Success Stories

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

  • Apr 19, 2019Jazz

    Jahari Stampley wins at 2019 American Jazz Pianist Competition

    The jazz arts student, currently in his second year of undergraduate studies at MSM, earned the Bösendorfer Prize and received $6,000 in rewards. Jim McNeely, a member of MSM’s jazz faculty, served on the judges panel during this year’s prestigious competition. Read the full press release here.

    Jahari made his Carnegie Hall debut earlier this week performing alongside Grammy winner Terence Blanchard during Manhattan School of Music’s Centennial Concert.

  • Apr 18, 2019Precollege

    Precollege alumnus wins national music award

    Nico Wohl, a jazz guitarist and graduate of Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege program, has been named a 2019 YoungArts finalist. The National YoungArts Foundation selects just six jazz musicians from a pool of over 500 talented applicants.

    Read more of Nico’s story in this article from the Berkshire Edge.

  • Apr 16, 2019Orchestra

    Zachary Merkovsky wins position with York Symphony Orchestra

    The current classical bass student of Orin O’Brien is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Performance. Zachary is on track to graduate May 2019 before beginning his career with the York Symphony Orchestra.

    View YSO’s performance schedule here.

  • Apr 15, 2019

    MSM Counselors earn national recognition

    Two members of Manhattan School of Music’s counseling team, Dr. Shara Sand and Dr. Michael Alcée, have been recognized for their valuable work by the American Psychological Association (APA).

    Alumna and Chief Psychologist Dr. Sand (BM ’83) has been named the recipient of the APA Diversity Award. Her interests in psychology, music, gender, and sexuality are an integral part of her work.

    Counselor Dr. Alcée is the winner of the APA’s Schillinger Memorial Essay Contest. His essay, entitled “Reading the Changes: Freud’s Improvisational Art”, references jazz music and was inspired by his work with MSM jazz arts students.

  • Apr 12, 2019Composition

    Edward Green published in Music Scholarship journal

    The jazz composition and music history faculty member’s essay, “Rhythm Contradicts Contempt: A Study of The Rite of Spring”, was published earlier this month in the Russian journal Music Scholarship, or Problemy Muzykal’noj Nauki in Russian. The essay appears in English with a Russian summary.

    You can read Edward Green’s essay here on his website.

  • Apr 11, 2019Piano

    Olga Kern named Director of Chamber Music for VAF

    Piano faculty member Olga Kern is the newly appointed director of chamber music for the Virginia Arts Festival. She will make her debut performance as director April 16th at the the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk. The VAF’s previous director of chamber music, pianist Andre-Michel Schub, is also a member of MSM’s faculty. Read more about Olga’s new positionhere.

  • Apr 10, 2019Musical Theatre

    Liza Gennaro to participate in Musical Theatre Scholarship panel

    The Associate Dean and Chair of Musical Theatre at Manhattan School of Music will discuss the importance of musical theatre scholarship with fellow panelists Jessica Sternfeld, Elizabeth Wollman, Raymond Knapp, Stacy Wolf, David Savran, Dominic Symonds, and Joanna Das.

    The panel will take place Friday, April 12 at 3 PM at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The event is free, and reservations can be made online in advance.

  • Apr 4, 2019Precollege

    Precollege alumnus wins ASCAP Foundation jazz composition award

    Matthew Whitaker, a graduate of MSM’s Precollege division, has been selected as one of the winners of the 2019 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards for his original composition, Emotions. Whitaker is currently touring throughout the US and Europe, and recently performed during WBGO‘s 40th Anniversary Concert.

    View his upcoming tour dates here.

  • Apr 4, 2019Voice

    Voice alumna Kristin Norderval receives Opera grant

    In a press release, Opera America named their 2019 Discovery Grant recipients from the Opera Grants for Female Composers program. Kristin Norderval (DMA ‘93) was one of seven women chosen to receive the $15,000 award to advance her work, The Sailmaker’s Wife.

