Success Stories

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

  • Aug 14, 2019Voice

    14 Alumni featured in Opera News September Issue

    The MSM community was well represented in the latest edition of Opera News. Alumni featured in the issue include:

    Tenor Nicholas Phan (’02)
    Alondra de la Parra (BM ’06, MM ’08)
    J’Nai Bridges (BM ’08)
    Yunpeng Wang (MM ’13)
    Tobias Picker (BM ’77)
    Terence Blanchard (MSM Trustee)
    Devon Guthrie (BM ’08)
    Philippe L’Esperance (MM ’17)
    Christopher Allen (BM ’08 , conducting)
    William Guanbo Su (BM ’17)
    Jessica Fishenfeld (MM ’15)
    Brandon Jovanovich (’98)
    Amanda Crider MM ’01)
    Lisa Chavez (MM ’04)

  • Aug 13, 2019Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre students perform in sold-out Edinburgh Festival

    Four MSM Musical Theatre students recently performed in Edinburgh International Festival’s concert production of West Side Story.

    David Gabriel Lerner (BM ’20) shares: “I am trying to find the right words that best fit the experience. Performing in The Usher Hall, in a featured role, to sold out audiences was surreal. My MSM peers — Sofia Faus (BM ’20)Jared Johnson (BM ’21)Paul Hernandez (BM ’20) — and I were provided with comfortable housing, transportation, an honorarium, and an unforgettable experience that I will hold dear to my heart. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

  • Aug 12, 2019Voice

    Darnell Abraham (MM ’13) to play George Washington in Hamilton

    The Manhattan School of Music alumnus will officially succeed Isiah Johnson in the famous role. Darnell has been a member of the Hamilton Company in San Francisco since it opened earlier this year in Puerto Rico. He will begin performances in San Francisco beginning tomorrow, August 13.

    His previous credits include The Color Purple revival and Ragtime. Read Darnell’s full bio by visiting his website here.

  • Aug 8, 2019Collaborative Piano

    Gordon Schermer plays master class for Renée Fleming

    Alumnus Gordon Schermer (MM ’10, Accompanying) joined the music staff of Santa Fe Opera earlier this summer, where he accompanied the famous soprano’s master class. His next projects at Santa Fe include Puccini’s La bohème and the world premiere of The Thirteenth Child (libretto by faculty member David Starobin).

    Purchase tickets to these productions here.

  • Aug 8, 2019Voice

    Alumnus wins Song Prize at Cardiff Singer Competition

    Tenor Mingjie Lei (MM ’13) won the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World’s final round of competition with a performance of works by Fauré, Rachmaninov, Liszt, and Lin. Lei adds this latest win to a list of others, including the Neue Stimmen International Competition and ARD International Music Competition.

    Learn more about Mingjie Lei and view his upcoming performances on his website.

  • Aug 7, 2019Piano

    Piano student makes Steinway Hall debut

    Jason Flowers (BM ’19, MM ’21), student of professor Phillip Kawin, will perform at the famous hall as part of the Classical Bridge Festival’s Young Artists Concert on Saturday, August 10th at 1:00pm.

    Jason will play a work by Samuel Barber and shares, “I am excited about performing at such an esteemed concert hall in the heart of midtown!”

    Click here for tickets and more information.

  • Aug 6, 2019Musical Theatre

    Current Musical Theatre student to play title role in Anne Frank

    Kristyn Vario (BM ’20) will play the lead role in the Off-Broadway premiere of Anne Frank, a musical September 11-24th at the Center for Jewish History. The musical, adapted from French to English by Dylan Hadida, will be directed and produced by David Serero. Read the full press release on

    Kristyn performed the role of Martha in Manhattan School of Music’s production of Spring Awakening last season (pictured), and lists Erzulie in Once on This Island and Ms Potts in Beauty and the Beast as other previous credits.

    Purchase tickets to Anne Frank, a musical here.

  • Aug 6, 2019Orchestra

    Marina Aikawa wins NSO opportunity

    Violinist Marina Aikawa (MM ’19, Violin), former student of Glenn Dicterow, won a section violin audition for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. She will begin trials with the orchestra beginning next month.

