Success Stories

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

  • Jun 10, 2021Percussion

    World Premiere of composition by MSM Percussion Faculty member Duncan Patton at Cathedral of St John the Divine in NYC

    Duncan Patton’s composition There Will Come a Time will premiere on June 17 at 7 PM during a full-length digital concert called You are the Light recorded and filmed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

    MSM’s Director of Choral Activities Kent Tritle is the Music Director and conductor of the event, leading the Musica Sacra choir with instrumental ensemble Rose of the Compass  The concert also features Immigrant Songs by former MSM President Robert Sirota.

    For more information about the concert, including a video teaser, visit this page.

  • Jun 9, 2021Composition

    Composition “24 Preludes and Fugues” by Paolo Marchettini published by Edizioni Curci in Italy

    The work “24 Preludes and Fugues” for piano by MSM Faculty member Paolo Marchettini, who teaches Music Theory at MSM, took more than a year to compose and is now published by the respected Italian publishing house Edizioni Curci.

    “I’ve always considered the fugue to be one of the most pure musical forms,” explains Paolo in a video clip that can be seen here. “The possibility of being able to write an entire piece of music out of only one main idea has always been a challenge for composers of different times.”

    Learn more about the composition here at the publisher’s website.

    Watch Paolo play perform a portion of the work here.


  • Jun 6, 2021Woodwinds

    Imani Winds featuring MSM Alumni named Faculty at Curtis Institute

    The GRAMMY-nominated 21st-century ensemble will begin as the faculty wind quintet at Curtis Institute at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

    Imani Winds members include MSM Alumni Monica Ellis (PS ’98), bassoon; Toyin Spellman-Diaz (MM ’98), oboe; Brandon Patrick George (MM ’10), flute; Jeff Scott (BM ’90), French horn; Toyin Spellman-Diaz (MM ’98), oboe;  and Mark Dover (MM ’12), clarinet.

    Imani Winds will work with student ensembles, as well as Curtis’ wind studios. They will also commission  works with community partners.

    “I am thrilled to welcome Imani Winds to our faculty,” says Curtis President and CEO Roberto Díaz.

    “Imani Winds has set a great example of how to forge a unique career path, have meaningful community impact, and embody an entrepreneurial spirit throughout all of their work. We will all benefit greatly from having Imani Winds at Curtis.”

  • Jun 4, 2021Composition

    Composer Christopher Cerrone (BM ’07) new album The Arching Path released on In a Circle Records

    Brooklyn-based composer Christopher Cerrone was recently named one of The Washington Post‘s “21 Composers and performers who sound like tomorrow,” and has collaborated with a “veritable who’s-who of classical ensembles, ranging from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to Third Coast Percussion,” writes music critic Keven McBrien.

    His new album The Arching Path is “an electro-acoustic, piano-driven record that features some of my favorite recent chamber pieces,” says Cerrone.

    View a video of the title composition performed by Timo Andres here.

    Learn more about the album and purchase it here.

  • May 30, 2021Composition

    Aria by Alumnus Adolphus Hailstork (BM ’65, MM ’66) to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre

    The aria “Tulsa 1921: Pity These Ashes, Pity This Dust” will premiere on June 19 during an online musical event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, organized by the Harlem Chamber Players, Harlem Stage, and Harlem School of the Arts.

    Adolphus Hailstork’s work with libretto by Herbert Woodward Martin is written for chamber orchestra and a single mezzo-soprano voice, performed at the event by MSM Alumna J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09). In the composition, the story of the massacre that left dozens dead and destroyed several blocks is told by a young girl, picking through the destruction and lamenting the extinguished hopes of a thriving, industrious Black community.

    Register to watch here.

    Read more about the event here.

  • May 28, 2021Voice

    Erin Wagner (BM ’19) Awarded First Prize in 2021 Naumburg International Vocal Competition

    The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s 2021 International Vocal Competition concluded on Thursday, May 27, naming Erin Wagner, a mezzo-soprano from El Paso, Texas, the winner.

