Success Stories

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

  • Dec 6, 2019Jazz

    Damien Sneed collaborates with MSM jazz student on new Holiday EP

    Jazz faculty and alumnus Damien Sneed released a a four-song Christmas EP, ‘Joy To The World’ today, according to a press release. The second track, ‘What Christmas Really Means’, features current MSM student Lizzy Ossevoort (MM ’20).

    “One thing I learned from the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, as well as my mentors Wynton Marsalis and Richard Smallwood, is always to reach forward and tap the next generation,” Sneed shares. “And that’s what I’m doing with my graduate vocal student, Lizzy Ossevoort, from Manhattan School of Music, who is a native of The Netherlands.”

    Listen to Damien’s Joy To The World EP here.

  • Dec 1, 2019Jazz

    MSM students perform in Gesellschaftshaus Magdeburg concert series

    Eleven current Manhattan School of Music Students have been selected to perform in a series of concerts held at the Gesellschaftshaus Magdeburg in Germany over the course of the Hall’s 2019-2020 Season. The five concerts, listed below, are sponsored by the US Consulate General in Leipzig and feature students from each area of study at the School.

    October 26, 2019 | Apply Triangle (Contemporary Performance Program ensemble): Jixue Yang, piano; Tyler Neidermayer, clarinet; Joshua Weinberg, flute

    November 30, 2019 | Jahari Stampley, piano
    (Watch Jahari’s performance here!)

    January 25, 2020 | Eunae Koh, violin; Esther Lim, piano

    February 2, 2020 | Laura del Sol Jiménez, flute; Mélanie Clapiès, violin; Georgia Bourderionnet, cello; Yilun Wang, harpsichord

    June 6, 2020 | Vatche Jambazian, piano

    Learn more and buy tickets to these concerts here.

  • Nov 25, 2019Music History

    Dr. Langford publishes A History of the Symphony: The Grand Genre

    Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies and Chair of the Music History Department Dr. Jeffrey Langford announces the publication of his new textbook by Routledge Press. The book, which identifies the underlying cultural factors that have shaped the symphony over the past three hundred years, is designed for use in a one or two semester long college course on the symphony.

    Dr. Langford shares, “This project has been about three years in the making, and it feels good to hold the finished product in my hands.”

    The book is available to purchase online here, and will soon be available in MSM’s Peter Jay Sharp Library.

  • Nov 20, 2019

    Seventeen MSM alumni and faculty nominated for GRAMMY Awards

    Congratulations to the following members of the Manhattan School of Music community nominated for 2020 Grammy Awards:

    Best Jazz Ensemble Album:
    Miho Hazama (MM ’12), Sam Anning (MM ’12)Meaghan Burke (MM ’13), Sita Chay (BM ’04), Jake Goldbas (BM ’11, MM ’13), Jason Rigby (MM ’01), Kavita S. Shah (MM ’12), Billy Test (MM ’15), and Mike Holober (MSM Faculty)

    Best Latin Jazz Album:
    Rogerio Boccato (MSM Faculty) and Miguel Zenón (MM ’01)

    Best Orchestral Performance:
    Leonard Slatkin (Trustee and HonDMA ’13)

    Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance:
    Christopher Cerrone (BM ’07)Jannina Norpoth (BM ’03), and Ilya Kazantsev (PS ’10)

    Best Classical Solo Vocal Album:
    Curtis Macomber (MSM Faculty) and Craig Terry (’99)

    Best Engineered Album, Classical:
    Ilya Kazantsev (PS ’10)]

  • Nov 14, 2019Brass

    Alumni Council member featured on News12 Bronx

    Alumnus and Alumni Advisory Council member Eganam Segbefia (MM ’18, Classical Trumpet) shares his musical journey and how he plans to give back to his community in this video feature on News12 Bronx.

    “I wanted to go to Manhattan School of Music, so I just said I’m going to dive in and play every day, play every day, play every day, then doors just started opening for me,” says Eganam.

    Mr. Segbefia will perform as a special guest artist during the Johnny Pacheco Latin Music and Jazz Festival at Lehman College, which runs through Friday (Nov 15). You can find more information about the festival here.

