Success Stories

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

  • Jul 15, 2024Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue is named Arranger of the Year by DownBeat magazine

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue has been named Arranger of the Year in the 72nd Annual DownBeat Critics Poll. In addition, his recent recording Dynamic Maximum Tension — which features MSM Dean of Jazz Ingrid Jensen and MSM trombone faculty member Ryan Keberle — was voted one of the Top 10 Jazz Albums of the Year.

    The composer and bandleader serves as one of the driving forces behind new generations of ambitious large ensemble instrumental music. Dynamic Maximum Tension serves as proof,” writes the magazine.

    Read the list of the Top 20 Jazz Albums of the Year selected by the DownBeat Critics Poll here.

  • Jul 11, 2024Strings

    MSM Artists in Residence the American String Quartet celebrate their 50th anniversary in a concert at the Aspen Festival

    On July 8, the American String Quartet (ASQ) performed a recital of Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Ravel to an enthusiastic audience at the Aspen Music Festival, celebrating their 50th anniversary as an ensemble.  In 1974, the ASQ was appointed as Quartet-in-Residence at AMF, a position held until the mid-2010’s.

    The ASQ are Peter Winograd and Laurie Carney on violin, Wolfram Koessel, cello, and Daniel Avshalomov, viola. The group has been Artists in Residence at MSM for many years performing several concerts a year. Several members of the ensemble are on the MSM Strings faculty.

    Learn more about the ASQ here.

  • Jul 3, 2024Jazz

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen headlines the Iowa City Jazz Festival with the Iowa Women’s Jazz Orchestra

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen and the Iowa Women’s Jazz Orchestra are headlining the Iowa City Jazz Festival taking place from July 5–7. An interview with Ingrid is featured this week in The Daily Iowan, the independent newspaper of the University of Iowa.

    The paper says this collaboration with Ms. Jensen and the Orchestra has been years in the making, and that there are great expectations about the event, which Ms. Jensen says she is looking forward to.

    “When I’m playing I’m always paying attention to the sounds around me, and that includes the audience… I’m very in tune with vibe, and music is all vibrations. When the audience opens up to that atmosphere, it can be very rewarding,” she tells the paper.

    Last week, the MSM Dean of Jazz Arts led a jazz camp for high-school-aged players in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Read the interview with Ingrid Jensen in The Daily Iowan here.

  • Jun 26, 2024Jazz

    MSM jazz faculty member Darcy James Argue is named Composer in Residence of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band

    Darcy James Argue is following in the footsteps of Composer in Residence and MSM faculty emeritus Jim McNeely who has been the Composer in Residence of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band for the past 16 years.

    Writes the Frankfurt Radio Big Band in a news release on their website: “The Canadian composer and big band leader Darcy James Argue began his musical career in the Montreal jazz scene before making his way to New York, where he has been attracting a great deal of attention for years with his ensemble Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. Today he arranges and composes for the biggest names in the genre and is active all over the world.”

    The first musicians that Darcy James Argue has invited as guest artists are Warren Wolf and Aaron Diehl. “The band is going to love playing with them!” says Darcy. “For my part, I’m very excited to dive into writing for Warren and Aaron, taking their original compositions and other works from their repertoire and reimagining them for jazz orchestra.”

    The Warren Wolf concerts take place January 23rd in Darmstadt and January 24th in Frankfurt, and the Aaron Diehl concerts are June 5th in Frankfurt, and June 6th in Giessen.

    Learn more about the appointment here.

  • Jun 21, 2024Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Jean Baylor and husband Marcus Baylor of The Baylor Project perform on The Today show

    NAACP Image Award winners Marcus and Jean Baylor of The Baylor Project performed on NBC’s The Today Show on June 17, 2024 performing their Grammy-nominated single Laugh and Move On. Watch the appearance here.

    They also appeared on the syndicated Tamron Hall Show for their 3rd annual “Father’s Day Extravaganza,” also performing Laugh and Move On. Watch their interview here, and their performance here.

  • Jun 18, 2024Strings

    MSM faculty member Jessica Meyer performs live on The Violin Channel

    On June 19 at 10:30 PM ET, composer, violist, and MSM faculty member Jessica Meyer performs a special recital , live from Zipper Hall at The Colburn School in Los Angeles.

    In this concert called Sounds of Being, Jessica will perform a collection of self-composed works for loop pedal and viola.

    Watch the concert here.


