Success Stories

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

  • Nov 23, 2021Woodwinds

    MSM student Blue Shelton (BM ’25) named principal flute of the NY Youth Symphony

    Blue Shelton (BM ’25) is from Philadelphia, where he’s been a member of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth, and the Philadelphia Orchestra Fellowship. Blue studies at MSM with Marya Martin.

    The NYYS is an independent, not-for-profit institution dedicated to enriching the lives of young people through the study and performance of music.

    Learn more about the NYYS here.

    Listen to Blue perform here.

  • Nov 14, 2021Contemporary Performance

    MSM CPP students and alumnus take part in music festival in Magdeburg, Germany

    The four MSM students performing at the Nov 14 concert at the  Multi-Phonics music festival in Magdeburg are all in their second year of study for their Master of Music in the MSM Contemporary Performance Program: Emmalie Tello (MM ’22), Steph Dressler (MM ’22), Nicole Brancato (MM ’22), and Teagan Faran (MM ’22). One of the three composers in the project is MSM alumnus William Bolles-Beaven (MM ’21), along with Lacy Kwon, and Yule Han.

    The students are also collaborating with the Liszt Academy in Weimar, Germany, and will bring the performance to New York City in spring 2022.

    See flyer for the concert here.

  • Nov 14, 2021Composition

    MSM alumnus Elaine Bearer (BM ’70) honorary professorship from the Nordic Academy, Strømstad Akademi

    Dr. Elaine Bearer (BM ’70) MA, MD, PhD, is a neuroscientist, pathologist, and composer who is a professor in the Department of Music at the University of New Mexico where one of her areas of specialty is music and the mind. She is also a Professor in the Department of Pathology where she uses imaging technologies, molecular genetics and computational modeling to study circuitry dynamics in health and disease states.

    The Strømstad Academy, based in Sweden, is a Nordic Institute for Advanced Studies that names as members professors from Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and other Universities worldwide, including four Nobel laureates.

    More about Dr. Bearer here.

  • Nov 13, 2021Vocal Arts

    MSM alumnus Marlon Daniel (BM ’93) featured in Opera Wire for his work with young singers in Cuba

    MSM alumnus Marlon Daniel (BM ’93) is interviewed in OperaWire magazine for his work with helping the careers of young singers and opera in Cuba with the creation of The Discovery Opera Project.

    “In Cuba there are no vocal young artist programs like in the U.S. or Europe. It’s the school or the opera and no in between,” Daniel told OperaWire.

    The Discovery Opera Project hopes to provide more opera education and experience to singers at various levels in their career. Daniel is also the founder of Festival International de Music Saint-Georges in Guadaloupe and the first conductor to lead a performance of the composer’s long-lost opera L’Amant Anonyme in over 230 years.

    Read the OperaWire article here.

  • Nov 12, 2021Strings

    MSM Strings faculty member Lucie Roberts featured in La Scena magazine

    Acclaimed violinist and MSM faculty member Lucie Roberts speaks about the benefits of teaching online in the feature article in the current issue of Canada’s respected La Scena magazine. Lucie has been a faculty member of MSM College and Precollege for more than 30 years.

    Read the article here.
    Learn more about Lucie here.

  • Nov 11, 2021Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member John Riley receives Lifetime Achievement in Education Award

    MSM Jazz Arts drum set faculty member John Riley received the Lifetime Achievement in Education Award at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention on November 11.

    Critically acclaimed performer, author, and teacher, John Riley has worked with the world’s leading jazz musicians for over 30 years. A multiple Grammy award winner, John has played on hundreds of recordings and at major venues with jazz icons such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Lovano, and many others.

    Learn more about John Riley here.


  • Nov 9, 2021Woodwinds

    MSM alumnus Brandon Patrick George (MM ’10) featured on WQXR

    Flutist and MSM alumnus Brandon Patrick George (MM ’10) along with pianist David Fung were featured in the WQXR Artist Propulsion Lab concert series on November 9. The musicians presented an evening amplifying neglected compositions of the past and highlighting new ones, in The Greene Space.

    Watch the livestream here.

  • Nov 8, 2021Vocal Arts

    MSM faculty member Harolyn Blackwell and MSM Trustee Thomas Hampson (HonDMA ’09) honored at annual Met Opera Guild Luncheon

    MSM faculty member Harolyn Blackwell, photo left, and MSM Trustee Thomas Hampson (HonDMA ’09), photo right, were honorees at the 87th Annual Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon on November 8. Also honored was soprano Diana Soviero.

    For more information visit this page.

