Chorus America announced their 2020 awards program honorees earlier this week and named MSM’s Director of Choral Activities Kent Tritle the recipient of the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art.
Named after one of the founders of Chorus America, this award was established in 1978 to honor an individual with a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art. Read the full press release, including the list of all award recipients, here.
Earlier this week, the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, CA announced its 63rd season and young artists. Among the twenty-nine artists selected from a highly competitive pool of singers and vocal coaches are six Manhattan School of Music students and graduates.
Philippe L’Esperance (MM ’17, PS ’18) | Tenor
Celeste Morales (MM ’18) | Soprano
Laureano Quant (MM ’20) | Baritone
Mikayla Sager (BM ’15) | Soprano
Anna Smigelskaya (MM ’20) | Apprentice Coach
WooYoung Yoon (MM ’17) | Tenor
The Merola Opera Program is widely regarded as the foremost opera training program for aspiring singers, coach accompanists, and stage directors. Merola nurtures the opera stars of tomorrow and offers outreach through educational programs for students and the general public. Read the full press release here.
MSM alumnus Anthony Mazzocchi (BM ’95, MM ’97) was selected to give a TED Talk at TEDxMaplewood this past February at their 2020 conference in Maplewood, NJ. Anthony’s lecture, which opens with a performance from a trombone choir, focuses on how we learn collaboration from musical ensembles. You can watch his TED Talk here.
The trumpet ensemble in the video includes Manhattan School of Music alumni Jennifer Wharton, Mark Broschinsky (DMA ’12), Mike Lormand (MM ’03), and Paul Bellino (MM ’93).
Anthony is currently the Director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University in New Jersey. He is also Co-Executive Director of the Kinhaven Summer Music School in Vermont with his wife, Deborah. In 2013, Anthony was nominated for the first ever GRAMMY music educator award; he was one of 25 finalists among over 30,000 candidates.
John Burnett of National Public Radio interviewed Associate Dean and Director of Jazz Arts Stefon Harris (BM ’95, MM ’97) about performing, being an educator, and teaching empathy from the bandstand.
“The vibraphone, in my opinion, is just a bunch of metal and wood,” he says. “It’s not that important. Instruments are just tools. What’s important is the mission behind the individual who’s utilizing the tool. My ultimate passion is about the proliferation of empathy.”
You can listen to the interview here.
Clarinet faculty member David Krakauer and his frequent collaborator Kathleen Tagg (DMA ’09) have started weekly livestreams featuring their favorite performers, composers, filmmakers, philosophers, and thinkers. The series, entitled “Sunday Connections”, will take place on their Facebook and YouTube pages each Sunday at 11am EDT.
Lineup for the next few episodes includes clarinetist & composer Kinan Azmeh; Abraham Inc’s Socalled & Fred Wesley; filmmaker Eric Steel; composer & beat-maker, Jeremy Flower aka Keepalive; South African jazz pianist Andre Peterson; bassist & guitarist Jerome Harris; singer & rapper Sarah MK; accordion virtuoso Rob Curto, and more.
Learn more about “Sunday Connections” here.
Evan Kent (BM ’82, Classical Voice) and his husband are featured in an article published today by the Los Angeles Times about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their “pastoral mission”. Kent is a Los Angeles cantor who moved to Jerusalem seven years ago with his husband, Rabbi Donald Goor.
In the article, Evan is described as “a mainstay of the Westside’s Temple Isaiah, as well known for charisma and compassion as for the hauntingly melodious tones he brought to his role as cantor.” Read the full article here.
Baritone Henry Griffin (BM ’22, Classical Voice) and his parents are featured in the Chicago Tribune for their uplifting nightly performances in the Oak Park neighborhood. Amid the state’s order to shelter-in-place in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a new tradition has sprung up on the block.
Griffin’s mother, Susan Warner, plays clarinet for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and father, Dave Griffin, is a horn player for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
You can watch a video of their performance of “Over the Rainbow” and read the full article here.