  • Aug 1, 2019Piano

    Graduate piano student’s inspiring story featured on NBC News

    Incoming graduate student Elham Fanous (MM ’21, Classical Piano) grew up in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, living in a world where playing or listening to music was a crime until U.S. forces put an end to it in 2001. In the video, Elham credits the American troops who gave music back to the Afghan people and allowed him to pursue his dream.

    Elham will begin his studies at Manhattan School of Music with Phillip Kawin in the upcoming academic year.

  • Jul 29, 2019Voice

    Jeanine De Bique to make Mostly Mozart debut

    On Sunday, August 4 at 5:00 pm, alumna Jeanine De Bique (BM ’06, MM ’08, PS ’09) will perform a collection of Handel arias alongside the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO). The annual summer festival takes place at Lincoln Center each year and showcases talented dancers, musicians, and performers. You can purchase tickets to the event here.

    Recently described as a “revelation” and “breathtaking from start to finish” (NRC, Netherlands), Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique is recognized as an artist of “dramatic presence and versatility” (Washington Post, USA) and possessing “genuine star quality” (New York Amsterdam News). View Jeanine’s upcoming season by visiting her website.

  • Jul 25, 2019Voice

    Jorge Parodi announces 2019-2020 season

    On July 26, Music Director of Senior Opera Theater and Vocal Coach Jorge Parodi will conduct the second installment of the famed Beaumarchais trilogy, ¡Figaro! (90210), during Chautauqua Opera‘s 90th anniversary season. Next month, he’ll conduct the world premiere of Michael Ching’s The Birthday Clown at Savannah Opera (August 21), before conducting The Pearl Fishers at Opera Williamsburg (September 4–8) , Frida at The Atlanta Opera (October 5–13), and Carmen at Opera Tampa (February 7–9) later this season.

    Visit Jorge Parodi’s website for more information.

  • Jul 25, 2019Conducting

    Alumnus published in DePauw’s 21CM Magazine

    In the article, George Mathew (PD ’03, Conducting) discusses how tragedy and near-death experiences have changed his mission for music as a conductor.

    “Music has the power to build community, to create social impact, to generate powerful messaging and, most of all, to crowdsource new imagination. Our concerts – indeed, all of our work – creates new communities. The power of music to draw people together in this still-young century is among the most potent social forces of our time – a power we must not squander.” Read the full article here.

    Mathew is the founder and Artistic Director of Music For Life International and the UBUNTU-SHRUTI Orchetra, and has performed internationally as a conductor and ambassador for transformative action through music. Learn more about him here.

  • Jul 24, 2019Brass

    Alumnus joins Virginia Symphony Orchestra

    Stephen Slater (BM ’01, French Horn) accepted the position of Second Horn with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-20 season after playing Fourth Horn last year. Previous positions include Assistant/Utility horn of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Guest Principal horn of the Israel Chamber Orchestra of Tel Aviv, and Substitute horn of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Learn more about Stephen Slater by visiting his website.

  • Jul 23, 2019Jazz

    Legendary bassist Ron Carter talks teaching at MSM in new interview

    Jazz Arts faculty member and alumnus Ron Carter (MM ’61, HonDMA ’98) shares his thoughts on what he wants his students to learn from him, playing with Miles Davis, and the evolution of jazz in an interview with WhatsUpNewp, an independent publication in Newport, RI.

    “One of the things I hope [MSM] students get from me as a person – I’m concerned with humanity; I’m concerned with the next guy getting a fair shot at whatever the apple is; I’m concerned about the status of our country today and I hope that they pick that up in our lessons that I do not just cover bass, but our living in general.”

    Read the full article here.

  • Jul 23, 2019Voice

    St. George Opera Appoints Two MSM Alumni

    The Utah-based opera company announced the appointment of Dr. David Sauer (MM ’11, Voice) as General Director and Rebecca Pacheco (MM ’10, Accompanying) as Music Director and Co-General Director. The two alumni were frequent collaborators during their time at Manhattan School of Music, and went on to have prolific careers performing around the world.

    Visit to learn more about their 2019/20 season.


