MSM alumni mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner (BM ’19), tenor Samuel White (PS ’18), and baritone Benjamin Dickerson (BM ’17) have been named winners in the 2024 George and Nora London Foundation Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers, one of the opera world’s oldest and most prestigious competitions. They are pictured above along with the other four principal award winners.
The winners were announced after the competition’s final round on February 16 which took place at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, with both an in-person and online audience.
Erin Wagner, from El Paso, Texas sang “Sein wir wieder gut” from Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and won the George London Award of $12,000 in memory of Mary Palumbo, sponsored by Donald Palumbo.
Samuel White, from Columbia, South Carolina sang “Amfortas! Die Wunde” from Wagner’s Parsifal won the George London Award of $12,000 in memory of Lloyd E. Rigler, sponsored by The Lloyd E. Rigler and Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, James D. Rigler, President.
Benjamin Dickerson, from Burlington, Vermont, sang “Nemico della patria” from Giordano’s Andrea Chénier won the George London Award of $12,000 in memory of Lois Kirschenbaum, sponsored by the George and Nora London Foundation for Singers.
Learn more about the competition here.
MSM piano student Jas Ogiste (MM ’25), who studies at MSM with Jiayin Li, was singled out by The New York Times in its recent review of “The Chevalier,” a production about the composer Joseph Boulogne, also known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who was born in Guadeloupe in 1745.
“The pianist Jas Ogiste performs tender, yearning solos for Marie Antoinette’s character,” writes The New York Times.
The production took place at the United Palace theater in Washington Heights in New York City, and will be available for streaming later in February.
Jas Ogiste was performing as a member of the The Harlem Chamber Players, praised by the paper as offering “sparkling, taut performances.”
New York Classical Review also applauded Jas Ogiste’s performance: “Pianist Jas Ogiste of the Harlem ensemble ably accompanied Elliott in Bologne’s violin sonatas and set a reflective tone for the epilogue with a moody solo, the composer’s Adagio in F minor.”
The Jas Ogiste was recently featured in MSM’s Black History Month concert which can be seen here.
MSM alumnus Ambrose Akinmusire (BM ’05) has been named Best Trumpeter by DownBeat for eight years in a row and the venerable magazine — along with respected general news publications including The Guardian, The Irish Times, and the Wall Street Journal — is giving high critical praise to his latest album Owl Song.
DownBeat gives Owl Song a five-star review describing it as “a quiet rush of gorgeous sound where space, tone and beauty come together in one of the most impactful albums of 2023… This is one of the most interesting recordings to come along in a very long time by one of the most interesting artists of our time.”
Read the full DownBeat review here.
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.
Stanley Hyun studies at MSM Precollege with Kayoung An. Stanley has performed at Weill Recital Hall, Zankel Hall and Merkin Concert Hall.
At the Canadian International Music Competition, he earned the highest score as an Absolute Platinum Medalist (scores of 99% to 98%) in the Young Artist (age 12-19) category.
Stanley has also earned first prize at Elite Music Competition, Crescendo International Music Competition and Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition.
The CIMC is an online international music competition in classical, jazz, pop, and contemporary music categories.
Yi Xiang (BM ’16) has been named Co-Principal Flute at the China NCPA Orchestra, the resident orchestra of the China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
Yi Xiang has also released an album of flute and harp music with the respected China Record Cooperation, sponsored by the NFA career enhancement fund.
The National Flute Association will feature Yi’s achievements in an upcoming issue of Flutist Quarterly.
Yi studied at MSM with Woodwinds Chair Linda Chesis.
The University of Arkansas has been awarded a $45,000 research grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that will support researchers Jake Hertzog (MM’ 16) (in photo on left) and Justin R. Hunter in the Department of Music.
They are examining the importance of collegiate jazz programs to the jazz ecosystems in three U.S. cities — Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Each of these cities represents areas that have varied and expansive jazz scenes and music ecosystems beyond collegiate jazz programs that act as sources, anchors and hubs.
“We are thrilled to receive support from the NEA on this project — right now is a pivotal time for higher education, the music industry and the evolving and important work on musical and cultural placemaking,” Hertzog says.
Learn more here.
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.
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.
MSM alumni soprano Jouelle Roberson (PS ’22) who studied at MSM with Cynthia Hoffman, and bass Edwin Jhamaal Davis (MM ’17) who studied with Mark Oswald, are among the eight finalists for the 2024 Houston Grand Opera (HGO) Concert of Arias: the 36th Annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers. It will be presented live from the Wortham Theater Center in Houston on February 2, 2024, at 7 p.m. CT.
