Success Stories

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

  • Aug 8, 2022Precollege

    MSM Precollege faculty member pianist Adam Kent releases critically acclaimed CD

    In the new recording out on Albany Records, MSM faculty member and pianist Adam Kent performs music for piano by 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner Tania Léon which she composed over a span of almost fifty years.

    On July 28, The New York Times featured the recording as its top pick in its choice of “Five Classical Albums You Can Listen to Right Now.”

    Adam Kent has performed in recital, as soloist with orchestra, and in chamber music throughout the United States, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Latin America. A winner of the American Pianists Association Fellowship and Simone Belsky Music Awards, Dr. Kent also received top prizes in many prestigious competitions.

    Learn more about the CD here.
    Learn more about Adam Kent here.


  • Feb 20, 2022Precollege

    Precollege Faculty member Sondra Tammam (BM ’73) receives the Steinway & Sons 2022 Top Teacher Award.

    Recognized internationally as a pianist and pedagogue, MSM alumnus and Precollege faculty member Sondra Tammam (BM ’73) has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and presented master classes, lectures, and workshops in the U.S., Austria, Italy, France, Montenegro, Israel, Taiwan, and Brazil.

    Gavin English, President of Steinway & Sons, told Ms. Tammam she is being awarded “for your hard work and dedication to music education throughout 2021. Steinway & Sons is a name synonymous with artistry, quality, and exquisite musical expression. The Steinway Top Teacher Award demonstrates your commitment to the same ideals.”

    Learn more about Sondra Tammam here.

  • Jan 23, 2022Precollege

    MSM Precollege alumna Simone Dinnerstein (PC ’89) performs at Carnegie Hall with Renée Fleming, Emerson String Quartet

    MSM Precollege alumna Simone Dinnerstein (PC ’89), a former student of Solomon Mikowsky in MSM’s Precollege program, performed on January 23, 2022 in Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in Penelope, a concert that also featured actress Uma Thurman as narrator.

    Penelope is a collaboration from composer André Previn and playwright Tom Stoppard focusing on one of literature’s great heroines, retelling the story of the woman who stood strong awaiting the return of her wandering husband, Odysseus.

    Music included works by Barber, Phillip Glass, and Fauré.

    Learn about Simone here.


  • Jul 5, 2021Precollege

    Precollege faculty member Felipe Tristán celebrates 10 years as a conductor in the US with commissions, recordings, and concerts

    To celebrate his 10 years as artistic director with different orchestras in the United States, Felipe Tristán has commissioned two works from the composers Arturo O’Farrill (who studied at MSM Precollege, and has been a MSM faculty member) and José Gurría. Felipe is also preparing to record two albums along with a series of concerts that will close at Carnegie Hall on May 28, 2022, where he will perform the reorchestration of Canto a la Música by the Mexican composer Samuel Zyman, among other works.

    For this, and for next year’s concert at Carnegie Hall, Felipe will visit Mexico to search for at least thirty voices.

    The symphonic piece commissioned from Mexican-Cuban composer Arturo O’Farrill, an Afro-Latin jazz specialist, will premiere February 2022 with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Space in Manhattan.

    Felipe is the founder and music director of the Symphony Orchestra of the Americas, an organization that promotes Latin American concert music as well as intercontinental dialogue and collaboration. He teaches conducting at the MSM Precollege program.

    Learn more here.

  • Jun 22, 2021Precollege

    MSM Precollege faculty member Elizabeth Faidley featured in “Influencive”

    The online publication Influencive founded by Inc. 500 Entrepreneur Brian D. Evans and Clinton Senkow calls MSM Precollege violin faculty member Elizabeth Faidley “one of the finest violin pedagogues in the world.”

    “The world of music is one such that has welcomed innumerable talented beings so far, but a few rare gems have gone ahead in totally astounding the world with their expertise and genius in music. One such name that has been buzzing high in the American music scene is Elizabeth Faidley with her ‘The Elizabeth Faidley Violin Studio,'” writes Umesh Agarwal in the article.

    A faculty member in MSM’s Precollege program since 2007, Elizabeth has also been called “amazing and inspiring teacher” by the New York Times.