    Norderval is a composer and singer who specializes in developing new works for voice, cross-disciplinary works and works using interactive technology. Her opera The Trials of Patricia Isasa was premiered at the Monument-National theater in Montreal in 2016 and won Quebec’s Opus Prize in two categories: best production in Montreal and best contemporary music. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross listed her solo CD, Aural Histories, on his “Ten Notable Classical Music Recordings of 2012

  • Apr 4, 2019Precollege

    Precollege trumpet student Accepted to 2019 NYO Jazz

    Jack Towse, jazz trumpet student of Nadje Noordhuis, and classical trumpet student of Jonathan Heim, has been accepted as one of the youngest members of the 2019 NYO Jazz.

    NYO Jazz gives outstanding young jazz musicians from across the country the opportunity to perform as cultural ambassadors on an international stage, sharing a uniquely American musical genre with cultures around the world through an international tour. NYO Jazz 2019 will be led by trumpeter Sean Jones for performances in Asia this summer.

  • Apr 4, 2019Piano

    Alumnus Kirill Gerstein receives New York Times review

    Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99, MM ‘00) performed in Carnegie Hall last week with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the New York premiere of conductor Thomas Adès‘ new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. The work was written specifically for Mr. Gerstein, “who exhilaratingly dispatched this joyous and audacious piece’s formidable solo part.” Gerstein is a former student of MSM faculty member Solomon Mikowsky.

    Read the NYTimes full review on the performance here.

  • Apr 1, 2019Jazz

    Jazz pianist Billy Test (MM ’15) nominated in the jazz category for a 2019 American Pianist Award

    The winner of the American Pianists Awards receives the Cole Porter Jazz Fellowship, cash and two-years of career advancement and support valued at over $100,000, making this one of the most coveted prizes in the music world and the largest for American jazz pianists. The winner will be announced at a gala event on April 6, 2019 in Indianapolis.

    Learn more here and here

  • Mar 28, 2019Opera

    Two alumni selected as MetOpera National Council finalists

    MSM Opera Theater alumni Alaysha Fox, Soprano (BM ’13, MM ’15) and William Guanbo Su, Bass (BM ’17) have been selected to compete in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert this Sunday, March 31 at 3PM.

    The special event, which has launched the careers of some of opera’s biggest stars like Renée Fleming and Thomas Hampson, will be hosted by another all-star MSM alumnus, Anthony Roth Costanzo.

    Purchase tickets to the concert here.

  • Mar 22, 2019Musical Theatre

    MSM Artistic Advisory Board member Bebe Neuwirth to announce 2019 Tony Nominations

    Bebe Neuwirth, an MSM Honorary Doctorate recipient, is set to announce the 73rd Annual Tony Award Nominations LIVE on Tuesday, April 30th. The nominations can be viewed on CBS This Morning at 8:30 PM EST and will be live streamed in their entirety at

    Neuwirth has been dancing and singing and working in theatre, television and film for the last 40 years. Some of her Broadway credits include A Chorus Line, Little Me, Dancin‘, Sweet Charity (Tony Award), Damn Yankees, Addams Family, Chicago (Tony, Drama Desk, Astaire, etc. Awards), and Fosse.

  • Mar 21, 2019Composition

    Composition alumnus’ work to be featured at NOMUS Music Festival

    Fredrick Kaufman (BM ’59, MM ’60) will have his work Guernica Piano Concerto performed in Novi Sad and Belgrade with soloist Kemal Gekic on April 16 and 18, 2019. The work was premiered by Gekic with Maestro Marcello Rota and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague in February 2014, at the Casals Festival with the Puerto Rico Symphony conducted by Max Valdes in 2016 and at the Miami International Music Festival on Nov 10th, 2018. The Concerto has been recorded on the Novana label by Gekic and the Czech National and was nominated for a Grammy that same year.

    Learn more about Frederick Kaufman here.

  • Mar 21, 2019Opera

    Alumna Niru Liu named Filene Artist at Wolf Trap Opera

    Alumna Niru Liu (MM ’15, PS ’16) joins the Summer 2019 Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist, and will play the roles of Diamantine in Merlin’s Island and Berta in The Barber of Seville. Liu, a mezzo-soprano, is also a 2018-19 Season Young Artist with LA Opera. During her time at MSM, she performed as Troisième Sorcière in Bloch’s Macbeth and 3rd Lady in The Magic Flute. 