  • Nov 7, 2019Voice

    MSM voice alumni advance to MetOpera regional competition

    Five alumni and one current student received awards at The Metropolitan Opera National Council Eastern District Auditions earlier this week. Yvette Koeng (BM ’19), Jimin Park (MM ’20), Joshua Sanders (MM ’17), and Woo Young Yoon (MM ’17) will advance to the regional level of the competition, held on January 22, 2020 at Baruch Performing Arts Center in Manhattan. Alumni Hyeree Shin (MM ’18, PS ’19) and Yi Yang (MM ’10) received Encouragement Awards.

    The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are held annually in fourteen regions of the United States and Canada. Winners of the District auditions advance to their Region Finals where they compete to win a trip to NYC to participate in the National Semi-Finals held at The Metropolitan Opera. Ten semi-finalists are selected as national finalists and compete the following week in the public Grand Finals Concert accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

    Many MSM voice students and alumni have won the Grand Finals, including countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who currently stars in the title role of the MetOpera’s production of Akhnaten.

  • Nov 5, 2019Piano

    Phillip Kawin reviewed by Fanfare Archive

    Piano faculty member Phillip Kawin has received another rave review of his new recording with Master Performers, a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the Russian National Orchestra.

    Fanfare Archive reviewer David Reznick writes, “Most pianists are at their most thrilling while involved in a grand crescendo. But Kawin grips your heart with his subito piano. He goes from the most turbulent emotions to heartbreaking caresses in a way that I’ve only heard from one other artist: Vladimir Ashkenazy. But with Kawin, you feel the power that lurks below.” Read the full review here.

    Purchase Professor Kawin’s recording, available on DVD and Blu-ray, on Amazon.

  • Oct 29, 2019Musical Theatre

    MSM students perform at Drama League Gala

    Last night, 14 Manhattan School of Music students performed at The Drama League’s Annual Gala at The Plaza Hotel.

    Musical theatre students sang with Jelani Alladin and Miriam Shor in tributes to honoree Sutton Foster, while several jazz students performed during the cocktail hour.

    The exciting opportunity was a collaboration of efforts between MSM Community members including Joe Pizza, Sceneworks Studios, Center for Music Entrepreneurship, Michele Wright, and Enrique Brown.

    Musical Theatre Participants: Elizabeth Baxley, Rafaela Cicchetti, Liam Collins, Pantelis Karastamatis, Jordan Paige Kliphon, Ariela Pizza, Austin Prebula, Savannah Sinclair, Joey Zook
    Jazz Arts Participants: Kofi Baraka-Shepsu, Joseph Miller, Dabin Ryu, Hamish Smith, Sam Towse

  • Oct 21, 2019Strings

    Alumnus joins LA Chamber Orchestra

    Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) announced the appointment of Manhattan School of Music alumnus Jason Issokson (BM ’06) as Second Violin today via Broadway World.

    Issokson, a Los Angeles resident, begins his new post with the Orchestra’s second 2019/20 season orchestral concerts on October 26 and 27. LACO is regarded as one of the nation’s premier music ensembles and a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire.

    LACO Music Director Jaime Martín shares, “I’m thrilled that a musician of his calibre will be joining LACO’s outstanding string section.”

  • Oct 17, 2019Precollege

    Precollege student performs with Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra

    Cedar-Rose Newman, a 15-year-old Precollege violin student of Lucie Robert, performed Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, Op 21 with in New South Wales, Australia last month.

    Ann Carr-Boyd, a composer and patron of the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra, shares this of Cedar-Rose’s performance: “Her performance at these two concerts was outstanding and a tremendous achievement for any violinist, let alone a violinist who is still only fifteen years old.”

  • Oct 15, 2019Chamber Music

    David Krakauer releases new album with ABRAHAM INC

    Faculty member and clarinetist David Krakauer and his 11-piece band ABRAHAM INC released Together We Stand today on all major music platforms. The band is currently on tour in Europe, and will have their official album launch party tonight at La Cigale in Paris.

