Success Stories

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

  • Jul 6, 2020Jazz

    Jazz alum wins Hungarian trombone competition

    Last week, the Hungarian Trombone Camp announced the winner of their 2020 online competition—alumnus Paco Andreo (MM ’20). You can view his award-winning performance on the Hungarian Trombone Camp’s YouTube channel here. Among the panel of judges was MSM faculty member Marshall Gilkes and former faculty member Wycliffe Gordon.

    Visit Paco Andreo’s website to listen to more of his work.

  • Jun 30, 2020Composition

    Composer Adolphus Hailstork to write requiem cantata for George Floyd

    Alumnus Adolphus Hailstork (BM ’65, MM ’66, HonDMA ’19) has begun writing A Knee on the Neck, contributing a new work to a large number of compositions that reflect his engagement with black history. “There are lots [of black composers] out there,” says Hailstork. “They just don’t get the chance to be performed. We need artistic administrators and conductors and performers to be interested.”

    Read more about the piece here.

  • Jun 11, 2020Jazz

    Jason & Alicia Moran reviewed by The Atlantic

    Alumni power couple Jason Moran (BM ’97) and Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00) received a very favorable review from The Atlantic for their sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall this past March entitled “Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration”. The concert was designed by the Morans to explore the songs and sounds that accompanied black lives throughout the Great Migration.

    “The Morans are devoted to elevating voices that have not often been heard, and to articulating connections between the highest levels of black society and the lowest. “Two Wings,” which spans nearly three hours, featured performances from some of the leading voices in gospel, jazz, folk, and Western classical music; for the Morans, it was an opportunity to put a version of the black American musical canon into venues that, even today, seldom make space for its full breadth.”

    Read the full article here.

  • Jun 4, 2020Brass

    Alumna named President of South Shore Conservatory

    MSM alumna Karen Greer (MM ’85, bass trombone) took over on June 1 as president of the South Shore Conservatory, a regional music and art school in Massachusetts.

    Geer has been executive director of the Interschool Orchestras of New York, and was previously executive director of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Before that, she was a music teacher and administrator at the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music.

    Read the full news story from The Boston Globe here.

  • Jun 3, 2020Jazz

    Damien Sneed featured in BET’s “Future 40”

    Faculty member Damien Sneed has been selected as one of BET’s “Future 40”, which highlights a new generation of inspiring leaders and changemakers across entertainment, activism, sports and more.

    “As a pianist, vocalist and composer, Sneed’s resume is lengthy as an emerging Black leader in classical music,” writes BET. You can watch the video feature here.

  • Jun 2, 2020Musical Theatre

    Incoming Musical Theatre student wins Roger Rees Award

    Newly admitted Musical Theatre student Meredith Heller (BM ’24) is the recipient of the 2020 Roger Rees Award for Best Actress. The 17-year-old graduate of Pelham Memorial Highschool won for her role as Rosemary in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

    Meredith received the award yesterday during Broadway Education Alliance’s 10th annual Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance, a celebration of high school musical programs, in a special livestream event.

    Through a video audition process, professional Broadway coaches and music directors selected the top fifty students to move forward in the competition. A panel of Broadway professionals including Bonita Hamilton, Hal Luftig, Rob McClure, Patricia Hoag Simon, and Merri Sugarman then chose the Best Actor and Best Actress out of ten finalists from the Greater New York Region.

    Read the full press release from Broadway World here.

  • May 22, 2020Musical Theatre

    Judith Clurman receives Emmy nomination

    Musical Theatre faculty member Judith Clurman has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in the “Best Original Song Category”. The song, entitled “A New Carol – The Holidays Are Here”, was co-written with Wesley Whately and performed on the Singing Christmas Tree Float during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 2019.

    Judith writes, “Thank you, MSM voice students, for constantly teaching me about acting through songs, and kudos to the Freshman Ensemble Voice Class for singing through the piece for me, when I first wrote it.”

    View the full list of nominees here.

  • May 21, 2020Precollege

    Bejamin Rossen named 2020 Presidential Scholar

    Precollege alumnus Benjamin Rossen, piano student of Jeffrey Cohen, has been named a 2020 Presidential Scholar by the US Department of Education. The 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars was announced today, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

    The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations, and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

    Read the full press release here.