    Read the Influencive article on Elizabeth here.
    Read Elizabeth’s biography on MSM’s website here.

  • May 21, 2021Jazz

    Jazz students win DownBeat Student Music Awards

    Congratulations to our winners of DownBeat’s 44th Annual Student Music Awards!

    Jazz Soloist (Undergraduate College Outstanding Performances)
    Varun Das (BM ’22), drums
    Vittorio Stropoli (BM ’23), piano

    Jazz Soloist (Graduate College Winner)
    Rico Jones (BM ’20, MM ’22), tenor saxophone

    Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist (High School Honors Winner)
    Meghna Das (Precollege), vocalist

    Small Jazz Combo (Undergraduate College Winners)
    • The Ritual directed by Marc Cary
    Philippe Clément (BM ’22), songwriter/guitarist
    Stéphane Clément (BM ’23), trumpet
    Nolan Nwachukwu (BM ’23), bass
    Miguel Russell (BM ’24), drums
    Vittorio Stropoli (BM ’23), piano/keyboard/synth

    Original Composition—Small Ensemble (Undergraduate College Outstanding Compositions)
    Matanda Keyes (BM ’21), “Contra”

    Jazz Arrangement (Graduate College Outstanding—Small Ensemble)
    Rico Jones (BM ’20, MM ’22), “Central Park West”

  • Mar 28, 2021Precollege

    National Association of Teachers of Singing Eastern Region name four MSM Precollege students as award-winners

    The MSM Precollege student award winners are:

    Lower High School Music Theater Treble Voice

    Honorable Mentioned – Lauren Marchand – Student of Giuseppe Spoletini

    Upper High School Musical Theater Treble Voice

    2nd Place – Meghna Das – Student of Jeanai La Vita

    Upper High School Tenor Bass Baritone – Classical

    3rd Place – Henry Hsiao – Student of Jeanai La Vita

    Learn more here.

  • Mar 27, 2021Precollege

    Precollege student Alex Cha wins 2nd place in NJ Youth Symphony Concerto Competition.

    Precollege student Alex Cha (top left in photo), Precollege student of Jo-Ann Sternberg, won second place in the annual NJ Youth Symphony Concerto Competition.

    The annual competition for members of the NJYS Youth Symphony was held virtually this year, with 19 entrants performing for guest adjudicators Ilmar Gavilan, violinist of Harlem Quartet, and Mark Laycock, professor of orchestral studies at Wichita State University.

    Learn more here.

  • Feb 4, 2021Precollege

    The Garden State Philharmonic names former MSM Precollege student as President of the Board

    Dr. Nancy Mezey, the Dean of the Honors School at Monmouth University, has been appointed as the President of the Board of The Garden State Philharmonic, the critically acclaimed professional orchestra that is “Orchestra in Residence” at Ocean County College in Tom’s River.

    In addition to the professional orchestra, the GSP sponsors a three-tiered Youth Orchestra program comprised of more than 100 students between the ages of eight and 21, and an auditioned Community Chorus.

    Learn more about Dr. Mezey’s appointment here.

  • Dec 8, 2020Precollege

    Precollege students place first and second in NY Young Virtuoso Competition

    Two students of pianist Robin Freund-Epstein were named winners in the New York Young Virtuoso Competition, which took place virtually this year. Jeffrey Li, age twelve, won first prize in his age category, and Aaron Liu won second prize in the category.

    Due to the ongoing global health crisis, winners recitals have been postponed indefinitely. You can view the full list of winners here.

  • Dec 3, 2020Precollege

    MSM Precollege students among 2021 YoungArts Winners

    Five Precollege students have been selected as winners by the National YoungArts Foundation, one of the most comprehensive programs for emerging artists in the United States. Meghna Das was named a Finalist in the Popular Voice, Oliver D’Avolio received a Merit Award in Jazz Piano, Eugene Hong earned a Merit Award in Classical Piano, Olivia Park won a Merit Award in the Singer-Songwriter division, and Jack Towse acquired a Finalist spot in Jazz Trumpet.

    Winners are chosen for their caliber of artistic achievement by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process and are awarded in three categories: Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit. You can view the full list of winners here.