    Ms. Wagner’s prize includes a cash award of $25,000, two New York concerts, and a commissioned work.

    Her collaborating pianist was Shawn Chang.

    The five-day event, beginning on May 22, took place in New York at the 92nd St Y (final round), Merkin Concert Hall (semi-final round), and preliminary round at Symphony Space. All three rounds were held as live auditions. The jury, chaired by Dawn Upshaw, a member of Naumburg’s Board of Directors, included Jan Opalach, William Sharp, Dona D. Vaughn, Mark Markham, Tony Arnold, John Harbison and Benita Valente.

    Read more about the prize here.

  • May 21, 2021Jazz

    Jazz students win DownBeat Student Music Awards

    Congratulations to our winners of DownBeat’s 44th Annual Student Music Awards!

    Jazz Soloist (Undergraduate College Outstanding Performances)
    Varun Das (BM ’22), drums
    Vittorio Stropoli (BM ’23), piano

    Jazz Soloist (Graduate College Winner)
    Rico Jones (BM ’20, MM ’22), tenor saxophone

    Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist (High School Honors Winner)
    Meghna Das (Precollege), vocalist

    Small Jazz Combo (Undergraduate College Winners)
    • The Ritual directed by Marc Cary
    Philippe Clément (BM ’22), songwriter/guitarist
    Stéphane Clément (BM ’23), trumpet
    Nolan Nwachukwu (BM ’23), bass
    Miguel Russell (BM ’24), drums
    Vittorio Stropoli (BM ’23), piano/keyboard/synth

    Original Composition—Small Ensemble (Undergraduate College Outstanding Compositions)
    Matanda Keyes (BM ’21), “Contra”

    Jazz Arrangement (Graduate College Outstanding—Small Ensemble)
    Rico Jones (BM ’20, MM ’22), “Central Park West”

  • May 7, 2021Piano

    MSM graduate student pianist Tabitha Johnson (MM ’21) praised by The Amsterdam News

    The newspaper The Amsterdam News calls Tabitha a virtuoso who is ” on the path to being one of the world’s most notable classical musicians.”

    A native of Barrie, Ontario in Canada, Johnson said she’s been playing the piano since age 3 and seriously began studying music at age 8.

    In March, she won the David I. Martin Music Guild of the National Association of Negro Musician’s (NANM) piano and organ competition. Last month, she won the NANM’s Eastern Regional competition and now she’s headed for the national competition this summer.

    Read the article here.

  • Apr 30, 2021Piano

    Alumnus Dominic Cheli (BM ’14) is one of five finalists for the 2021 American Pianists Association Awards

    On June 27th, the winner of the American Pianists Awards will receive the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship, valued at more than $100,000.

    The five finalists have each recorded a private adjudicated recital with WFYI TV in Indianapolis. The recitals begin broadcasting May 23rd for five consecutive Sunday afternoons via multiple platforms including radio, Facebook and YouTube. The five pianists will return to Indianapolis for the finals in front of live audiences June 25-27.

    See performance schedule and learn more about Dominic here.

  • Apr 29, 2021Strings

    Interlochen Center for the Arts names MSM alumnus Enrique Márquez (MM ’04) Director of Music

    As Director of Music of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, Enrique Márquez will lead music programming, pedagogy, and curricula at Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen Arts Camp, Interlochen Online, and Interlochen College of Creative Arts. Márquez begins his new role June 1.

    “I am eager to create impactful pathways and experiences for Interlochen students that will help them become our next generation of creative change makers,” says Enrique, a seasoned violist.

    Márquez joins Interlochen from the Harvard Department of Music, where he oversaw Music Department concerts and events and served as the administrator of the Fromm Music Foundation. Márquez has collaborated actively with music institutions including Tanglewood, the American Composers Orchestra, the American Academy in Rome, and Sony Classical.

    Learn more about the appointment here.