  • Nov 5, 2021Strings

    MSM student Risa Hokamura (BM ’23) awarded valuable instrument loan from the Nippon Music Foundation

    MSM violin student Risa Hokamura (BM ’23) who is studying at MSM with Lucie Robert has been selected by the prestigious Nippon Music Foundation to be the recipient of a 5-year loan of one of their valuable instruments.

    Nippon Music Foundation was established in 1974 with the objective to “enhance music culture” in Japan. In 1994, the Foundation started the “Instrument Loan Project” loaning the top quality stringed instruments acquired by the organization. It now owns 21 stringed instruments: 15 Stradivarius violins, 1 viola, 3 cellos and 2 Guarneri del Gesu violins, and maintains them for future generations, loaning them free of charge to internationally active musicians of all nationalities.

    Learn more here.

  • Nov 2, 2021Vocal Arts

    Recent MSM alumnus Laureano Quant (MM ’20) selected as a Resident Artist at Lyric Opera of Chicago

    Baritone Laureano Quant (MM ’20) is one of 12 artists accepted into residency for 2022-2023 at the prestigious Lyric Opera of Chicago.

    Last spring more than 600 singers applied for consideration with video recordings and, after review, more than 30 were invited to Chicago for live auditions, with the final 12 having been selected in October.

    The 2022-23 Ensemble members will begin their tenure in Spring 2022 and will receive advanced instruction in numerous aspects of operatic performance.

    Learn more here.

  • Nov 1, 2021Strings

    MSM alumnus violist Jesús Rodolfo (PS ’15) named New Artist of the Month by Musical America

    Musical America, the nation’s oldest publication of classical music news and features, has named violist Jesús Rodolfo (PS ’15) as New Artist of the Month for November 2021. About his new album Remembering Russia, Thomas May of Musical America writes:

    “His accounts of Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Stravinsky offer fresh perspectives on well-known pieces. It’s not just a matter of a different sonic lens… but, even more, the sense of urgent confession Rodolfo distills through his passionate, emotionally invested musicianship.”

    Read the Musical America feature here.

    Learn more about Remembering Russia here.


  • Oct 29, 2021Vocal Arts

    Mezzo-soprano and MSM alumna Erin Wagner (BM ’19) one of 10 finalists of the 2021 Young Concert Artists Auditions

    Mezzo-soprano and MSM alumna Erin Wagner (BM ’19), who earlier this year won the Naumburg Foundation International Vocal Competition, has been named one of 10 finalists in the 2021 Young Concert Artists Auditions. She will perform along with her fellow finalists in the final round live on Sunday, October 31, at 10 AM ET.

    These final auditions can be watched live from the Young Concert Artists Auditions YouTube channel and Facebook page. It will also be streamed live on The Violin Channel.

    The 2021 winners will join the Young Concert Artists roster — granting access to a minimum of three years of management services, career engagements, publicity, and career guidance, plus coveted recital debuts in New York City and in Washington, DC, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

    Information about watching the streaming here.

  • Oct 25, 2021Jazz

    MSM faculty member Miguel Zenón nominated for a Latin GRAMMY Award

    Congratulations to MSM Jazz Arts faculty member and saxophonist Miguel Zenón, originally from Puerto Rico, who is nominated for the jazz recording El Arte del Bolero (Miel Music), a duet he recorded with Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo.

    The 22nd Latin GRAMMY Awards will take place on NOV 18 at the MSM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, airing live on Univision at 8 PM ET.

    A review of the album can be found here.

    More about the Latin GRAMMY Awards here.

  • Oct 21, 2021Musical Theatre

    Play by MSM Musical Theatre alum Jarrett Winters Morley (BM ’20) featured at New York Theatre Festival in November

    Godless is a one-act play that delves into the origins of the human psyche between Adam and Eve, discusses the controversy surrounding humankind’s perception of a higher power, and how each of us defines faith.

    Performances of Godless take place at the New York Theatre Festival on Nov 8 and 10 at 9 PM and Nov 13 at 6:45 PM.

    Jarrett is a singer, actor, composer/lyricist, and playwright who graduated from Manhattan School of Music in 2020 with a Bachelor of Music, and from Berklee College of Music with a Master of Arts.

    For more information and tickets visit this page.

  • Oct 20, 2021Musical Theatre

    MSM alumni featured in Caroline, or Change opening on Broadway on October 27

    MSM voice alumna N’Kenge Pacurar (BM ’96) appears as The Moon in the Roundabout Theatre Company production, while Joseph Joubert (BM ’79, MM ’81), a member of the Artistic Advisory Committee for the MSM Musical Theatre program, is music director and orchestrator of the production.