  • May 21, 2020Woodwinds

    Flute alumni Coreisa Lee and Conor Nelson featured in BGSU interview

    Alumna Coreisa Lee (BM ’17), who graduated from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) this month with her Master’s in music performance, shares her journey in this interview with the institution. After studying with Professor Linda Chesis at MSM, Lee moved to Bowling Green, OH to continue her studies with another MSM alum (and former student of Chesis), Conor Nelson (BM ’03). This Fall, Lee will pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at West Virginia University this fall, where she earned a provost fellowship.

    Lee’s professor and MSM alumnus Conor Nelson recently accepted a flute professor position at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he will also perform as a member of the faculty ensemble, Wingra Wind Quintet.

  • May 20, 2020Voice

    Voice alumni named Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists

    Noragh Devlin (BM ’13, MM ’15, PS ’16) and Samuel White (PS ’18) have been selected as Young Artists for the prestigious Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY. While the COVID-19 pandemic will not permit them to perform their anticipated roles during the 2020 Festival, they will be working with the Festival throughout the summer in new virtual ways.

    The Young Artists Program was established at Glimmerglass in 1988 as an important component of the company’s mission to promote an artistically challenging environment for young performers. The program provides training and performance experience for talented singers at the beginning of their professional careers.

    View the full list of 2020 Glimmerglass Young Artists here.

  • May 19, 2020Jazz

    MSM jazz alumni, faculty among JJA Award winners

    The Jazz Journalists Association has announced the winners of the 2020 JJA Jazz Awards, which celebrate excellence in music and music journalism in thirty-nine awards categories. Among the winners are the following members of the MSM community:

    Terri Lyne Carrington (HonDMA ’20)
    Musician of the Year

    Lauren Sevian (BM ’01, MSM Faculty)
    Baritone Saxophonist of the Year

    Miguel Zenón (MM ’01, MSM Faculty)
    Arranger of the Year

    View the full list of winners here.

  • May 17, 2020Piano

    Dominic Cheli and Michael Davidman selected as American Pianists Association Finalists

    College alumnus Dominic Cheli (BM ’14) and Precollege alumnus Michael Davidman are two of the five pianists chosen as finalists in the American Pianists Association’s Piano Competition. Cheli and Davidman will participate in the organization’s unique 13-month long competition for the coveted award, given every four years to a classical pianist.

    Valued at more than $100,000, the American Pianists Awards winner receives the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship, which includes a $50,000 cash award and career assistance for two years, including publicity, performance engagements, an Artist-in-Residence post at the University of Indianapolis, and a recording contract with Steinway & Sons record label.

    You can watch Dominic Cheli’s performance and Michael Davidman’s performance on the APA Facebook page.

  • May 15, 2020Voice

    MSM alumni come together for COVID-19 relief concert series

    Alumna Amanda Austin (MM ’18, Classical Voice) will co-produce The OmniARTS Foundation’s Lean On Me: A Virtual Concert Series for COVID-19 Relief on Saturdays, May 23, 30, and June 6, 2020 at 4pm EDT presented LIVE via Facebook and YouTube.

    Austin, who founded The OmniARTS Foundation in 2019, called on the following members of the MSM community to perform in the series benefitting First Responders Children’s Foundation, New Music Solidarity Fund, and Artist Relief Tree: Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM’17, Classical Voice), J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09, Classical Voice), Guy Mintus (BM ’15, Jazz Piano), Taisiya Pushkar (MM ’06, DMA ’13, Collaborative Piano), Emmet Cohen (MM ’14, Jazz Piano) and Todd Reynolds (CPP Faculty).

    All concerts are free and accessible; to attend, visit @OmniARTSFoundation on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Donations are encouraged, and a suggested donation of $35 USD is payable via

  • May 15, 2020Piano

    Minhae Lee named Yale collaborative piano fellow

    Alumna Minhae Lee (PS ’14) has been selected as Yale School of Music’s only collaborative piano fellow for the 2020-21 academic year. Lee will graduate from Michigan State University this month with three degrees: DMA in piano performance, DMA in collaborative piano, and an MM in piano pedagogy.

    Learn more about Minhae Lee by viewing her website.