    Purchase tickets to WTO’s productions here.

  • Mar 21, 2019Composition

    Alumnus Larry Hochman nominated for 2019 Daytime Emmy Award

    Larry Hochman (BM ’75) is nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Original Song In A Children’s Or Animated Program category for PBS’s show Peg + Cat. Hochman has already won four Emmy Awards for his original music on the TV series The Wonder Pets and is a Tony Award winner (Book of Mormon) and six-time nominee (A Class Act; Fiddler on the Roof; Spamalot; The Scottsboro Boys; She Loves Me; Hello, Dolly!) in the Best Orchestration category.

  • Mar 19, 2019Precollege

    Three Precollege Students of Solomon Mikowsky Awarded Prizes

    The piano faculty member’s precollege students were recently awarded prizes in the Piano Teachers Congress of New York Honors Program:

    Xiaomin Ou – Third Prize – Beverly Shea Award in Group IV for the 2019 PTC Honors Program
    Sara Chough – Second Prize – Pauline Styler Award in Group IV for the 2019 PTC Honors Program
    Zoe Pian-Chowdhury – Second Prize – Pauline Styler Award in Group III for the 2019 PTC Honors Program

    All three will participate in the Winners Recital on March 24, 2019 at 1 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall. Learn more about the Piano Teachers Congress of New York Honors Program here.

  • Mar 13, 2019Precollege

    Precollege cellist Connor Tsui performs in CAI Winners’ Concert

    Connor Tsui, student of MSM Precollege faculty member Ole Akahoshi, performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on March 8th in the 2019 Concert Artist International Virtuoso Competition IV Winners’ Concert. Connor performed in Weill Recital Hall last year as a first prize winner in the school-age category of the American Protégé International Concerto Competition.

    Click here for the full list of winners.

  • Mar 13, 2019Precollege

    Precollege student Benjamin Rossen to compete in International Junior Piano Competition

    Benjamin, a student of MSM Precollege faculty member Jeffrey Cohen, has been selected to compete in the 2019 Van Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival. The competition will be held in four rounds from May 31 – June 8, with the finalists performing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Ben is one of 24 young pianists who were selected from 230 applicants coming from 32 different countries. Of his student, Jeffrey Cohen shares: “I am very proud that Benjamin will be representing MSM at this prestigious event, and look forward to hearing him on the big stage.”

    More information about the competition can be found on the Van Cliburn website.

  • Mar 13, 2019Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts student selected for prestigious Kennedy Center residency

    Current student Rico Jones (BM 20, Jazz Tenor Saxophone) has been selected to participate in 2019 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing arts. Under the direction of MSM alumnus Jason Moran (BM ’97), this two-week jazz residency program is dedicated to discovering and presenting the next generation of jazz greats by helping them polish their performance, composing, and arranging skills.

    Learn more about the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program here.

  • Mar 13, 2019Opera

    Alumnus Justin Austin to make his Bayerische Staatsoper debut in new Puccini production

    Baritone Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) will perform in Munich beginning Saturday, March 16th as Bello in their new production of Puccini’s La Fanciulla Del WestFor the 2018/19 season, Mr. Austin returns to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York Festival of Song, and will make solo debuts with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Copland House, Mise-En-Scène Studios, Opera Saratoga, and the Munich Opera Festival. Justin shares, “I’m incredibly excited and I owe MSM for making it possible for me to live my dreams.”

    Purchase tickets to the Bayerische Staatsoper’s production here.


  • Mar 13, 2019Musical Theatre

    MSM students and alumni achieve off-Broadway success in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish

    The smash hit has received rave reviews from The New York Times, Time Out, and NYPost, and features four alumni and one current student: Alexandrina Boyanova (BM ’10, MM ’12) as the solo violinist; Samantha Hahn (BM ’21) as Beylke;  Cameron Johnson (MM ’14) as Fyedke; Zalmen Mlotek (BM ’72), conductor; and Raquel Nobile (MM ’17) as Shprintze. The production, directed by Broadway legend Joel Grey, will run through September 2019 at Stage 42. 

    Buy tickets to Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish here.