    Both are pictured here outside Studio 54 theatre with MSM President James Gandre who attended a preview performance.

    Learn more about the production and buy tickets here.

  • Oct 18, 2021Strings

    Cellist and MSM alumna Esther Seitz (MM ’20) begins two-year appointment with the Minnesota Orchestra as a Rosemary and David Good Fellow

    The fellowship, founded in 2017, is designed to encourage greater diversity in the orchestral field by supporting the career development of outstanding young musicians of African American, Latin American, and Native American descent as they embark on professional orchestral careers.

    Esther has performed all over the United States and in Mexico as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician performing at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Riverwalk Center as a fellow with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts with the Kansas City Symphony, and the Teatro de la Reforma in Matamoros, Mexico. Esther is also a founding member of The Bowery Trio based in New York City.

    Read more about Esther here.

  • Oct 15, 2021Piano

    MSM student Eda Seviniş (BM ’23) a winner at the prestigious Int’l Robert Schumann Competition in Germany

    Pianist Eda Seviniş (BM ’23), who is from Turkey and studies with Marc Silverman at MSM, shared first prize in Category C of this year’s International Robert Schumann Competition, one of the most renowned music competitions in the world.

    The final competition took place on October 2 at the Robert-Schumann-Saal in Düsseldorf.

    Learn more about the competition here.

  • Oct 13, 2021Jazz

    Jazz Vocalist and MSM alum Julia Keefe (MM ’19) named a 2021 Native Launchpad Awardee

    As part of this Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) initiative, Julia and three other artists will each receive over the next three years direct financial and travel support, mentoring and coaching, professional development opportunities, and promotional benefits valued at $40,000.

    AIP was established in 2018 by the Western Arts Alliance with generous lead support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Awardees are selected by a panel of Indigenous performing arts professionals from across the country.

    Learn more here.

  • Oct 12, 2021Musical Theatre

    Making Broadway Dance: A new book by Liza Gennaro, MSM Associate Dean and Director of Musical Theatre

    Aimed at students, academics, and anyone who loves musical theatre and dance, the new publication Making Broadway Dance (Oxford University Press) by MSM Associate Dean and Director of Musical Theatre Liza Gennaro gives valuable insights into how Broadway dance is made.

    Publication date: November 12, 2021

    Learn more about the book and preorder here:

  • Oct 10, 2021Jazz

    Six MSM Alum awarded Jazz Road grants of up to $40,000 each

    Jazz Road, South Arts‘ national initiative supporting jazz artists, has announced its largest investment in the field to date: Jazz Road Creative Residencies. Fifty-two artists are receiving grants of up to $40,000 each, allowing them the opportunity to further explore their art form. Among the grant recipients are six MSM alumni:  pianist John Escreet (MM ’08), saxophonist and composer Felipe Salles (DMA ’05), trumpeter Adam O’Farrill (BM ’16), pianist Fabian Almazan (BM ’06, MM ’09), pianist and composer Jason Moran (BM ’97), and vocalist Julia Keefe (MM ’19).

    Projects supported through Jazz Road Creative Residencies range from the creation of new works to community-driven collaborative events.

    Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, South Arts is a nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists, organizations, and communities, and increasing access to arts and culture.

    Learn more about the grants here.
    Learn more about South Arts here.



  • Oct 9, 2021Vocal Arts

    Meghan Picerno (MM ’10, PS ’11) reprises her role as Christine Daaé in the re-opening of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway

    Meghan Picerno made her Broadway debut as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera in October 2019 after performing the role in a seven-month tour. She returned to the Broadway production as Christine when it reopened on Oct 22.

    Meghan began her career as an opera performer. In 2015, she became a quarterfinalist in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia International Vocal Competition. Her first crossover into musical theatre was New York City Opera’s Candide, directed by Hal Prince.

    The cast of The Phantom of the Opera appeared on Good Morning America on October 8. Watch a medley by Meghan and other leads of the show here.

    Read an article here in about Meghan from late 2019.

  • Oct 8, 2021Guitar

    MSM alums Isabel Leonard (PC ’98) and guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas (PD ’04, PS ’06, AD ’07) featured on PBS’s Great Performances at the Met

    Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard (PC ’98) and guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas (PD ’04, PS ’06, AD ’07) were featured on PBS’s Great Performances at the Met on October 8 in an encore broadcast of “Three Divas in Concert” along with sopranos Nadine Sierra and Ailyn Pérez. The concert was filmed this past May at the Royal Opera of Versailles.