  • May 15, 2020Voice

    Voice alumni selected as Opera for Peace Emerging Artists

    Three MSM alumni have been named Emerging Artists by Opera for Peace, a new cultural movement reflecting the reality of today’s globalized and diverse world, building an inclusive and creative future together through passion and determination:

    William Guanbo Su (BM ’17), Student of Cynthia Hoffmann
    Raehann Bryce-Davis (MM ’12, PS ’13), Student of Cynthia Hoffmann
    Hongni Wu (MM ’17, PS ’18), Student of Joan Patenaude-Yarnell

    Opera for Peace Emerging Artists, comprised of 12 graduates from around the world, represent some of the brightest young talent in our industry. They are provided them exceptional personalized one-on-one mentorship from our Ambassadors and Advisors, special performance opportunities in collaboration with our partners, and more.

  • May 13, 2020Piano

    Original DREAMer and pianist Tereza Lee featured in PBS Asian Americans series

    Pianist Tereza Lee, who inspired the original DREAM Act nearly twenty years ago, is featured in Part 3 of Asian Americans, a new documentary series airing on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). You can view the episode here, with Tereza’s story beginning at the 38:17 mark.

    Tereza graduates from Manhattan School of Music with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree this week. Her thesis explores five composers who immigrated to the United States, and “what it means to be an American composer / musician today, particularly coming from an immigrant background.” Tereza has been a member of the MSM community since 2001, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in 2005, Master’s in 2007, and Professional Studies Certificate in 2010.

  • May 5, 2020Jazz

    Bassist Michael Olatuja releases new album, Lagos Pepper Soup

    Whirlwind Recordings has announced the June 12th release of Lagos Pepper Soup, the new album from MSM alumnus Michael Olatuja (MM ’06). On his third release as a bandleader, Olatuja presents his spectacular blend of West African Afrobeats and jazz, with the support of a string orchestra – arranged by iconic film score orchestrator Dave Metzger – alongside an international all-star cast which features Regina Carter (MSM Faculty), Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Brandee Younger, Lionel Loueke, Joe Lovano, Laura Mvula, Gregoire Maret and Becca Stevens.

    Read the full press release on Bass Musician Magazine’s website here.

  • May 5, 2020Jazz

    Graduating jazz student performs front porch concerts for neighbors in Seattle, WA

    Senior Santosh Sharma (BM ’20, Jazz Saxophone) and his twin brother Ravi have been featured in The Seattle Times for their popular front porch jazz concerts. The two young musicians began performing for their neighbors after leaving NYC in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “We just got tired of sitting in our house and playing by ourselves,” said Santosh. “So we decided we might as well go outside and play if we can safely do that.”

    Read the full Seattle Times article here.

  • May 4, 2020Strings

    MSM Alumni are bringing music to patients suffering from COVID-19

    Clarinetist and MSM alumna Rachel Easterwood (BM ’06), who is now an I.C.U. doctor at New York Presbyterian Hospital, reached out to her fellow alumni Andrew Janss (BM ’06, AD ’12) and Molly Carr (’07), who serve as co-directors of the non-profit Project: Music Heals Us. Easterwood, Janss, Carr and pianist Anna Petrova (BM ’08, MM ’11, DMA ’16) are all featured in this story by The New York Times about the initiative.

    Dr. Easterwood said this week that she hoped to continue the performances for patients and the staff. “We go into this profession to help people,” she said. “And this music had the ability to at least help a little bit.”

    To support Project: Music Heals Us, please visit

  • May 2, 2020Precollege

    SoHyun Ko to perform on THE CALL TO UNITE

    Precollege violin student SoHyun Ko will be performing today, May 2 from 11:00am to 12:00pm on UNITE in support of efforts in the Global Pandemic. Ko currently studies with Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec at MSM Precollege. SoHyun is also the Adelphi Orchestra Sixteenth Annual Young Artist Competition Winner, and is scheduled to with them in the upcoming year.

    Read the New Jersey Stage press release here.

  • Apr 28, 2020Precollege

    Precollege students to perform in Chamber Music Society concert

    Precollege students Oren Tirschwell, violin and Marie Wurtz, piano will be showcased in their high school piano trio on the Chamber Music Society’s 37th Young Musician Concert. The trio is coached by MSM Precollege faculty member Carmel Lowenthal.

    CMS will be streaming the recorded performances from the second round of their competition on Thursday, April 30 at 11am EST. You can watch the stream here.

  • Apr 25, 2020Brass

    Anthony Mazzocchi Announced as the New Director of the John J. Cali School of Music

    Montclair State University has announced the appointment of Anthony J. Mazzocchi (BM ’95, MM ’97) as the new director of the John J. Cali School of Music.