    David shares, “Our new album, Together We Stand, was born as our response to what we see as forces that seek to divide us in the name of self-interest. After a short hiatus, the Abraham Inc project felt important to resurrect at this moment in time as we take a stand in the name of tolerance and humanistic values. David talks more about the album in this video.

    Buy Together We Stand on Bandcamp, Apple Music, Google Music, and CDBaby. Streaming is also available on Spotify, Youtube Music and Napster.

  • Oct 11, 2019Jazz

    Damien Sneed premieres new opera at Carnegie Hall

    Jazz piano, voice, and composition faculty member Damien Sneed will premiere his new opera, Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown, at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage today at the Sphinx Organization Performance and Gala, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Robert F. Smith.

    MSM alumna J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09, Classical Voice) and fellow Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient will help bring to life this overture from his ground-breaking opera during the evening’s finale performance. Current student Ruben Rengel (PS ’20, Classical Violin) and alumnus Christopher Johnson (MM ’08, Orchestral Double Bass) are set to perform in the orchestra.

    Composed by Sneed, who also wrote the libretto, Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown, showcases musical styles from the African American diaspora from African rhythms to spirituals to gospel to jazz, all interwoven in the classical genre.

    Read the full press release here.

  • Oct 10, 2019Precollege

    Precollege will participate in Luna Lab for second year

    Last year, a Precollege chamber music group had the opportunity to work with Luna Composition Lab and MSM Precollege will continue to collaborate with Luna Lab for their 2019-2020 season.

    Luna Composition Lab addresses the gender gap in the field of classical music by inspiring young self-identifying female, nonbinary and gender non-conforming individuals to compose. Founded in 2016 by 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Reid – the first composer to have been commissioned by Los Angeles’ four major classical music institutions – and 2019 Grammy nominee Missy Mazzoli – one of the first two women to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera – with NYC’s Kaufman Music Center, Luna Lab provides mentorship and performance opportunities to girls and young women from eighth grade through college freshmen.

    The culminating performance will be on April 29, 2020 at Merkin Hall.

    Read the full press release here.

  • Oct 8, 2019Percussion

    MSM Percussionists place at International Competition

    Last weekend, current student William Hopkins (BM ’21) and alumnus Yi Chen (BM ’19) competed in the Majaoja International Percussion Competition in Tampere, Finland.

    William, who represented the United States in the B Category (for contestants under 21 years of age), tied for first place. Yi was selected as a semifinalist in the A Category, where there was no age limit.

    Learn more about the Majaoja International Percussion Competition here.

  • Oct 7, 2019Voice

    Another MSM alum joins Phantom on Broadway

    Meghan Picerno (MM ’10, PS ’11), currently performing as Christine Daaé in the new World Tour of The Phantom of the Opera, will make her Broadway debut in the role Monday, October 14 according to a press release. Meghan previously originated the role of Christine in the North American premiere of Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom.

    She joins two other MSM alumni — Raquel Suarez (MM ’09, PS ’10) as Carlotta and Carlton Moe (MM ’15) as Ubaldo Piangi — in Broadway’s longest running show. Purchase tickets here.

  • Oct 4, 2019Precollege

    Precollege chamber group performs on From the Top

    The music group, “Kalico Quartet”, performs on Show 376 of the weekly NPR broadcast which will be released November 4, 2019 here.

    Kalico Quartet is comprised of three current MSM Precollege students and one graduate — Cheng Io Lo, violin (’19); Lena-Marie Stoger, violin; Kevin Wallace, viola; and Andrew Wallace, cello. Last season, Kalico Quartet won the 2018-2019 Precollege Chamber Music Competition.

  • Sep 30, 2019Voice

    Jorge Parodi conducts Frida at The Atlanta Opera

    Parodi, a vocal coach at MSM, will conduct the moving story of the iconic Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. The production is directed by José María Condemi with music by Robert Xavier Rodriguez and will run for four performances October 5–13. Tickets and more information are available at The Atlanta Opera’s website.

    Later this season, Jorge will conduct Carmen at Opera Tampa and Moscow, Cheryomushki here at Manhattan School of Music.