  • Apr 23, 2021Opera

    Jorge Parodi, MSM’s Music Director of Opera Theatre oversees new take on “Carmen” in Atlanta

    Jorge Parodi is conducting the world premiere of The Threepenny Carmen as part of the Big Tent series in Atlanta, Georgia, overseen by Atlanta Opera’s artistic director Tomer Zvulun. The production is being held in a custom-made tent with open walls in the parking lot of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta April 23, 25, 28, & 30 as well as May 2, 6, & 8.

    In this adaptation of Carmen, Parodi oversees a cast of 13 performers, down from the usual cast size of 66. The Threepenny Carmen runs 90 minutes compared to George Bizet’s three-hour work.

    Read more about the production here.

  • Apr 21, 2021Piano

    MSM Alumnus Po-Wei Ger (BM ’18) wins three Premio Jaén awards

    Classical pianist and MSM alumnus Po-Wei Ger, a former student of MSM faculty member Solomon Mikoswky, won second place at this year’s International Piano Competition Premio Jaén held in the city of Jaén in the Andalusia region Spain. He also won the highly-coveted Audience prize and Chamber Music prize (photo above of Po-Wei being presented the Chamber Music award).

    Founded in 1953, the competition is the oldest of its kind in Spain. It has a demanding repertoire and requires contestants show a deep understanding of Spanish music.

    Seven previous students of Simon Mikowsky to win Premio Jaén awards include Inesa Sinkevych and Chun Wang who have won first place, Yuan Sheng who placed second, and Jung-Eun Lee, Gustavo Díaz-Jerez, Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz, and Jingjing Wang who have all won third.

  • Apr 14, 2021Opera

    Poetry by MSM faculty member Tazewell Thompson is featured in the New York Times

    The New York Times has published a stunning editorial feature looking behind the scenes of closed theaters in NYC during the pandemic.

    The text to the feature is a beautiful poem by Tazewell Thompson, Director of Opera Studies at MSM.

    See the article here.

  • Apr 12, 2021Jazz

    MSM faculty member Elio Villafranca named a recipient of John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship

    Jazz composer Elio Villafranca is among the recipients of the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship awarded this year to 184 artists, scholars, writers, and scientists. The grants of approximately $40,000 are given to those “who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

    “I am thrilled to announce this new group of Guggenheim Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Foundation, “especially since this has been a devastating year in so many ways… The work supported by the Fellowship will help us understand more deeply what we are enduring individually and collectively.”

    More about Elio here.

  • Apr 10, 2021Conducting

    Conductor and pianist Kelly Kuo (MM ’98) recently appointed American Lyric Theater’s new Associate Artistic Director

    Conductor Kelly Kuo, who received a masters degree in piano studies at MSM in 1998,  joins the ALT’s leadership team as they launch a slate of programs under the umbrella of the Opera Writers Diversity and Representation Initiative (OWDARI), as part of an ongoing commitment by the ALT to mentor the next generation of operatic writers.

    In this role, Kelly will share artistic and curatorial responsibilities with ALT’s founder, Lawrence Edelson.

    Learn more about the appointment here.






  • Apr 8, 2021Guitar

    Video release of MSM alumnus guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas (PD ’04; PS ’06; AD ’07) solo debut with Berlin Philharmonic

    MSM alumnus Pablo Sáinz Villegas appeared as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic in the orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall in late December 2020.

    The video of him performing Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo, under the baton of the Berlin Philharmonic conductor Kirill Petrenko, can be seen here.

    Visit this page to learn more about Pablo.

  • Apr 2, 2021Jazz

    Jazz bassist Noah Jackson (MM ’12) named Music Director and Artist in Residence of Influential Detroit Jazz Club Cliff Bells

    “I want to bring Detroit back into its prominence that most musicians around the world know it to be,” says Noah Jackson. “But many people outside the music don’t.”

    “I’ve always felt that Detroit was going to be a major factor in my life one way or the other, and that it was a major component towards my personal artistic identity,” says Jackson, who has been a highly sought-after bassist in NYC where he plays with Brandford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Christian Sands, and others.