    “I am honored and humbled to accept the Directorship of the Cali School of Music – an institution that I love so very much and full of people whom I love, as well,” Mazzocchi told the Cali School community in an email message. “We all share a great passion for this place; its past, its current state, and especially what we all believe could be its bright and rewarding future. It is also clear that we are all ready to play our own unique part in moving the Cali School forward together, and that excites me beyond measure.”

    Most recently, he has served as the associate director of the Cali School as well as the executive director of the Kinhaven Summer Music School in Weston, Vermont. Read the full press release here.

  • Apr 24, 2020Voice

    Ronnita Miller performs in Apartment Arias series

    Mezzo-soprano and voice alumna Ronnita Miller (MM ’03) performs Randy Newman’s I Think It’s Going to Rain Today in Cincinnati Opera’s Apartment Arias series. You can watch the moving performance here.

    Miller was slated to perform the role of Amneris this summer in Cincinnati Opera’s production of Aida, but the performances were cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about Ronnita Miller here.


  • Apr 23, 2020Woodwinds

    Amanda Blaikie featured by Bulletproof Musician

    Alumna Amanda Blaikie (PS ’09, Orchestral Flute) was interviewed by Noa Kageyama, Ph.D for Bulletproof Musician as a part of their “What Audition Preparation Strategies Work Best for You?” series. In the episode, which can be found here, Amanda talks about “believing in yourself, letting Go of attachments, and giving yourself permission to be kind to yourself”.

    Flutist Amanda Blaikie has been a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2016, and is also on the faculty at Oakland University.

  • Apr 22, 2020Precollege

    Precollege students perform in Hal Leonard Vocal Competition

    Three Precollege voice students placed in the final and semi-final rounds in the 2020 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition in the High School Musical Theatre Category. Olivia Park, student of Jeanai La Vita, advanced to the final round of the competition. Meghna Das (student of Jeanai La Vita) and Ashley Schlusselberg (student of Kelly Sawatsky) made it to the semi-final round.

    Over 1100 singers enter from all over the US and Canada in the eight categories of competition. Over 150 singers entered the High School Musical Theatre category. You can listen to the winning performances from Olivia, Meghna, and Ashley here.

  • Apr 21, 2020Brass

    Eli Pandolfi joins New World Symphony

    Eli Pandolfi (BM’ 20, Classical French Horn) recently won a fellowship position with the New World Symphony in Miami, FL.

    The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), prepares graduates of music programs for leadership roles in professional orchestras and ensembles. A laboratory for the way music is taught, presented and experienced, the New World Symphony consists of 87 young musicians who are granted fellowships lasting up to three years. The fellowship program offers in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, professional development training and personalized experiences working with leading guest conductors, soloists and visiting faculty.

    Learn more about NWS here.

  • Apr 16, 2020Precollege

    Precollege voice students place in NATS competition

    Earlier this month, the National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS) announced the winners of their Eastern region competition. Among the winners are three MSM Precollege voice students of Jeanai La Vita. Henry Hsiao won 1st place in Lower High School Classical TBB Voice, Kate Vandermel won 2nd place in Upper High School Classical Treble Voice and Meghna Das was a top 5 finalist in Upper High School Musical Theater Treble Voice. All of them qualified to move onto the NATS National Student Auditions (NSA) competition in late June in Knoxville.

    Learn more about NATS competitions here.

  • Apr 14, 2020Voice

    Yvette Keong named 2020 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow

    The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans announced today that MSM alumna Yvette Keong (BM ’19, Classical Voice) has been selected as one of their 2020 Fellows. The organization, which supports outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants pursuing graduate education in the US, selects 30 individuals a year and each receives up to $90,000 towards their graduate education. This year’s Fellows were selected from a pool of over 2,000 applicants from across the country.

    Learn more about the Fellowship and meet the other 2020 Fellows by visiting the P.D. Soros website.

  • Apr 9, 2020Orchestra

    MSM Precollege on WQXR on June 17th

    Performances of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras will be aired on WQXR on June 17.

    The two orchestras will be featured performing their concerts held on February 8 at Manhattan School of Music, showcasing works by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Weber, and Poulenc.

    Learn more about the MSM Precollege program here.


  • Apr 3, 2020Conducting

    Kent Tritle receives prestigious Chorus America Award

    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.