Success Stories

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

  • Jun 6, 2021Woodwinds

    Imani Winds featuring MSM Alumni named Faculty at Curtis Institute

    The GRAMMY-nominated 21st-century ensemble will begin as the faculty wind quintet at Curtis Institute at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

    Imani Winds members include MSM Alumni Monica Ellis (PS ’98), bassoon; Toyin Spellman-Diaz (MM ’98), oboe; Brandon Patrick George (MM ’10), flute; Jeff Scott (BM ’90), French horn; Toyin Spellman-Diaz (MM ’98), oboe;  and Mark Dover (MM ’12), clarinet.

    Imani Winds will work with student ensembles, as well as Curtis’ wind studios. They will also commission  works with community partners.

    “I am thrilled to welcome Imani Winds to our faculty,” says Curtis President and CEO Roberto Díaz.

    “Imani Winds has set a great example of how to forge a unique career path, have meaningful community impact, and embody an entrepreneurial spirit throughout all of their work. We will all benefit greatly from having Imani Winds at Curtis.”

  • Oct 20, 2020Woodwinds

    Brandon Patrick George releases debut recording

    Alumnus Brandon Patrick George (MM ’10) has released an album of flute sonatas and solo works by J.S. Bach, Boulez, Aho, and Prokofiev. George describes his debut album as a dialogue between the past and the future, and this CD indeed represents a walk through musical history spanning 300 years. You can learn more about the recording here.

    Brandon Patrick George is the flutist of the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds and has made appearances as a concerto soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the American Composers Orchestra, among others.

    George was also interviewed by The New York Times in anticipation of his album release. Read the New York Times feature here.

  • Oct 13, 2020Woodwinds

    New album by MSM Alum Brandon Patrick George (MM ’10) featured in the New York Times

    The New York Times writes about MSM alum Brandon Patrick George (MM’10), a member of Imani Winds, in its Arts section on October 13, 2020, reviewing his debut album with music by composers Bach, Boulez, Prokofiev and the Finnish composer Kalevi Aho.

    Read the article here.

  • Sep 18, 2020Woodwinds

    Coreisa Lee wins AKADEMIA award

    Alumna Coreisa Lee (BM ’17) was recognized at the 2020 AKADEMIA Music Awards competition in Los Angeles, California for her performance video, “To You”. The composer, Eugene Magalif, shares the “Best Song: Ambient/Instrumental” award with Lee. Watch the award-winning video here.

    Lee is a former student of MSM faculty member Linda Chesis.

  • Aug 26, 2020Woodwinds

    Conor Nelson joins flute faculty at Mead Witter School of Music

    Alumnus Conor Nelson (BM ’03) has been appointed to the faculty of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as Assistant Professor of Flute. Nelson will also serve as flutist of the Wingra Wind Quintet. He leaves a position at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

    Read Conor’s full bio 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.

  • 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.

  • Mar 28, 2020Woodwinds

    David Krakauer and Kathleen Tagg to stream weekly “Sunday Connections”

    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.

  • Mar 24, 2020Woodwinds

    Linda Chesis interviewed by Haynes Flutes

    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.

  • Mar 3, 2020Woodwinds

    MSM Students take top prizes in the New York Flute Club Competition

    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.

  • Feb 27, 2020Brass

    Eisenberg-Fried Competition winners announced

    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

  • Feb 21, 2020Woodwinds

    MSM faculty David Krakauer premieres first film score, sets album release date

    Clarinetist David Krakauer recently collaborated with Kathleen Tagg in writing and performing the film score for Minyan by Eric Steel, Krakauer’s first film score. The film premiered in late February at the Berlin International Film Festival.

    “Director Eric Steel sets his sensitive portrait of a gay Jewish youth in the as yet un-gentrified, roughshod New York of the 1980s. In his feature-film debut, he depicts unobtrusively and with quiet humour how one young man squares social attributions – immigrant, Jew, homosexual – with his own feelings and learns to define them anew.”

    The film received a listing on IndieWire’s Top 15 films to view at the Berlin Festival.