  • Jul 22, 2019Guitar

    Guitar faculty member and first-time librettist to premiere new opera work

    Renowned guitarist David Starobin and his wife Becky wrote the libretto for composer Poul Ruders’ new opera, The Thirteenth Child. The opera, based on a lesser-known Brothers Grimm fairytale, will premiere at Santa Fe Opera July 27 and run though August 21.

    The New York Times sat down with Ruders and the Starobins to discuss how their “lighter, lyrical” opera came to be—read the article here.

    In addition to being a teacher at MSM and Grammy-nominated guitarist, David Starobin is also a classical recordings producer and co-founded the recording firm Bridge Records with his wife Becky.

  • Jul 18, 2019Jazz

    MSM jazz faculty and alumna featured in Vanity Fair

    Jazz faculty member Regina Carter and alumna Linda May Han Oh (MM ’08, Jazz Double Bass) are featured in Vanity Fair‘s ‘Sisters of Swing’ article alongside fourteen other women “reshaping” the jazz world today.

    Regina, a recipient of both the MacArthur and Doris Duke awards, has been widely hailed for her mastery of her instrument and her drive to expand its possibilities. See her website for more information.

    Linda studied with Jay Anderson, John Riley, Phil Markowitz, Dave Liebman, and Rodney Jones during her studies at MSM, and is currently performing all over the globe. See her website for more information.

    Photos of Regina Carter (left) and Linda May Han Oh (right) by Philip Montgomery for Vanity Fair.

  • Jul 18, 2019Strings

    Alumni to perform at 2019 Gateways Music Festival

    Twelve former students of Manhattan School of Music, including newly-appointed violin faculty member Kelly Hall-Tompkins, are set to perform during the Gateways Music Festival taking place August 6–11, 2019 in Rochester, NY.

    Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95, Faculty)
    Tia Allen (PD ’12, Orchestral Viola)
    Aundrey Mitchell (Viola)
    Blake-Anthony Johnson (’16, Cello)
    Derek Menchan (MM ’93, Cello)
    Evan Cannon (BM ’14, Double Bass)
    Alexander Laing (MM ’98, Clarinet)
    Monica Ellis (’98, Bassoon)
    Eric Davis (MM ’96, French Horn)
    Kyra Sims (MM ’12, French Horn)
    Eric Goldberg (BM ’17, Percussion)
    Adán Vásquez (MM ’99, Harp)

    View the full schedule of events here.

  • Jul 17, 2019Voice

    Artistic Director of MSM Opera Theater directs The Magic Flute with Opera Maine

    Dona D. Vaughn has served as Artistic Director since 2003 and Stage Director since 1995 with Opera Maine (formerly PORTopera). This summer, the opera company will present two performances on July 24 & 26 of Mozart’s operatic fairytale at Merrill Auditorium at Portland City Hall. Three MSM alumni—Heday Inoue, Yeonji Lee and Robert Mellon—sing major roles in the production.

    Tickets are available online and by phone at 207-842-0800.

  • Jul 15, 2019Voice

    Voice alumna to star in A Period Piece

    Alumna Susan Derry (MM ’94, Voice) will be featured in the world premiere production of Megan Bussiere’s A Period Piece, presented by The Shrill Collective. The play, which runs July 27–28 and August 2–4, is a celebration of female empowerment, motherhood, sisterhood, and the women who lift us up.

    Proceeds from the production will benefit The Lower Eastside Girls Club. Click here for tickets and more information.

  • Jul 14, 2019Precollege

    Three Precollege alumni to participate in Cooper Competition

    Former Precollege students Abigail Nishiwaki (left), Alexandra Woroniecka (center), and Sarah Ma (right) are finalists in the 10th annual Cooper International Competition taking place later this month at Oberlin Conservatory. The annual event brings together young violinists from eight countries and seven states to compete for $40k in cash prizes.

    All rounds of the competition will be streamed here beginning Saturday, July 20. Read the press release for more information.

  • Jul 11, 2019Jazz

    Precollege faculty named Spotlight Artist

    Jazz Arts alumnus Jon Snell (MM ’17, Jazz Piano) is featured in the July edition of Stay Thirsty Magazine as a “Spotlight Artist”. As a currently member of the Precollege faculty, Snell teaches courses in jazz theory and ear training, as well as coaches a student quintet.