  • Jun 12, 2024Brass

    MSM trombone faculty member Sasha Romero featured on cover of June’s International Musician

    MSM trombone faculty member Sasha Romero, who is also Principal Trombone in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, is the featured artist on the cover of this month’s issue of International Musician.

    In an article titled “Visibility Promotes Acceptance” the publication writes as an introduction: Romero’s journey toward self-acceptance started with striving for an understanding of who she was, and her place growing up as young boy in the East Texas town of Longview.

    “I didn’t really know enough back then to question my identity,” she says. “I realized that I didn’t like my assigned gender at birth. I wanted to be a girl from the age of 5. But I didn’t have the basis to even begin to understand what being trans meant.

    Read the article here.


  • May 31, 2024Strings

    MSM College and Precollege faculty member Xiao Wang wins first prize at the New York Classical Violin Competition

    MSM Alumnus and faculty member Xiao Wang (BM ’13, MM ’15, AD ’16) placed first of ten finalists in the New York Classical Violin Competition which was held at Manhattan School of Music in late May.

    In addition to winning $22,000 in prize money, Xiao Wang is eligible to participate in the invite-only inaugural Classic Violin Olympus International Competition taking place in Dubai in April 2025.

    Learn more here.

  • May 23, 2024Orchestra Performance Program

    David Chan, the head of the MSM Orchestral Performance Program, is named new principal conductor of the Apollo Orchestra

    Violinist and conductor David Chan joins the artistic team of the Apollo Orchestra as principal conductor this month. The Orchestra was founded in 2010 and provides a platform for many of the Washington D.C. area’s finest professional freelance classical musicians. In addition his role as head of the Orchestral Performance Program at MSM, David Chan is also the concertmaster for the MET Orchestra.

    Learn more here.

  • May 15, 2024Jazz

    MSM faculty and alumni among top winners at the 2024 Jazz Journalist Awards

    Congratulations to the MSM Jazz Arts alumni and faculty members who won high-profile awards in the prestigious Jazz Journalists Association Awards for 2024. The winners in the MSM Community include faculty member Darcy James Argue who won Best Arranger, and the ensemble Artemis with MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen which won for Best Mid-Sized Ensemble.

    Learn more here.

  • Apr 29, 2024Jazz

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen is nominated for a 2024 Jazz Journalist Award as part of the ensemble Artemis

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen is part of the critically acclaimed ensemble Artemis that has been nominated Best Small Ensemble by the Jazz Journalist Association (JJA) for the all-female group’s recent recording In Real Time.

    Ingrid is also part of MSM faculty member Darcy James Argue’s ensemble Secret Society that played with him on his JJA award-nominated recording Dynamic Maximum Tension, along with two other MSM faculty members, Nadje Noordhuis and Ryan Keberle. Darcy James Argue has been nominated for four awards by the JJA, including best album.

    The winners will be announced on May 8.

    Learn more about Artemis here.
    Learn more about the 2024 Jazz Journalist Awards here.

  • Apr 29, 2024Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue is nominated for four top 2024 Jazz Journalist Association Awards

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue has been nominated in the categories of Record of the Year, Composer of the Year, Arranger of the Year, and Large Ensemble of the Year, in the 2024 Jazz Journalist Awards for his most recent release Dynamic Maximum Tension, recorded with his ensemble Secret Society.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled and deeply honored to be nominated, ” he says. The winners will be announced on May 8.

    Darcy James Argue was recently in Paris attending the world premiere of his new orchestral arrangements for singer Cécile McLorin Salvant with L’Orchestre National d’Île-de-France. These arrangements will receive their New York premiere next March at Carnegie Hall, with Salvant and The Knights, as part of Carnegie’s Perspective series.

    Learn about the 2024 Jazz Journalist Association nominees here.
    Watch video clips of Salvant’s tour in France featuring arrangements by Darcy James Argue here.
    Information about the Carnegie Hall concert here.

  • Apr 4, 2024Strings

    MSM strings faculty member Ilmar Gavilán to take part in Summerfest at the Kaufman Music Center this summer

    MSM faculty member, the respected violinist Ilmar Gavilán, will be part of Summerfest at the Kaufman Music Center taking place this summer at the respected arts center in New York City from August 19 to 24, 2024.

    Kaufman Music Center’s SummerFest is an intensive week of masterclasses, lessons, workshops, chamber ensembles and performance opportunities led by world-renowned guest artists and faculty for advanced pianists, violinists and cellists age 14 – 22.