  • Mar 6, 2019Precollege

    Precollege students of Mark Pakman are winners in the Rondo Young Artist Vanguard Competition

    Congratulations to three of MSM’s Precollege students for their successes in the Rondo Young Artist Vanguard Competition! Joanna Lin and Franziska Diefenbach are first place winners in the Vanguard Competition, and will both perform in concerts showcasing the winners at Carnegie Hall in February and March. Aran Basu placed second, and will perform at Scandinavia House in NYC in April. Each of these Precollege students are pianists under the tutelage of MSM faculty member Mark Pakman. Rondo Young Artist is an international concert presentation that encourages young musicians to further their talents as classical singers and instrumentalists, and foster their love of music.

    Buy tickets to the March 11 Carnegie performance here

  • Feb 27, 2019Composition

    MSM jazz faculty member Edward Green named a featured composer for the Orquesta de Camara de Cascais in 2020

    A faculty member at MSM for Jazz Composition and Music History, Edward Green has been named one of two featured composers for this high-profile festival held in Cascais, Portugal, near the national capital of Lisbon. An orchestral and a chamber concert will feature Edward Green’s compositions, and he’s been commissioned to write new music for the event. The festival is sponsored by the city of Cascais and the Portuguese government. Edward Green’s residency there will take place for 10-14 days.

    Read more about Edward Green

  • Feb 21, 2019Opera

    Two MSM alumni to star in the New York Metropolitan Opera production of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten , Nov 8 to Dec 7, 2019

    Star countertenor and member of MSM’s Artistic Advisory Council, Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08), sings the lead role of the pharaoh, the revolutionary ruler who transformed ancient Egypt. Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09) makes her MET debut as his wife, Nefertiti. Directed by Phelim McDermott, the production kicks off the Metropolitan Opera’s 2019-2020 season.

    For tickets and more information, visit the MET website

  • Feb 17, 2019Composition

    The Violin Channel salutes the 81st Birthday of MSM alumnus, composer John Corigliano

    John Corigliano has won the Pulitzer Prize, five Grammys and an Oscar, and has written more than 100 scores. Considered one of America’s most acclaimed composers, he’s most known for his 1st and 2nd Symphonies, clarinet and violin concerti – and the film scores for the movies Altered StatesRevolution and The Red Violin.

    See violinist Lara St. John perform his composition, Stomp here
    Hear an NPR interview with John on his 80th birthday last year, here

  • Feb 15, 2019Piano

    MSM alumnus Kirill Gerstein (BM ‘9, MM ’00) interviewed by the Financial Times

    “I find it puzzling that people finish studying. One should be an eternal learner.” The award-winning pianist Kirill Gerstein speaks to the Financial Times about his lifelong love of learning, mentioning Manhattan School of Music, where he earned two degrees, and his childhood ambition to be a street traffic controller.

    Read the interview here

  • Feb 14, 2019Voice

    MSM student Carolina López Moreno (MM ’20) wins top prize at the American Vocal Arts 2019 International Collegiate Singing Competition

    Soprano Carolina López Moreno is from Germany, and is in the Masters Voice program at Manhattan School of Music, studying with Edith Bers. The goal of this competition, sponsored by American Vocal Arts, is to award the best singers from around the world who are currently enrolled or have recently graduated from an undergraduate or graduate program in music. The winners were selected based on talent, potential, and overall presentation.  Carolina is also the First Grand Prize winner of the Berliner International Music Competition 2018, and was awarded the Special Prize at the TV production SWR Young Opera Stars 2018.

    More about the competition here

    Read about Carolina here

  • Feb 13, 2019Precollege

    MSM Precollege student Cedar Newman student featured in Australia’s Canberra Times

    Writes the Canberra Times about violin maker Harry Vatiliotis “his many customers over the years include Cedar Newman, 15, from Wollongong, who is studying violin in New York as a recipient of the Bambeger Memorial Scholarship at Manhattan School of Music. She fits her school work around her violin playing and also hopes to study law. She started playing violin on her grandmother Simone Merry’s instrument, which Vatiliotis instantly recognised when it was brought to him for a repair. Last year, Vatiliotis made Cedar a new violin, better suited to playing concertos.”

    Read the article here