lee (BM ’98, MM ’00) is a soprano soloist in New York City Master Chorale‘s upcoming concert Celestial Journey, taking place May 17 at Symphony Space in NYC. Esther will be singing Jonathan Leshnoff’s Zohar in a program that also features Tarik O’Regan’s Dorchester Canticles and Abraham Kaplan’s Glorious. The concert is an interdisciplinary collaboration with piano and percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire and with 17th Street Dance of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C.

    Of the piece, Esther shares, “Zohar is a powerful piece of music, speaking to the sacredness of mankind, and I am delighted to share it on May 17 at Symphony Space. It is an honor to be singing Mr. Leshnoff’s beautiful composition, and it is always a joy to perform with the New York City Master Chorale – a group of dedicated musicians and wonderful people. I am very grateful to MSM and all of my teachers for their training and support.”

    MSM is a proud partner of NYCMC – four MSM students were featured soloists in their December 2018 concert. More information about Celestial Journey here.

  • May 3, 2019Composition

    Faculty member joins Iconi editorial board

    Composition and jazz history faculty member Edward Green has been named Editor of the International Division of the Russian-based online journal for culture and the arts. He will oversee the ongoing series of composer interviews for the online journal. You can learn more about Ed’s current and upcoming projects on his website.

  • May 2, 2019Precollege

    MSM Precollege students join forces with Juilliard and Mannes Precollege

    For the first time, NYC’s major Precollege music programs will perform together for a single concert on Wednesday, May 8 at 7 PM in Merkin Hall. The performance features some of the city’s finest young musicians from top conservatories — Manhattan School of Music Precollege, Juilliard Precollege, and Mannes Prep at The New School’s Open Campus.

    MSM Precollege students Abigail Nishiwaki, Violin; Jack Shigeta, Violin; Wednesday Hsu, Viola; and Francis Fedora, Cello; will be lead by  Surai Balbeisi (Precollege faculty) in the premiere of Somatic, a piece written by budding composer Charlie Meenaghan.

    More information about this event here.

  • May 1, 2019Jazz

    Alumnus Emmet Cohen named Musical America’s New Artist of the Month

    Cohen is a graduate of both MSM’s Precollege and Graduate programs, earning his Master of Music in jazz piano in 2014. In April of this year, he won the prestigious American Pianists Association (APA) Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz, a prize valued at $100,000.

    Read the full feature by Musical America here.

  • Apr 26, 2019Piano

    Solomon Mikowsky to receive honorary doctorate

    At the end of May 2019, the MSM piano faculty member will be awarded the honorary degree from the Escuela Superior de Arte de la Universidad de La Habana (Superior School of the Arts at the University of Havana). The Cuban-born virtuoso has previously received the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service from Manhattan School of Music and a Doctor Honoris Causa from Cuba’s Instituto Superior de Arte.

    Read more about Solomon Mikowsky here.

  • Apr 24, 2019Strings

    MSM alumna Yoonshin Song appointed Concertmaster at Houston Symphony

    Violinist Yoonshin Song (PS ’09, AD ’10) served as Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony since 2012. “Yoonshin’s exceptional musicality, artistry, experience, and personality made her our unanimous choice,” Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada said. “I am thrilled that she will be joining us and look forward to working with her, knowing that she will enrich the musical life of our city through our work together with the orchestra.” 

    Read the full story via The Violin Channel here.

  • Apr 19, 2019Jazz

    Jahari Stampley wins coveted prize at American Jazz Pianist Competition

    The jazz arts student, currently in his second year of undergraduate studies at MSM, earned the Bösendorfer Prize and received $6,000 in rewards. Jim McNeely, a member of MSM’s jazz faculty, served on the judges panel during this year’s prestigious competition. Read the full press release here.

    Jahari made his Carnegie Hall debut earlier this week (pictured here) performing alongside Grammy winner Terence Blanchard during Manhattan School of Music’s Centennial Concert.

  • Apr 18, 2019Precollege

    Precollege alumnus wins national music award

    Nico Wohl, a jazz guitarist and graduate of Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege program, has been named a 2019 YoungArts finalist. The National YoungArts Foundation selects just six jazz musicians from a pool of over 500 talented applicants.

    Read more of Nico’s story in this article from the Berkshire Edge.

  • Apr 16, 2019Orchestra

    Zachary Merkovsky wins position with York Symphony Orchestra

    The current classical bass student of Orin O’Brien is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Performance. Zachary is on track to graduate May 2019 before beginning his career with the York Symphony Orchestra.

    View YSO’s performance schedule here.

  • Apr 15, 2019

    MSM Counselors earn national recognition

    Two members of Manhattan School of Music’s counseling team, Dr. Shara Sand and Dr. Michael Alcée, have been recognized for their valuable work by the American Psychological Association (APA).

    Alumna and Chief Psychologist Dr. Sand (BM ’83) has been named the recipient of the APA Diversity Award. Her interests in psychology, music, gender, and sexuality are an integral part of her work.

    Counselor Dr. Alcée is the winner of the APA’s Schillinger Memorial Essay Contest. His essay, entitled “Reading the Changes: Freud’s Improvisational Art”, references jazz music and was inspired by his work with MSM jazz arts students.

  • Apr 12, 2019Composition

    Edward Green published in Music Scholarship journal

    The jazz composition and music history faculty member’s essay, “Rhythm Contradicts Contempt: A Study of The Rite of Spring”, was published earlier this month in the Russian journal Music Scholarship, or Problemy Muzykal’noj Nauki in Russian. The essay appears in English with a Russian summary.

    You can read Edward Green’s essay here on his website.