    Musicians taking part also include: Adele AnthonyFabio BidiniAmir Eldan, Richard GoodeGrigory KalinovskyYoheved Kaplinsky, Masao KawasakiClara Minhye Kim, and others.

    Learn more about Ilmar Gavilan here.

    Learn more about Summerfest here.

  • Apr 3, 2024Composition

    MSM Composition faculty member Paolo Marchettini record releases new recording Ebony Chants on April 12

    Ebony Chants, Paolo Marchettini‘s second album on the label New Focus Recordings showcases music for clarinets in both solo and ensemble setting and will be released on April 14th.

    The album features Rome-born and New York City-based Paolo Marchettini as both composer and clarinetist, working alongside with three other clarinetists who are MSM current and former students: Meng Zhang (DMA) (also worked as recording engineer), Ka Hei Chan (MM ’23) and Tommy Shermulis (MM ’23).

    In liner notes, the respected guitarist Dan Lippel comments that Ebony Chants evokes the rich wood used in clarinet construction, and highlights Marchettini’s “subtle, lyrical composition voice.”

    “Marchettini strikes an engaging balance between experimental elements such as the use of microtones and extended techniques, and more traditional material, performing the works with elegance and virtuosity…  Allusions to multiple eras and styles of music are seamlessly integrated in music that is natural and always breathes,” he writes.

    Preorder the CD here.

  • Feb 15, 2024Precollege

    MSM Precollege faculty member and MSM alumna Kariné Poghosyan performs in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall

    MSM Precollege faculty member Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05, DMA ’07) performed to a full house at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on February 14.

    The centerpiece of the program was the centennial celebration of the world premiere of George Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue which debuted on February 12, 1924. The concert was presented by the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations.

    “We were happy to have partnered, once again this year, with our distinguished artist, the New York-based Armenian-American pianist Kariné Poghosyan, to bring together dear friends and colleagues,” said His Excellency Ambassador Mher Margaryan during pre-concert remarks before the group of Permanent Representatives of the U.N. member states.

    The Armenian Weekly is calling the performance “magnificent… (she has) impeccable phrasing, breathtaking vulnerability and power.”

    The cultural advisor of the Embassy of Armenia to the U.S., Vicki Shoghag Hovanessian said “Kariné Poghosyan is one of those virtuoso spectacular pianists with extraordinary stamina and musical skills as well as jaw-dropping performances. It’s a musical reverie to attend Ms. Poghosyan’s performances.”

    Read the review in The Armenian Weekly here.

  • Feb 1, 2024Precollege

    MSM Precollege faculty member and MSM alumna Kariné Poghosyan headlines at Carnegie Hall on Feb 14

    Pianist, Precollege faculty member, and MSM alumna Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05, DMA ’07) will perform a concert in honor of the 100th anniversary of the premiere of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on February 14 at 8 PM at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Presented by The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, the concert will also feature works by Alberto Ginastera, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Tania León, and Arno Babajanian.

    Rhapsody in Blue is to me one of those iconic works that speaks to absolutely everyone,” says Poghosyan. “It is a stellar example of what Gershwin was aiming for with his compositions – erasing boundaries between different genres and styles of music. Therefore, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its premiere, I have created a program that highlights that magical combination of classical, jazz and Latin elements, alongside works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Alberto Ginastera and Tania Leon, with a bit of my Armenian roots sprinkled in through virtuosic selections by Arno Babajanian.”

    Learn more about the concert and purchase tickets here.

  • Feb 1, 2024Strings

    MSM faculty member Eugene Drucker is named director of the Berkshire Bach Society

    Eugene Drucker — violinist, author, educator, composer, founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, and MSM violin faculty member — has been named Artistic Director of The Berkshire Bach Society (BBS). The 34-year-old arts organization presents live performances of Baroque music by world-class musicians in the Berkshires and surrounding areas.

    Mr. Drucker is a longtime member of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble and director of the BBS Bach at New Year’s concert series. As Artistic Director of the BBS, he will help spearhead new programming and performance opportunities.

    The appointment comes following the retirement of the Emerson String Quartet, which Mr. Drucker co-founded 47 years ago. Over the course of its existence, the Emerson earned nine Grammy Awards, three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award.

  • Jan 29, 2024Piano

    MSM faculty member Elio Villafranca headlines at the University of Arkansas Black Music Symposium on February 2

    MSM faculty member pianist Elio Villafranca will be the headlining musician and a lecturer at the University of Arkansas‘s annual symposium dedicated to educating and exposing the community to the music contributions of Black Americans. The 11th annual conference will be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 4.