  • Dec 1, 2020Music History

    Pianist Kariné Poghosyan celebrates “Beethoven in C” with December concert series

    Kariné Poghosyan, a member of the Music History (College) and Piano (Precollege) faculty, will perform works by Beethoven during her weekly virtual concerts throughout the month of December.

    Armenian Weekly writes, “In honor of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, Ms. Poghosyan had originally scheduled her annual Beethoven’s Birthday Concert for Carnegie Hall. But, when that was cancelled due to the pandemic she was determined that the show must go online.”

    The concerts are free with the option of sending voluntary contributions to the artist. You can watch them live each Friday at 8pm EST on Ms. Poghosyan’s Facebook page.

  • Nov 15, 2020Precollege

    Lauren Marchand wins Schmidt Vocal Arts Competition

    Precollege student Lauren Marchand received the “Most Promising Sophomore” award during the Schmidt Vocal Arts Competition, an honor given to the highest scoring participant in the sophomore group.

    The Schmidt Vocal Competition reaches more than 400 students each year and takes place in 17 locations throughout the U.S. The day-long competition affords singers an opportunity to perform live in front of an audience for the chance to win cash awards and scholarships, and offers coaching and master class training with premier artists. Learn more about the competition here.

  • Sep 28, 2020Precollege

    Ole Akahoshi joins Horszowski Trio

    Last month, the New York-based Horszowski Trio announced the appointment of MSM Precollege faculty member Ole Akahoshi to the ensemble. Akahoshi will replace cellist Raman Ramakrishnan, who performed with the ensemble for the past nine years.

    Of his new position, Ole write: “I have been admiring the Horszowski Trio for many years and being on stage with them has always been a tremendously invigorating, inspiring, and highly gratifying experience for me.”

    Read the full press release from The Violin Channel here.

  • Aug 31, 2020Precollege

    Precollege faculty members talk teaching in the time of COVID-19 in NATS Journal

    Precollege faculty members Jane Olian and Donna Gill were interviewed by Margo Garrett of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Journal about creative collaboration and technology in the time of COVID-19. In the interview, Jane and Donna talk about how their work as teachers and coaches has changed in the wake of the pandemic.

    Garret writes, “Donna and Jane both feel sustained by the fact that they are teaching in these days, that the students are ever hungry to learn, and that they themselves are doing OK—because they are teaching. Teachers and students need each other in these difficult days, it seems.” Read the full story 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 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 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 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.

  • Mar 19, 2020Precollege

    Charlie Puth performs in #TogetherAtHome series to promote social distancing

    MSM Precollege alumnus Charlie Puth performed a concert live on Instagram as part of Global Citizen and World Health Organization’s #TogetherAtHome series. You can watch the mini-concert on his Charlie’s Instagram profile.

    “Together, At Home” was designed to promote unity amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s social distancing protocols. Previous performers include John Legend and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Learn more about the series and future performers here.

  • Mar 9, 2020Precollege

    Dianne Flagello receives Music Educator Award

    Former Precollege Director and Alumni Advisory Council Member Director Dianne Flagello (BM ’52, MM ’52, HonDMA ’99) received the Distinguished Music Educator Award from JCC Thurnauer School of Music last month at their 30th Gift of Music Gala Benefit Concert. Read more about the event here.

    During her time as a student at Manhattan School of Music, Dianne studied Percussion and Music Education. She returned to her alma mater in 1974 as director of MSM Precollege, known then as MSM’s Preparatory Division, until 1999. Dianne is currently an active member of the Alumni Advisory Council.

  • Mar 2, 2020College

    MSM Students and Alumni receive 2020 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award

    Four MSM students and alumni were recently named recipients of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.

    Angelo Di Loreto (MM ’13, Jazz Piano)
    Eliana Fishbeyn (MM ’21, Jazz Composition)
    Rin Seo (MM ’20, Jazz Composition)
    Matthew Whitaker (Precollege alum)

    The program was established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30. It carries the name of the great trumpeter and ASCAP member Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation’s multi-year financial commitment to the program. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 17 to 29 and are selected through a juried national competition. For more information, visit their website.