HGO holds the international competition each year to identify the most promising emerging artists in opera, each a potential candidate for the company’s prestigious training program for young artists, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Houston Grand Opera Studio. The eight finalists spend the week leading up to the Concert of Arias learning more about HGO and working with its music staff. At the event, each will perform two arias, competing for prizes including the $10,000 purse for first place.
More information here.
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.
OPERA America Salutes brings together artists, producers, and champions to celebrate some of the field’s most accomplished figures. The event this year took place on January 26 in NYC and showcased performances by artists in Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, including Daniel Rich (MM ’19), in photo above.
Baltimore-born baritone Daniel Rich is in his second year in the Met program. During the 2023–24 season at the Met, he is appearing as Pâris in Roméo et Juliette and as Chester in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones.
OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation, and enjoyment of opera. Founded in 1970, the organization has a membership that includes over 600 opera companies, educational institutions, affiliated businesses, and other entities.
More about Daniel Rich at the Met here.
More about OPERA America and the gala event here.
Photo by MSM President James Gandre
Nicolas Gonzalez, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Innovation and Special Initiatives at the Manhattan School of Music, spoke to host Aaron Dworkin about his responsibilities at MSM related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the importance of empathy in empowering students.
Arts Engines is a program on YouTube that explores issues related to arts education and management.
Listen to the program here.
MSM alumni Simone Dinnerstein (PC ’89) (in photo on left) and Alexa Smith (MM ’10) will be hosting episodes of the influential program Young Artists Showcase on WQXR radio — New York City’s public radio classical music station — as part of a team of four new regular hosts of the program. They are replacing beloved Bob Sherman who retired as host and recently passed away.
Young Artists Showcase is an important platform for showcasing young classical and jazz talent.
Read interviews with Simone and Alexa published by WQXR here.
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.
MSM Precollege student William Lauricella is making his professional debut performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor with the Schenectady-Saratoga Symphony Orchestra (SSSO) at the historic Proctors Theatre on January 21.
William is a senior at the Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, New York, just south of Albany. He performed the work with the Empire State Youth Orchestra’s (ESYO) concert in October. He won the ESYO’s 2023 Lois Lyman Concerto Competition and the SSSO’s 2018 Parillo Piano Competition.
At MSM, where William studies with Inesa Sinkevych, he won a recent Precollege Concerto Competition.
Learn more about William here.
On the Emmy Awards broadcast on January 15 during the In Memoriam segment, singer, pianist and composer Charlie Puth (PC ’10) performed his hit song See You Again, and closed with a moving rendition of the theme song from the TV program Friends in honor of one of its actors, the late Matthew Perry, bringing tears to the eyes of many in the audience.
Charlie Puth was asked to perform on the broadcast after producers saw a viral video of him performing the songs during a concert in Melbourne, Australia shortly after Matthew Perry’s death.
Watch a news report about his Emmys performance here.
Jude Morris (BM ’23) studied classical tenor trombone at MSM with Per Brevig. In January, he was named principal trombone for the New Hampshire Symphony.
“He nailed the blind audition,” the symphony’s Executive Director Deanna Hoying told the local publication Manchester Link in New Hampshire.
“It was apparent from the first note that whoever was behind that screen was the one we wanted,” she said. Jude also received unanimous approval from the selection committee.
This is Jude Morris’ first professional appointment. At MSM, Morris distinguished himself as a concerto soloist in Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds. He is currently studying for his master’s degree at Yale.
Learn more about the appointment here.
Rob Moose (BM ’04) studied violin at MSM with Sylvia Rosenberg and is a Grammy Award-winning arranger and string player based in New York and Los Angeles. He’s written and recorded charts for over 400 albums, including work by Bon Iver, Paul Simon, Taylor Swift, and John Legend. He was an orchestrator on the hit song Flowers by Miley Cyrus.
As an orchestrator, Rob Moose has been repeatedly featured on the Declassified Series at the Kennedy Center alongside artists such as Regina Spektor, Emily King, and Ben Folds.
Says Rob about the profile: “This is the most in depth conversation I’ve ever gotten to have about my career, and I’m really honored to be presented on a site I read every day.”
Read the Pitchfork article here.
Learn more about Rob Moose here.