    The theme for the 2024 symposium, “Celebrating Afro-Caribbean Music,” explores the rich culture of the Caribbean nations and their contributions to music genres ranging from reggae and salsa to merengue, calypso and more. Throughout the symposium, there will be lectures that support the theme exploring the ways in which Afro-Caribbean music relates to the experiences of Black musicians as well as social movements.

    On Feb 2, Elio Villafranca will deliver a lecture on “The Music of the Afro Diaspora in the Caribbean,” hold a master class, and be the featured performer at an evening concert. 

    More information on the event here.

  • Jan 21, 2024Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre faculty member Andrew Gerle to release a recording of his latest production Whisper Darkly on February 23

    MSM faculty member Andrew Gerle is a composer/lyricist, librettist, pianist and author whose most recent production Whisper Darkly, set at the height of Prohibition in 1928, is “the world’s first eclectro-swing musical,” he says, an immersive theatre experience that follows the lives of three women living their lives on their own terms. The music and lyrics are by Andrew Gerle; the book and concept is by librettist DJ Salisbury.

    The video teaser for the production was recorded in The Back Room, one of the last Prohibition era speakeasies still operating in NYC.

    For more on the musical and to see both the production and recording teaser, visit the production’s website here.

    Learn more about Andrew Gerle here.

  • Jan 1, 2024Jazz

    The latest album by MSM faculty member Darcy James Argue Dynamic Maximum Tension is named to high-profile “Best of 2023” lists

    The album Dynamic Maximum Tension by MSM Jazz Arts composition faculty member Darcy James Argue has been named to NPR’s list of 50 Best Albums of 2023, as well as to Slate’s list of Best Jazz Albums of 2023.

    The album has been nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

    Find the NPR list here.

    Find the Slate list here.

  • Nov 20, 2023Musical Theatre

    MSM Dean of Musical Theatre Liza Gennaro wins Kurt Weill Prize for her book Making Broadway Dance

    The 2023 Kurt Weill Book Prize for an outstanding scholarly book on music theater since 1900 has been awarded to Making Broadway Dance, by Liza Gennaro, Dean of Musical Theatre at the Manhattan School of Music, who is also a choreographer.

    Her book, published by Oxford University Press, was selected by the Kurt Weill Book Prize advisory panel as the unanimous top choice for this year’s distinction.

    The panel praised Liza’s book as a “remarkable work, that is as approachable and engaging as it is carefully researched,” and lauded the inclusion of “many illuminating and overdue corrections to misconceptions about the authorship of some pieces of choreography, and the provocative questions raised about the legacies of certain Golden Age musicals as a result.”

    Learn more about the book here.

  • Nov 14, 2023Strings

    Violin faculty member Lucie Robert was a jury member at the International Global Music Education League Violin Competition in Beijing, China

    Violin faculty member Lucie Robert was a jury member at the International Global Music Education League Violin Competition in Beijing, China that took place from November 3 to 13.

    There were four rounds to the competition. The finals two rounds were of Mozart and a romantic concerti with orchestra which included members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The competition included prizes ranging from $5,000 to $100,00 dollars.

    In photo: International jury members pose with the six finalists, including MSM student Risa Hokamura, along with competition pianists. Lucie Robert is pictured in the back row, first on the left.

  • Oct 30, 2023Jazz

    New recording by Jazz Arts MSM faculty member Darcy James Argue is featured in The New York Times and on National Public Radio

    Dynamic Maximum Tension, the new album on Nonesuch records by MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue and his group Secret Society — the recording also features Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen  — has been featured recently in two national media outlets: The New York Times writes about the album in its column “5 Classical Music Albums You Can Listen To Right Now” and the album is featured on NPR‘s program Fresh Air.

    Read The New York Times article here.

    Listen to the NPR program here.

  • Oct 19, 2023Strings

    MSM faculty member violinist Ilmar Gavilán is featured in a Tucson Symphony Orchestra performances October 28 and 29

    MSM faculty member violinist Ilmar Gavilán will be performing in a special concert event with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra on October 28 and 29,  Strings without Borders. Also performing is with violist Jaime Amador. Both are currently artists in residence at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

    Learn more here.