In light of COVID-19’s disruption to theatre programs around the globe, Broadway World has created an online database to showcase college seniors whose showcases have been cancelled or postponed. Among those featured are Manhattan School of Music students Christa Steiner, David Gabriel Lerner, Paul J Hernandez, Whitney Bomkamp, and Mary Kate Petsky.
The database— which is available to casting directors, agents, and producers—can be viewed here.
Woodwind Department Chair Linda Chesis talks about teaching at Manhattan School of Music in a new interview by Wm. S. Haynes Flute Company. Professor Chesis is on the roster of official Haynes Artists, and performs with her custom Haynes flute (14K Custom, Silver Keys, Inline G, B Foot, D# Roller, C# Trill). You can watch the “Meet the Artist” interview here.
Ms. Chesis has been on the flute and chamber music faculties at MSM since 1986. In 1988 she was appointed Chair of the Woodwind Department, and in 2012 she was the recipient of the President’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching.
The sophomore Musical Theatre class performed a beautiful rendition of “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hanson that was produced for Broadway Inspirational Voices in their Broadway Our Way series.
The video, which is introduced by Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, can be viewed here.
MSM Precollege alumnus Charlie Puth performed a concert live on Instagram as part of Global Citizen and World Health Organization’s #TogetherAtHome series. You can watch the mini-concert on his Charlie’s Instagram profile.
“Together, At Home” was designed to promote unity amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s social distancing protocols. Previous performers include John Legend and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Learn more about the series and future performers here.
Tonight at 7:30 PM EST, Fleur Barron (MM ’08, Classical Voice) and Myra Huang (MM ’01, Collaborative Piano) will perform in 92nd Street Y’s final performance of the 2019/20 vocal series. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the concert will have no audience but be streamed live from the 92nd Street Y website.
The concert, which will feature a program of songs by Gustav Mahler, has been featured by Forbes, Vogue, and PBS.
A “charismatic star” (The Boston Globe) mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron is a student of Cynthia Hoffman. Grammy-nominated Myra Huang is a former student of Warren Jones.
Alumnus Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99, MM ’00) performs works by Chopin, Adès, Liszt, and Gershwin on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Watch the video here.
NPR’s Tom Huizenga writes,”Even if we had handed him a pint-sized instrument, I’m sure Gerstein could make it sing. Just listen to how Chopin’s lyrical melodies, built from rippling notes and flamboyant runs, flow like a song without words in Gerstein’s agile hands.”
A former student of MSM faculty member Solomon Mikowsky, Gerstein is among the elite pianists of the classical world. Learn more about the Russian-American pianist on his website.
Former Precollege Director and Alumni Advisory Council Member Director Dianne Flagello (BM ’52, MM ’52, HonDMA ’99) received the Distinguished Music Educator Award from JCC Thurnauer School of Music last month at their 30th Gift of Music Gala Benefit Concert. Read more about the event here.
During her time as a student at Manhattan School of Music, Dianne studied Percussion and Music Education. She returned to her alma mater in 1974 as director of MSM Precollege, known then as MSM’s Preparatory Division, until 1999. Dianne is currently an active member of the Alumni Advisory Council.
Alumnus and drummer Devin Gray (MM ’08) wrote an article entitled “Musicianship for Drummers: How To Practice Along With Recordings” that has been published in the March 2020 edition of DownBeat Magazine. You can read the article here on pages 102 and 103.
Devin Gray has been active in New York City for more than a dozen years. His two main projects as a leader have been Dirigo Rataplan (a quartet with saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, trumpeter Dave Ballou and bassist Michael Formanek) and RelativE ResonancE (a quartet with reedist Chris Speed, pianist Kris Davis and bassist Chris Tordini). Learn more about Devin by visiting his website.