  • Feb 24, 2020Jazz

    Precollege alum Matthew Whitaker featured on 60 Minutes

    Former precollege student Matthew Whitaker was inteviewed on CBS’s 60 Minutes during February 23rd’s feature segment. Matthew is a jazz pianist who is blind, and since the age of 11, has been performing around the world. Called a prodigy with extraordinary talent, he has caught the attention of scientists who are now studying his brain and trying to understand his vision of music.

    For Matthew’s full story, visit CBS’s website for the segment and article.

  • Feb 19, 2020Precollege

    Precollege student Giorgio Poma wins LaGuardia Concerto competition

    Precollege cellist and student of Marion Feldman Giorgio Poma recently won the LaGuardia High School Performing Arts Concerto competition. He will play as a soloist with LaGuardia Symphony Orchestra on April 3, 2020.

    For information regarding the concert, visit LaGuardia High School’s website.

  • Feb 18, 2020Education

    Several Precollege students of Jeanai La Vita to receive high honors

    On February 9th, 2020, the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) held their prestigious competition for young vocal artists in which several MSM Precollege voice students of Jeanai La Vita placed. The honors and students are listed below:

    Kate Vandermel 1st place Upper High School Classical
    Bonita Pan 2nd place Upper High School Classical
    Meghna Das 1st place Upper High School Musical Theatre
    Henry Hsiao 2nd place Lower High School Classical
    Karly Chan 3rd place Lower High School Classical
    Stephanie Lopez 2nd place Lower High School Musical Theatre
    Franziska Diefenbach 1st place Youth
    Amy Wang 1st place Lower College Classical

    The NATS Artist Awards competition is designed to assist singers prepared to launch a professional career and, to that end, substantial monetary and performance prizes are offered. For more information regarding the competition, visit their website.

  • Feb 18, 2020Piano

    Eleven-year-old Cary Wang featured in Daily Voice Plus

    Cary Wang, Precollege piano student of Jeffrey Cohen, made his piano debut at the age of six with Claude Debussy’s Le Petit Nègre at Carnegie Hall in December 2015 and it has only gone up from here—having won first prize in national and international piano competitions. And in December 2018, he won a competitive Manhattan School of Music Annual Concerto Competition — the youngest performer in the 10-to-13-year-old age group — with his performance of Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467, 3rd Movement.

    The young pianist was featured in Daily Voice Plus given his astounding accomplishments; the full article can be found here.

  • Jan 17, 2020Precollege

    Precollege alumnus appointed as concertmaster of ISO

    Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Kevin Lin, Precollege alumnus and student of Patinka Kopec, this week.

    Kevin currently serves as Co-Leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and has previously been a Guest Concertmaster with the Pittsburgh, Houston and Cincinnati Symphonies.

    “I’m extremely excited and honored to join the Indianapolis Symphony … it’s been a pleasure getting to know the musicians and the community of the ISO … I look forward to many memorable years of music making,” Lin said.

    Read the full release on The Violin Channel.

  • Jan 14, 2020Precollege

    Precollege student wins first prize at Golden Classical

    Connor Tsui, Precollege cello student of Ole Akahoshi, has won first prize at the Golden Classical Music Competition. As a prize winner, Connor will play at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on March 10th at 8 p.m. You can learn more about the concert and purchase tickets here.

    Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition is open to all nationalities and ages in strings, piano, wind and vocal each discipline is divided into different age categories. Their purpose is to discover artists of outstanding personality and provide awards which can help to launch international careers.

  • Dec 30, 2019Precollege

    Charlie Puth performs on Sesame Street

    Precollege alumnus and Grammy-nominated musician Charlie Puth performed on the PBS staple, Sesame Street, earlier this month. In the video segment (available to watch here), Charlie teaches muppets Grover, Elmo, Abby, and Cookie Monster how to sing aloud as they perform a classic song from the show.

    A pop musician who advanced from YouTube likes to RIAA certifications, Charlie Puth has regularly achieved multi-platinum status on his own and with high profile collaborators. He released his debut album Nine Track Mind in 2016 and his second full length album Voicenotes in 2018.