  • Sep 25, 2023Strings

    Grammy-nominated flutist and MSM faculty member Valerie Coleman along with MSM alumnus Thomas Mesa are featured soloists on new release by Sphinx Virtuosi

    MSM faculty member Valerie Coleman and MSM alumnus cellist Thomas Mesa (DMA ’17) are both featured soloists on the new album Songs for Our Times by Sphinx Virtuosi released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

    Ms. Coleman is featured on two songs, Tracing Visions for String Orchestra I: Till. and Tracing for String Orchestra II: Amandla!

    Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa, first prize winner of the 2016 Sphinx Competition and the Astral Artists 2017 National Auditions, is soloist on the concerto Divided, written for Thomas and Sphinx Virtuosi by Jesse Montgomery.

    Sphinx Virtuosi is a groundbreaking self-conducted American string ensemble comprised of 18 exceptional young Black and Latinx string players.

    More about the album here.
    Listen to the album on Spotify here.

  • Sep 11, 2023Guitar

    MSM guitar faculty member Oren Fader performs in The Village Trip GuitarFest in New York

    The Village Trip GuitarFest features talented guitarists from the tri-state region for a three-day festival of new and old music for guitars.

    Sept 14 showcases a tribute to the late Scott Johnson with a performance of his “Bowery Haunt” for two electric guitars, performed by MSM guitar faculty member Oren Fader, joined by William Anderson.

    On Sept 16 at 6 PM, the Bowers Fader Duo will perform “Beyond the Line of Blue”, by Damon Ferrante, and Oren is joined by guitarist Jack Ward in Martin Rokeach’s “Fantasy on Twelve Strings.” And at 8 PM, the Bowers Fader Duo performs Richard Cameron-Woolf’s “Gazelle in my Garden.” The Bowers Fader Duo will also perform on Sept 19 and 29.

    Festival information is found here.

  • Sep 11, 2023Guitar

    MSM guitar faculty member David Leisner is a featured soloist in a GuitarFest concert on Sept 16

    MSM guitar faculty member David Leisner will be a featured soloist in the final of three GuitarFest concerts in the Village Trip Festival in New York City.  David will play the second performance works he recently commissioned and premiered:

    Chester Biscardi  Finding Beauty in Small Places
    Laura Kaminsky  Ruminations
    Bun-Ching Lam   Five Contemplations

    The concert takes place Sat., Sept. 16 at 8 PM at St. John’s in the Village, 218 W. 11 St.  At 6 PM in the same venue, Sebastián Molina, a current student of David Leisner, will perform the world premiere of a piece commissioned for him by a Chilean foundation, Volver a los 19 by Felipe Pinto d’Aguiar, and will also play David’s composition Freedom Fantasy no. 1 (“Go Down, Moses”). 

    More information about these events and the festival can be found here.

  • Sep 7, 2023Piano

    MSM piano faculty member Lisa Yui releases recording of Schumann Fantasie in C major and Liszt Sonata in B minor

    MSM faculty member Lisa Yui says she is releasing these two recordings because for her, the compositions “are examples of the greatest legacies of the human mind and heart.”

    The CD was recorded over three days in New York City in 2017. Ms. Yui writes about her reasons for waiting six years to release in an article here.

    Schumann Fantasie in C major; Liszt Sonata in B minor is available on Bandcamp and was released on Sep. 7, 2023 on all major streaming platforms.

  • Sep 5, 2023Piano

    MSM piano faculty member and alumna Joanne Polk releases solo CD

    Joanne Polk‘s CD of solo piano music by 19th-century French composer Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) is released today on the Steinway & Sons label.

    Entitled The Silence Between the Notes, the CD features, according to Joanne, “gorgeous poetic moments, as well as etudes that are quite challenging.  Most of the music has never heard before.”

    The CD is available on on streaming platforms; MSM students, faculty, and staff may listen to the CD on MSM’s NAXOS page in the MSM Library.

    More about the CD and Joanne Polk here.
    More about Louise Farrenc here.

  • Jul 28, 2023Jazz

    MSM faculty member Damien Sneed is praised by The New York Times

    The New York Times classical music critic Zachary Wolfe reviewed Treemonisha praising MSM alumnus and faculty member Damien Sneed’s reworking of Scott Joplin’s opera.

    “Sneed gamely inhabited a Joplin-like idiom in the newly composed material,” writes the critic.

    Zachary Wolfe also hailed MSM alumnus Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) who has a lead role in the production: “Baritone Justin Austin vibrated with passionate life as Joplin and Remus.”

    Read article here.

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