Manhattan School of Music

Manhattan School of Music
Manhattan School of Music
Logo of the Manhattan School of Music
Motto Macte virtute sic itur ad astra (“Those who excel, thus reach the stars.”)
Established 1917
Type Private
President Robert Sirota
Location New York City, New York, United States
Campus Urban

The Manhattan School of Music (MSM) is a major music conservatory located on the Upper West Side of New York City. The school offers degrees on the bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels in the areas of classical and jazz performance and composition. With a faculty of 275 and over 800 students from 40 countries, the school also has a pre-college division which trains 500 students per academic year. Manhattan School of Music is considered one of the most prestigious conservatories of the study of music in the world.

Founded in 1917, the school is located on Claremont Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City, adjacent to Broadway and W. 122nd Street. The MSM campus was originally the home to The Juilliard School, until Juilliard migrated to the Lincoln Center area of Midtown Manhattan. The campus of Columbia University resides close by, where it has been since 1895. Many of the students live in the school's residence hall, Andersen Hall. At the present time, 75 percent of the students come from outside New York State and 31 percent from outside the United States.

Admission to MSM is based primarily on a live audition. In 2005, MSM received 863 total applications, and admitted 287, for an overall acceptance rate of 33%.[1]



The Manhattan School of Music.
Entrance to the John C. Borden Auditorium.

The School was founded in 1917–1918 by Janet D. Schenck, pianist and philanthropist, as the Neighborhood Music School. It was located in a brownstone building on New York City's Upper East Side. Pablo Casals and Harold Bauer were among the first of many distinguished artists who offered guidance to the School. Eventually, its reputation for excellence extended throughout the greater metropolitan area, and its name was changed to Manhattan School of Music.

In 1943, the artistic and academic growth of the School resulted in a charter amendment to grant the bachelor of music degree. Two subsequent amendments authorized the offering in 1947 of the master of music degree and, in 1974, the degree of doctor of musical arts. In 1956, Dr. Schenck retired and John Brownlee, noted Metropolitan Opera baritone, was appointed director, a title later revised to president. President Brownlee initiated the idea of relocating the School to the Morningside Heights neighborhood; his death occurred only months before his efforts were realized. In 1969, George Schick, Metropolitan Opera conductor, accompanist, and distinguished opera coach, succeeded Brownlee as president and led the School's move to its present location. He created a wonderful opera program, while all other major school functions are managed by Senior Director Stanley Bednar.

John O. Crosby, founder and general director of the Santa Fe Opera, was appointed president in 1976. He was followed by Gideon W. Waldrop, who was appointed in 1986, and Peter C. Simon in 1989. On July 1, 1992, Marta Casals Istomin was named President, a position which she held until October 2005 when she retired.

As of October 2005, Dr. Robert Sirota, former director of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, took over the presidency of the Manhattan School.[2]

Instrumental Performing Ensembles at MSM

Manhattan School of Music offers a wide variety of live audience performance experiences for its students. There are three major orchestras: The MSM Symphony, the Philharmonia, and the Chamber Sinfonia. In addition, many smaller ensembles are assembled for orchestral chamber music. The MSM Wind Ensemble also performs throughout the year. The Jazz Arts Program also contains various ensembles, such as the Jazz Philharmonic (full jazz big band with full orchestra), the Jazz Orchestra, Concert Jazz Band, Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and Chamber Jazz Ensemble. Tactus, the ensemble for contemporary chamber music, is made up of graduate students in the school's Contemporary Performance Program (CPP). The school also holds an annual concerto competition with which the winner is offered the opportunity to perform with the Symphony Orchestra.

Performance Venues

The Manhattan School contains multiple performance spaces, each dedicated to separate ensemble requirements. The largest is the John C. Borden Auditorium, where all orchestral and large jazz ensemble concerts are held. The smaller Greenfield Recital Hall and Miller Recital Hall are used for solo and small ensemble recitals, especially for graduation-required recitals. The Ades Performance Space is the newest of MSM's venues, and is dedicated more toward small jazz ensemble performances and contemporary music. Additionally, the Mitzi Newhouse Pavilion (the school's cafeteria) is the chosen performance venue for the school's jazz combos.

Prominent faculty

Current and former prominent faculty include:

Prominent alumni

Summer programs

June 2009 was the inaugural summer of the Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Institute. The program is a total of 4 weeks long. Students from around the world are given the opportunity to work with MSM faculty. The program includes classes in acting, movement and English diction among others. Singers are granted two hours with a voice teacher and two hours with a voice coach each week. The program also includes a daily master class.

Board of trustees

The school's president is Robert Sirota and the Board of Trustees is chaired by Peter Robbins. Other members of the Board of Trustees include such notable persons as:

See also


External links

Coordinates: 40°48′44″N 73°57′41″W / 40.81222°N 73.96138°W / 40.81222; -73.96138

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