    Cliff Bell’s reopens to the public on Friday, April 2, and will feature Sean Dobbins and the Modern Jazz Messengers April 2-3.

    Learn more about his appointment here.

  • Mar 31, 2021Opera

    Savannah VOICE Festival Names MSM Faculty Member Jorge Parodi to Board of Directors

    The respected Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) has announced the expansion of its Board of Directors to include three new members including MSM Senior Opera Theatre Music Director, along with Michael Ching and Howard Watkins.

    The Festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year.

    Learn more here.

  • Mar 29, 2021Composition

    MSM Faculty Member Susan Botti is named a recipient of a Fromm Foundation Commission

    Susan Botti is one of fourteen composers selected to receive a 2020 Fromm Commission by the Harvard University-based organization’s Board of Directors.

    These commissions represent one of the principal ways that the Fromm Music Foundation seeks to strengthen composition and to bring contemporary concert music closer to the public.

    In addition to the commissioning award, a subsidy is available for the ensemble performing the premiere of the commissioned work.

    Learn more about Susan here.

  • Mar 28, 2021Precollege

    National Association of Teachers of Singing Eastern Region name four MSM Precollege students as award-winners

    The MSM Precollege student award winners are:

    Lower High School Music Theater Treble Voice

    Honorable Mentioned – Lauren Marchand – Student of Giuseppe Spoletini

    Upper High School Musical Theater Treble Voice

    2nd Place – Meghna Das – Student of Jeanai La Vita

    Upper High School Tenor Bass Baritone – Classical

    3rd Place – Henry Hsiao – Student of Jeanai La Vita

    Learn more here.

  • Mar 27, 2021Precollege

    Precollege student Alex Cha wins 2nd place in NJ Youth Symphony Concerto Competition.

    Precollege student Alex Cha (top left in photo), Precollege student of Jo-Ann Sternberg, won second place in the annual NJ Youth Symphony Concerto Competition.

    The annual competition for members of the NJYS Youth Symphony was held virtually this year, with 19 entrants performing for guest adjudicators Ilmar Gavilan, violinist of Harlem Quartet, and Mark Laycock, professor of orchestral studies at Wichita State University.

    Learn more here.

  • Mar 24, 2021Strings

    Judith Insell appointed to Executive Director of Bronx Arts Ensemble

    Bronx Arts Ensemble announced the appointment of MSM alumna Judith Insell (BM ’92, MM ’93, Classical Viola) to Executive Director today in a press release.

    Judith has previously served as BAE’s Artistic Director and Director of Curriculum and Artist Development.

    “It is my honor to assume the leadership of an organization that was founded nearly 50 years ago through the grit and passion that William “Bill” Scribner had for supporting the arts and culture of the Bronx through music performances and arts education. As a musician born and raised in the Bronx, I am thrilled to be leading BAE’s charge into the future, further lifting up performing arts and arts education in the communities of the Bronx, greater New York City, and worldwide,” says Insell.

  • Mar 11, 2021Jazz

    David Zheng interviewed by JAZZIZ Magazine

    Alumnus David Zheng (MM ’20, Jazz Piano) talks about his time at Manhattan School of Music in a new interview from JAZZIZ Magazine’s Spring 2021 issue, “When Jazz met Hip-Hop”. JAZZIZ subscribers can read the full interview here.

    “Merging jazz, R&B and hip-hop sensibilities, and featuring collaborations with and performances by top talents from a multitude of genres in the NYC music community, Loading… finds Zheng floating his jazzy sensibilities atop a sophisticated blend of hard-hitting dance-floor grooves, intricately textured electronics and dreamy atmospheres,” writes Jonathan Widran.

    Zheng signed with Ropeadope Records shortly after graduating, and released his first album Loading… in December 2020. Follow David Zheng on Instagram for the latest news and updates.