  • Sep 30, 2019Piano

    International Piano Magazine praises Phillip Kawin’s Beethoven concerto

    Piano faculty member Phillip Kawin‘s latest recording receives a rave review in the September issue of the London-based International Piano Magazine. In the recording, Professor Kawin performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3 alongside the Russian National Orchestra and conductor Gerard Schwarz. The video was filmed in Moscow’s Rachmaninov Concert Hall and directed by Paul Carasco.

    International Piano reviewer Colin Clarke writes, “Phillip Kawin’s performances are always deeply considered: he follows in a lineage from Cortot and was influenced by Dora Zaslavsky Koch, a student of Bauer and Backhaus. Kawin’s reading of the Beethoven C minor concerto combines a strong grasp of structure with intense concentration on detail, as did his previously issued Appassionata.” Read the full review here.

    The Master Performers recording is available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray via Amazon.

  • Sep 27, 2019Voice

    Alumna joins Oscar-winning cast of The Little Things

    Actress Sheila Houlahan (BM ’14) joins an all-star cast in the new Warner Brother’s film The Little Things, including Oscar winners Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto.

    Sheila’s previous credits include SyFy’s series Z Nation and The Wonderland Murders (2018).

    Read the full press release here.

  • Sep 27, 2019Jazz

    Jason Moran exhibition opens at the Whitney

    Jazz pianist and artist Jason Moran (BM ’97) celebrated the opening of his new exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art in NY, NY last week. The exhibition is centered around the physical history of jazz, and features collaborations with Kara Walker, Joan Jonas, and other figures in the art world. You can purchase tickets to the exhibition (running through January 2020) here.

    In a review by The New York Times, Jason shares, “When I think about all that has happened in those clubs, in those venues, with those audiences, with all the ephemera that is left behind — that tells a fuller picture of what the music is.” Read the full review and see photos of the exhibition here.

  • Sep 25, 2019Composition

    Alumnus nominated for Latin GRAMMY award

    Juan Pablo Contreras (MM ’12) has earned a Latin GRAMMY nomination in the Best Arrangement category for his album Mariachitlán! Since earning his Masters at Manhattan School of Music, Juan Pablo has become “one of the most prominent young composers of Latin America” (Milenio). His music is known for combining Western classical and Mexican folk music in a single soundscape, and has been performed by major orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Mexico City and UNAM Philharmonics.

    Learn more about Juan Pablo Contreras by visiting his website,

  • Sep 24, 2019Voice

    Eight alumni perform in MetOpera’s Porgy and Bess

    Eight Manhattan School of Music alumni are performing in The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, which opened the season last night.

    Chorus members include Chanae Curtis (MM ’14)Jamet Pittman (PS ’97)Jonathan Tuzo (MM ’06)Helena Brown (MM ’14)Tesia Kwarteng (MM ’13)Nicole Joy Mitchell (MM ’04), and Jasmine Muhammad (MM ’12); Chanáe also makes her role debut at Annie and Justin Michael Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) is covering the role of Jim.

    The New York Times says, “…the chorus gently eases into the music, beautifully adding a warm harmonic cushion.” They ‘sang the sad refrains of “Gone, Gone, Gone” with sighing lyricism and swelling fervor’ and ‘shifted readily into jubilee mode for the spiritual “Leavin’ for the Promised Land.”’ Read their full review here.

    The production runs through Oct. 16, and Jan. 8-Feb. 1

  • Sep 20, 2019Woodwinds

    Linda Chesis featured in Flute Talk magazine

    Woodwind Department Chair and Flute Faculty member Linda Chesis is on the cover of this month’s Flute Talk magazine! In this issue, Linda is interviewed by her former student (and MSM Precollege alumna) Joanna Lau.

    Of her teaching style, Professor Chesis shares, “I will address things very differently depending on a student’s strengths and weaknesses, and I think that is also what keeps it fresh and interesting for me.” Read the full article here.

  • Sep 20, 2019Woodwinds

    Pascal Archer wins NJ Symphony position

    Alumnus and Precollege faculty member Pascal Archer (MM ’06) recently won a one-year position as acting principal clarinet of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Pascal also serves as the principal clarinet of The Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra and NEPA Philharmonic, and he is the artistic director of the Exponential Ensemble. View Pascal’s bio and upcoming performances here.