    Learn more about Jon and hear one of his compositions here.

  • Jul 10, 2019Voice

    J’Nai Bridges selected as “Emerging Stars” nominee

    San Francisco Opera announced earlier this week that J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09, Classical Voice) has been selected as a nominee in their 2019 Emerging Stars Competition. Last month, the mezzo-soprano performed the title role in San Francisco Opera’s Carmen, and will make her Met Opera debut this November as Queen Nefertiti in Akhenaten.

    You can vote for J’Nai here now through July 31!

    Photo: Cory Weaver / San Francisco Opera, 2019

  • Jul 9, 2019Piano

    Piano alumna releases third album

    As the pianist half of the Cheng² Duo, Silvie Cheng (BM ’13, MM ’15) released her third album on the German classical label audite earlier this summer. The new album, Russian Legends, is part of a trilogy of European recordings each focusing on music from France, Spain, and Russia.

    Based in NYC, Silvie presents recitals regularly at the National Arts Club and made her solo debut with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra last season. Highlights of the 2019/20 season include a tour throughout Chile, her Beethoven Triple Concerto debut with Symphony Nova Scotia, and recitals in Los Angeles, Hamburg, Vancouver, and Montreal.

    Visit her website to learn more.

  • Jul 8, 2019Woodwinds

    Carol Wincenc celebrates 50 years performing in NYC

    A recipient of Manhattan School of Music’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Carol Wincenc (BM ’71, Classical Flute) will celebrate the anniversary of her New York debut in the 2019-2020 season with a series of recitals around the city. The centerpiece of the series will be five new compositions she has commissioned by MSM President Emeritus Robert Sirota, Jake Heggie, Pierre Jalbert, Larry Alan Smith, and Sato Matsui.

    Visit her website to learn more.

  • Jul 3, 2019Voice

    Voice alumna and faculty featured in Opera News

    The August 2019 cover features soprano Kathleen Kim (BM ’98, MM ’00) and voice faculty member Ashley Putnam.

    “Everyone has their own path,” says Kathleen, when asked about advice for aspiring young singers. “Everyone doesn’t need to be a successful singer—some people can be in the chorus, some people can be in a different business. But my general advice is go out there. Go out and get new experience, as much as you can, whatever it is. There are certain things that you can do only at certain ages. When you’re young you can try everything.”

    The magazine will be available in print on July 4, and online at later this month.

  • Jul 1, 2019Musical Theatre

    Liza Gennaro featured in SDC Journal

    The Associate Dean and Chair of MSM’s Musical Theatre program is included in the Summer 2019 edition of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) Journal. The quarterly publication is distributed nationwide and aims to give voice to an empowered collective of Directors and Choreographers.

    You can subscribe and purchase single-edition copies here.

  • Jun 29, 2019Woodwinds

    Alumnus profiled by New York Times

    In the article, entrepreneur Douglas Quint (BM ’92, Classical Bassoon) shares his typical Sunday schedule as the owner of Big Gay Ice Cream.

    What started out as a food truck in Union Square ten years ago, Big Gay Ice Cream now has three storefronts in New York, one in Philadelphia, and more opening on the West Coast this summer.

    Read the full feature here.

  • Jun 25, 2019Harp

    Harp student featured in The POWER Thread

    Dominique Moreno (BM ’20) is a harpist from Houston, TX working on her bachelor’s degree here at Manhattan School of Music. From a young age, Dominique has studied piano, violin, and harp. The POWER Thread—an online publication focused on storytelling, style, and female empowerment—sat down with Dominique to discuss her creativity and musical passions. Read the full interview here.

  • Jun 20, 2019Jazz

    Terence Blanchard named first Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies at UCLA

    In a press release, University of California at Los Angeles announced that MSM Artistic Advisory Board member Terence Blanchard (HonDMA ’17) has been named the first Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. “Terence’s accomplishments are impressive and astounding for their range,” said school of music Dean Judith Smith, who initiated the creation of the chair in 2016. “His commitment to educating the next generation of jazz artists and his devotion to illuminating social justice issues through his music embody our UCLA values and align with the mission of our global jazz studies program.”