  • Feb 13, 2021Jazz

    Alumnus wins prestigious jazz composition award

    Last month, the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) announced the 2021 winner of the prestigious ISJAC/USF Owen Prize in Jazz Composition: recent MSM graduate Robert Buonaspina (MM ’20, Jazz Composition). During his time at MSM, Robert studied with esteemed faculty member Jim McNeely.

    Mr. Buonaspina’s winning composition, “Smile Pretty”, will be performed virtually by an acclaimed professional jazz orchestra at ISJAC’s Un[chart]ed Territory (March 18-20). Learn more about the event here.

  • Feb 12, 2021Strings

    MSM Faculty member and alumna Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95, HonDMA ’17) is a featured artist on WQXR’s new Artist Propulsion Lab

    Kelly Hall Tompkins (MM ’95, HonDMA ’17)  is one of six artists, hand-selected by the WQXR team, who are receiving an honorarium of $15,000 and a budget of up to $5,000 to engage collaborators and commission works. The artists will be able to take advantage of WQXR’s various outlets to reach audiences, too, via Greene Space performances, on-air curation opportunities, and much, much more.

    “I am really excited for their support in bringing some of my projects to life, particularly in such challenging times,” says Kelly.

    Learn more here.

  • Feb 9, 2021Voice

    Soprano Jeanne Gérard (MM ’15), MSM Alumna, is nominated for France’s Victoires de la Musique Classique

    The prestigious Victoires de la Musique Classique are important classical music awards in France. The ceremony featuring the winners takes place on February 24th and will be broadcast live on French national TV and radio.

    Half of the votes that determine the winner are cast by the public, with voting closing on Feb 15. Votes for Jeanne can be placed here.

    View the nominees’ concerts featuring Jeanne:
  • Feb 4, 2021Precollege

    The Garden State Philharmonic names former MSM Precollege student as President of the Board

    Dr. Nancy Mezey, the Dean of the Honors School at Monmouth University, has been appointed as the President of the Board of The Garden State Philharmonic, the critically acclaimed professional orchestra that is “Orchestra in Residence” at Ocean County College in Tom’s River.

    In addition to the professional orchestra, the GSP sponsors a three-tiered Youth Orchestra program comprised of more than 100 students between the ages of eight and 21, and an auditioned Community Chorus.

    Learn more about Dr. Mezey’s appointment here.

  • Jan 29, 2021Voice

    MSM Alum and Board of Trustee member Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) a winner of the 2021 Beverly Sills Artist Award

    Congratulations to MSM Alumnus and Board of Trustees member Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) for this prestigious award!

    The Metropolitan Opera has announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will be splitting the 2021 Beverly Sills Artist Award between five artists including Erin Morley, Brenda Rae, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Ben Bliss, and Ryan Speedo Green.

    Each artist will receive $10,000 awards. This is the first time in the company’s history that the award is given to more than one artist in a given year.

    Learn more here.

  • Jan 22, 2021Strings

    Biden economic advisor and MSM alum featured on The Argument episode

    Alumnus Jared Bernstein (BM ’78, Classical Double Bass) is a special guest on this week’s episode of The New York Times’s podcast, “The Argument”.

    As a member of Joe Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors, Bernstein talks about the economy and his ideas. Around the 46 minute mark, he mentions his time at Manhattan School of Music and recommends one of his favorite Bach concertos.

    You can listen to the full episode here.

  • Jan 21, 2021Piano

    Kariné Poghosyan profiled by The Armenian Mirror-Spectator

    MSM College and Precollege faculty member Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05, DMA ’07) is described by the publication as a “truly one-of-a-kind classical performer” who “inspires listeners with her vivacious, passionate piano interpretations of a wide range of classical music”.

    The article also discusses Dr. Poghosyan’s weekly Facebook Live concert series that she began at the beginning of the pandemic. Her 45th concert in the series—dedicated to the music of Arno Babajanian—is slated for this Friday, January 22.

    You can read the full article here, and follow Dr. Poghosyan’s Facebook page here.