  • Sep 19, 2019Composition

    Terence Blanchard makes opera history at The Met

    The Metropolitan Opera announced today that they will be staging their first opera by a black composer, a work by MSM Board of Trustees member Terence Blanchard (HonDMA ’17) as early as next season.

    The opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, premiered this summer at Opera Theater of St. Louis and is based on a memoir by Charles Blow. In his review of the St. Louis production, Anthony Tommasini wrote, “vocal lines flow from lyrical wistfulness to snappy declamations; dense big-band sonorities in the orchestra segue into lighter passages backed by a jazz rhythm section, and there are rousing evocations of gospel choruses at church, blues and, during a fraternity party, a rhythmic chorus of spoken words, finger snapping and dance steps.”

    Read the full article in The New York Times here.

  • Sep 18, 2019Strings

    Alumna joins Santa Fe Opera Orchestra

    Alumna Jennifer Best Takeda (MM ’02) will join the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra beginning in 2020. Jennifer serves as Assistant concertmaster of the Sarasota Orchestra and presently performs with the Sarasota Piano Quartet, EnsembleNewSRQ, Opera Tampa, St. Petersburg Opera and the Florida Orchestra.

  • Sep 17, 2019Composition

    Alumnus accepts Composition position at Ithaca College

    Fredrick Kaufman (BM ’59, MM ’60) recently accepted an Endowed Composition Chair for the year at Ithaca College. During his tenure at the college, they will premiere two of Kaufman’s pieces: The Essence of Franrances Past & Present in October and “Kaddish” Cello Concerto in February. Next year, classical guitar soloist Mesut Ozgen will premiere Kaufman’s Guitar Concerto at the 2020 International Guitar Conference in Miami.

    Learn more about Fredrick Kaufman by visiting his website here.

  • Sep 13, 2019Voice

    MSM Opera Theatre and Alumni featured in NYTimes Fall Preview

    Manhattan School of Music’s production of Martha is included in The New York Times not-to-miss Classical performances for the upcoming season — tickets are available here! MSM students and alumni performing in other productions are featured throughout the list, including:

    Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08)
    J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09)
    Carol Wincec (BM ’71)
    Susan Graham (MM ’87, HonDMA ’08)
    Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99, MM ’00)
    George Manahan (BM ’73, MM ’76)
    Tobias Picker (BM ’77)
    Lisa E. Harris (MM ’04)
    Christopher Cerrone (BM’ 07)
    Ted Hearne (BM ’04)
    Brandon Jovanovich (’98)
    Anna Clyne (MM ’05)

    Read the full Fall Preview article here.

  • Sep 13, 2019Voice

    Alumni and faculty mentions in October Opera News

    Alumna Jeanine de Bique (BM ’06, MM ’08, PS ’09) is featured in Noteworthy & Now for making her San Francisco Opera debut. – pg 6

    Alumna and faculty member Catherine Malfitano (BM ’71) in “Scenes from the Life of a Diva” for her role as Prima Donna in Tosca with the Aix-en-Provence Festival. – pg 40

    MSM faculty member “Conductor Jorge Parodi led with verve, maintaining good eye coordination.” Chautauqua’s Figaro! (90210) – pg 43

    Blake Friedman (MM ’09) “relished opportunities for diminuendos and softer dynamic effects.” – Chautauqua’s Barbiere di Sivigilia – pg 43

    Corigliano (’63, HonDMA ’92)’s music contains rousing, souring melodies, brimming with emotion.” Glimmerglass’ production of The Ghosts of Versailles

  • Sep 5, 2019Conducting

    Kent Tritle featured on WIRED Masterminds

    MSM’s Director of Choral Activities Kent Tritle explains all that goes into being a professional conductor in this latest episode of WIRED Masterminds, a series in which experts demonstrate and explain key parts of their craft. From the concepts of legato, marcato, fortissimo, and more, Kent breaks down what exactly his hand movements mean when leading a group of musicians.

    Professor Tritle will conduct MSM’s Chamber Choir this November in Greenfield Hall. Click here for more information.