Jazz faculty member Damien Sneed‘s new opera, Marian’s Song, will have its world premiere tonight at Houston Grand Opera. The HGO-commissioned piece was composed by Sneed to a libretto by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton.
The opera is based on the life of Marian Anderson, one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century, who broke racial barriers throughout her storied career.
Learn more (and buy tickets) here.
Alumnus Ankush Kumar Bahl (MM ’03) makes his New York Philharmonic conducting debut tomorrow morning during Fun at the Phil: Sleepover at the Museum, a special concert for families with children. Bahl will conduct the orchestra in a performance of Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals and Karen LeFrak’s Sleepover at the Museum while illustrations are projected on a giant screen. Purchase tickets to the event here.
Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl is recognized for his impressive technique, thoughtful interpretations, and engaging podium presence. Visit his website for a full biography.
Hornist Jeff Scott (BM ’90) will join Oberlin Conservatory’s Brass Faculty beginning July 1. Jeff founded the Grammy nominated wind quintet Imani Winds with fellow MSM alumni Toyin Spellman-Diaz (MM ’97 and PS ’98), Monica Ellis (’98), and Mariam Adam (’99).
“Jeff is extraordinary not only in the depth of his accomplishments—particularly as a performer and teacher—but also in the sheer breadth of his skills, and his unparalleled versatility as a musician,” says Dean of the Conservatory William Quillen.
Read Oberlin’s announcement of Jeff’s appointment here.
Freshman Musical Theatre student Galvin Yuan (BM ’23) has qualified for the 2020 USA Archery Collegiate Nationals Indoor Final. After ranking fourth in the Recurve Men category at a regional event last week, Galvin will travel to Louisville, Kentucky March 19-20 to compete in the Collegiate Final.
The 51st USA Archery Indoor Nationals were contested at thirteen locations over the past several weekends with nearly 5,000 participants. The Collegiate Indoor Final is an invitational event for the nation’s top scoring student-athletes. To view the full list of archers participating in the Final, click here.
Jonah Murphy (BM ’22), flute student of Michael Parloff, and Julie Nah Kyung Lee (BM ’18, MM ’20), student of Linda Chesis and Robert Langevin, recently took 1st and 2nd prize respectively in the New York Flute Club Competition on Saturday, February 29. Jonah and Julie will be featured in recital as part of the NY Flute Club concert series on April 19 at 5:30 pm.
For more information regarding the competition and the upcoming recital, click here.
Pianist, composer, and alumna Miho Hazama (MM ’12) is featured in The New York City Jazz Record’s February issue. The Artist Feature, written by Michael Cobb, is available to read online here.
A former student of Jim McNeely, Miho Hazama is considered to be one of the finest arrangers of her generation. She has been nominated for a Grammy award, released four full-length albums, and is known for her sophisticated big band and chamber jazz arrangements. You can listen to her latest release, Dancer in Nowhere, on her website.
Four MSM students and alumni were recently named recipients of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.
Angelo Di Loreto (MM ’13, Jazz Piano)
Eliana Fishbeyn (MM ’21, Jazz Composition)
Rin Seo (MM ’20, Jazz Composition)
Matthew Whitaker (Precollege alum)
The program was established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30. It carries the name of the great trumpeter and ASCAP member Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation’s multi-year financial commitment to the program. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 17 to 29 and are selected through a juried national competition. For more information, visit their website.
The Monterey Jazz Festival recently announced MSM alumnus Christian Sands (MM’15, Jazz Piano) as its Artist-in-Residence for the 63rd Monterey Jazz Festival in 2020.
30-years-old Sands is a Grammy award-nominated pianist, composer and educator having toured around the world as a bandleader and appearing as a sideman on records by Christian McBride and Gregory Porter, among others. Sands has performed several times at the Monterey Jazz Festival Acting as an ambassador for the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Monterey region throughout 2020.