    For more on Krakauer’s contributions and currently projects, visit his website.

  • Feb 19, 2020Orchestra

    Bassoon alum wins job at Hartford Symphony

    On Monday, February 17, orchestral bassoonistPinghua Felix Ren (MM’19 and PS ’20) won the Assistant Principal Bassoon position of the Hartford Symphony. He will begin playing with them later this spring.

    For more about the Hartford Symphony, visit their website or view their performance calendar here.

  • Feb 11, 2020Woodwinds

    DMA student Beomjae Kim featured in Symphony Magazine

    DMA flautist Beomjae Kim (AD ’17), student of MSM pedagogues Michael Parloff, Linda Chesis, and Robert Langevin was recently featured in the winter issue of Symphony distributed by the League of American Orchestras. In the article called “Pathfinders” by Vivien Schweitzer, Kim was one of six emerging artists to discuss their visions for the classical music world, to which the MSM flautist described his main goal as a musician “is to tell a story and not just play an instrument.”

    For more inspiring words and the full article, click here.

    To subscribe to Symphony, visit

  • Sep 20, 2019Woodwinds

    Linda Chesis featured in Flute Talk magazine

    Woodwind Department Chair and Flute Faculty member Linda Chesis is on the cover of this month’s Flute Talk magazine! In this issue, Linda is interviewed by her former student (and MSM Precollege alumna) Joanna Lau.

    Of her teaching style, Professor Chesis shares, “I will address things very differently depending on a student’s strengths and weaknesses, and I think that is also what keeps it fresh and interesting for me.” Read the full article here.

  • Sep 20, 2019Woodwinds

    Pascal Archer wins NJ Symphony position

    Alumnus and Precollege faculty member Pascal Archer (MM ’06) recently won a one-year position as acting principal clarinet of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Pascal also serves as the principal clarinet of The Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra and NEPA Philharmonic, and he is the artistic director of the Exponential Ensemble. View Pascal’s bio and upcoming performances here.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dec 26, 2018Woodwinds

    Clarinetist David Krakauer to perform in NYC on Jan 7, and at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. on Jan 20

    The performance Breath and Hammer by MSM Faculty member David Krakauer and pianist Kathleen Tagg (free of charge in the East Building Auditorium of the National Gallery) features original compositions and fresh arrangements of “simple songs” by such composers as New York–based visionary John Zorn, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodríguez. The duo’s influences range from interlocking African drumming patterns to romantic symphonic music, minimalism, and klezmer.
    They will perform with the Omer Quartet in NYC (also free of charge) on Jan 7.

    More about the National Gallery performance here
    Info about the NYC concert here

  • Nov 27, 2018Woodwinds

    Monica Ellis (PS ’98) speaks to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about her journey to the world stage with the quintet Imani Winds

    For Monica Ellis, a native of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, the bassoon signaled a ticket to the world, a path through high school, college, career, fame, travel and purpose.

    Read more

  • Nov 13, 2018Woodwinds

    Jingping He (MM ’19) appointed second flute in China’s Suzhou Symphony Orchestra

    Jingping He has been studying with Linda Chesis, as a student in MSM’s Orchestral Performance Program.

    Learn more about MSM’s OPP program

  • Nov 11, 2018Woodwinds

    Seohee Choi (MM ’19) named Principal Flute with Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit

    Seohee Choi studies with flutist Robert Langevin at MSM, as a student in MSM’s graduate degree program, the Orchestral Performance program.

    Learn more about MSM’s OPP program

  • Oct 25, 2018Woodwinds

    Alison Fierst (MM ’20) wins Second Flute position with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

    Alison is pursuing a Master of Music in Orchestral Performance at MSM, studying with flutist Robert Langevin.

  • Sep 28, 2018Orchestra

    MSM Student, Oboist Tamara Winston, is named an Ensemble Connect Fellow

    The two-year fellowship awarded to Tamara Winston, currently a MSM Professional Studies Certificate candidate, will help prepare her for a career that combines performance with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

    Read more