    The trio of singers performed a program of classic arias and popular Spanish songs, accompanied by pianist Vlad Iftinca and Pablo Sáinz Villegas who was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award by MSM in 2015.

    Learn more here.

  • Oct 7, 2021Piano

    MSM piano faculty member Joanne Polk featured in NYTimes article on 19th century composer Louise Farrenc

    Writes The New York Times:

    “Joanne Polk, a professor at the Manhattan School of Music, last year released an excellent recording of the ‘Air Russe’ and half of Farrenc’s set of 30 Études, which — like Chopin’s from the same decade — escape their pedagogical constraints.”

    Read the article here.

  • Oct 6, 2021Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre faculty member Or Matias wins Best Score and Best Book at the 2021 German Musical Theater Awards

    The musical The Wave by the Landestheater Linz won 2021 German Musical Theater Awards in several categories including Best Musical, Best Composition (or Score) and Best Book (Or Matias), Best Director (Christoph Drewitz), and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Lukas Sandmann).

    Or Matias is an Obie award-winning composer, lyricist, music director, and content developer who teaches MT Lab and Senior Showcase II at MSM.

    The Wave is based on the true story of Ron Jones, an American high school teacher who conducted a social experiment on his students to demonstrate the mass appeal of fascism.

    The German Musical Theater Awards are the only musical award presented to musical professionals by their peers in German-speaking Europe. They are presented by the German Musical Academy and are considered to be the  “Tony Awards” of Germany.

    Read news release (in German) here.
    View video clip here.


  • Oct 5, 2021Percussion

    MSM grad Madison Shake (MM ’20) named Principal Percussionist of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

    Congratulations to Madison Shake!

    Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Madison Shake started playing percussion at nine years old. She studied for eight years with Paul Berns of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra beginning in fifth grade. She received her master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music studying with Christopher Lamb, Duncan Patton, Kyle Zerna, and She-e Wu. Madison has a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and was an Associate Member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for its 2017-2018 season.

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra 2021-2022 season program is found here.


  • Sep 28, 2021Jazz

    MSM Jazz Faculty Damien Sneed featured at the March on Washington Film Festival (Sept 30 to Oct 4)

    MSM Jazz Faculty Damien Sneed (second on left in photo) is featured this Saturday, Oct 2, at the March on Washington Film Festival (Sept 30 to Oct 4) in a special performance at the event, “The Importance of Pauli Murray.”

    Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray was a 20th-century pioneer in many senses of the word: human rights activist, social justice strategist, legal scholar, poet, first African American woman Episcopalian priest, a founder of the National Organization for Women, and transmasculine member of the LGBTQ community.

    The special original performance features actor Regina Victor, composer/pianist Damien Sneed with Amyr Joyner, violin, and Johnny Walker, cello.

    More information here.

  • Sep 16, 2021Composition

    MSM Alum Eun-Kyung Kim (MM ’90, DM ’97) named 2021 Woman of Distinction in Queens, NY

    MSM Alum Eun-Kyung Kim (MM ’90, DM ’97) received the honor by State Senator John Liu (in photo on right). Eun-Kyung Kim’s work over the past two decades has focused on advocacy, management and fundraising for her community and most recently, helping families during COVID-19. She is the Executive Director of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) in Queens.

    During the pandemic, the YWCA of Queens opened a food pantry that provided fresh produce for more than 22,000 of the borough’s families and offered virtual classes for the community.

    Read more about Eun-Kyung Kim here.

  • Aug 31, 2021Education

    MSM President Jim Gandre is interviewed by Arts Engine

    MSM President Jim Gandre appeared recently on the online program Arts Engines hosted by Aaron Dworkin.

    In the interview, Dr. Gandre offers his opinions about leadership principals and challenges in today arts world.

    Watch the interview here.

  • Aug 23, 2021Vocal Arts

    MSM Voice Department faculty member Ruth Golden featured in September’s Opera News magazine

    MSM Voice faculty member Ruth Golden speaks to the magazine Opera News in a feature article about lessons learned by US music conservatories during the past year of online instruction.

    Magazine subscribers may read the article in the September issue here.

  • Aug 20, 2021Opera

    MSM Board of Trustee Terence Blanchard is featured in Opera News

    MSM Board of Trustee and award-winning jazz musician and composer Terence Blanchard speaks to Opera News about his opera Fire In My Bones which will be opening the 2021-2022 season at the Metropolitan Opera of New York beginning on September 27.

    It is an historic event for the MET Opera, as the first time it has performed an opera by a Black composer.

    Read the Opera News interview here.

    Buy tickets for the opera here.