Clarinetist Tomas Milerius (BM’25), who studies at MSM with Charles Neidich, performed at the Musikverein in Vienna with the Vienna City Chamber Orchestra (Wiener Kammer Orchester) on January 10.
Tomas was born into a family of musicians and was drawn to music early, receiving his first music lessons at the age of four from his father, Antanas Milerius, who was a Principal clarinetist with the Klaipeda State Symphony Orchestra in Lithuania.
Tomas is a winner of many international competitions, including the Silverstein Clarinet Contest 2022, and Grand Prize at the International American Single Reed Clarinet Competition 2022. He is a featured artist with the instrument manufacturer Royal Global USA.
Information about the concert here.
Learn about Tomas Milerius here.
MSM percussion student Glenn Choe (BM ’26) earned Honorable Mention at the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition (JSO*YAC) held Saturday, January 6, in Lakewood, Colorado, performing Concerto for Marimba by Emmanuel Sejourne.
Following the competition, Choe performed a movement of his concerto at the YAC Winners’ Recital held on Jan. 6 after the JSO*YAC.
Learn more about the competition here.
MSM Musical Theatre student Jake Koch (BM ’25) and MSM alumnus Neil Devlin (BM ’23) are among 30 semifinalists in The American Pops Orchestra NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow competition for 2023-2024.
Ten finalists will be named and will compete in the NextGen National Finals round on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m., in the Lincoln Center.
Finding the Voices of Tomorrow is a vocal competition created by he American Pops Orchestra that gives collegiate vocalists the opportunity to learn from industry professionals while competing for a chance to win scholarship money and paid performance opportunities with APO.
Learn more about the competition here.
An exceptional $150,000 Sphinx Venture Fund grant has been awarded to MSM alumna Dr. Leah Claiborne for The Ebony Music Project.
The Sphinx Foundation writes in an announcement about the grant: “This initiative, under her leadership, is set to enrich the landscape of classical music with a comprehensive database of works by Black composers. Congratulations to Dr. Claiborne on this impactful and innovative project!”
Leah Claiborne, D.M.A. promotes diversity in the arts by championing piano music by Black composers in her performances, research, and teaching. Dr. Claiborne received her undergraduate degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2012 where she received the Josephine Whitmore graduation award. This award was given to a graduating senior “whose personal qualities enriches the spirit of the school and community at large.”
Learn more about The Ebony Music Project here.
Learn more about pianist and educator Leah Claiborne here.
The former New York Yankees star helped win four World Series for the franchise and graduated from MSM in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Arts. He is also a MSM trustee.
Bernie Williams (BM ’16) will be making his debut performing with the New York Philharmonic on April 24 at the Philharmonic’s spring gala at the Lincoln Center. A classically trained guitarist, he’ll perform in the orchestra under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel.
Learn more here.
On January 12, a world premiere will take place with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra conducted by MSM Trustee Leonard Slatkin: MSM alumnus Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95, HonDMA ’16) performs solo violin in the world-premiere of the violin concerto Body in Motion by Jeff Beal, written specifically for Kelly, with whom he collaborated on the composition.
The European premiere with Leonard Slatkin conducting the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria will take place on April 5, 2024.
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.
Mun-Tzung Wong (MM ’10, PS ’11) has been named Music Director of the Riverdale Choral Society in New York City. She is also Music Director and Choirmaster at St. John’s Anglican Church in Passaic.
She is also a pianist, conductor, mezzo-soprano, vocal and instrumental coach, and pedagogue. She studied classical piano at MSM with Marc Silverman.
She has served as assistant conductor at the International Vocal Arts Institute, St. Petersburg Opera Company, New Rochelle Opera, Missouri Symphony Orchestra, and more. She has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, and Lincoln Center. As a mezzo-soprano, she has appeared as a soloist in performances of the Mozart Requiem and Mass in C minor, Bach St John Passion, Händel’s Messiah, and others.
Learn more about Ms. Wong appointment here.
Orchestral Performance percussion student Zach Masri (PS ’24, OP Percussion) has been named to the Assistant Timpani/section percussion position with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Zach Masri is a Lebanese-Canadian percussionist and timpanist living between New York and Vancouver. He has been the principal timpanist of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.
Zach has been studying at the Manhattan School of Music under the Avedis Zildjian Percussion Scholarship. His primary teachers at MSM include Christopher Lamb, She-e Wu, Duncan Patton, and Kyle Zerna.
Learn more about Zach here.
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.
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.