To read more about Sands and his recent accolades, visit the full article.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2020-21 Eisenberg-Fried Competition! MSM students from Brass, Woodwinds, Piano, Strings, and Voice departments participated in the competition. Winners will be featured in an orchestra concert next school year.
Brass: Liana Hoffman, horn
Student of Michelle Baker
Strauss, Horn Concerto No. 2
Woodwind: Shogo Urahata, clarinet
Student of Charles Neidich
Francaix, Clarinet Concerto
Strings: Luxi Wang, violin
Student of Lucie Robert
Glazunov, Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82
Piano: Sophiko Simsive, piano
Student of Solomon Mikowsky
Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15
Voice: Rosario Hernandez Armas, mezzo soprano
Student of Joan Patenaude-Yarnell
de Falla, Siete Canciones Populares
Voice alumna Lori Brown Maribal (MM ’94) will perform her play with music, Charmed Life: From Soul Singing to Opera Star at Urban Stages Theatre March 12–29, 2020.
Directed by Vincent Scott, Charmed Life takes you on a musical journey from Mirabal’s hometown of Nashville, to opera stages across the world. She toasts entertainment luminaries, including Oprah, Cab Calloway, and Pavarotti, that had a hand in her rise and salutes the black opera singers that paved the way. With comedy, storytelling, and show-stopping musical numbers, Mirabal brings you inside the world of opera and her efforts to spread the art form to the next generation.
Tickets are available for purchase through the Urban Stages website.
The Elysian String Quartet—made up of Manhattan School of Music students Carlos Rafael Martínez Arroyo (BM ’22), Maïthéna Girault (BM ’20), Tal McGee (MM ’21), and cellist Sam Chung (BM ’21)—will perform on classical radio station WQXR’s Midday Masterpieces segment.
The performance will take place at The Greene Space in NYC on March 4, 2020. Tickets to this event are free, but reservations are recommended. Reserve your tickets here.
The Elysian String Quartet formed in 2019, and is coached by MSM faculty member Music David Geber. They most recently appeared at the Andre Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in January 2020.
Jana McIntrye (MM ’16) and Xiaomeng Zhang (MM ’15) were recently named finalists in the Met National Council Auditions, the final round to be held Sunday, March 1 at the Met Opera House. Some of today’s greatest singers got their start in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, including Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Eric Owens, Stephanie Blythe, Hei-Kyung Hong, Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Fabiano, Lisette Oropesa, Christian Van Horn, Jamie Barton, Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Nadine Sierra. The competition notoriously launches major operatic careers for its laureates.
Purchase tickets to the Grand Finals here.
This past February MSM alumnus Gerald Clayton (BM ’05) was appointed Artistic Director and conductor of the Monterey Jazz Festival “Next Generation Jazz Orchestra” Clayton first appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2000 and 2001 as a member of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Vocal Ensemble which won the High School Vocal Division at the Next Generation Jazz Festival. Clayton attended both USC Thornton and the Manhattan School of Music, and in 2006, he received the second place prize in the Thelonious Monk Institute Piano Competition.
For more information on Clayton and his appointment, click here.
The winners of the 49th annual George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers were announced at the conclusion of the competition’s final round on February 21st. MSM Alumna Jana McIntyre (MM’16) was a top prize winner awarded $10,000. Justin Austin (BM’14, MM’17) and Tesia Kwarteng (MM’13) were also awarded for their performances, each receiving $1,000.
The George London Foundation and George London Awards are named for the great American bass-baritone (1920-1985), who devoted much of his time and energy in his later years to the support and nurturing of young singers.
For more information regarding winner, visit the article.
Former precollege student Matthew Whitaker was inteviewed on CBS’s 60 Minutes during February 23rd’s feature segment. Matthew is a jazz pianist who is blind, and since the age of 11, has been performing around the world. Called a prodigy with extraordinary talent, he has caught the attention of scientists who are now studying his brain and trying to understand his vision of music.
For Matthew’s full story, visit CBS’s website for the segment and article.