Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Photo of the Day: Manhattan School of Music, NYC

I took the attached photo in mid-November, when I met a friend for lunch just off the Columbia University campus. Afterward, I walked around the Morningside Heights neighborhood.

Eventually I saw a sign for Manhattan School of Music (MSM). Curious, at least partly because my high school friend Mike went on to graduate from there, I ambled over to the school’s location at 122nd Street and Claremont Avenue in New York.

Mike was, and remains, a highly talented musician, and this private music conservatory sounds just like the place for him. It offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in classical and jazz performance and composition, as well as a bachelor's in musical theater.

Besides Mike, MSM graduates have included jazz/pop musicians or singers Harry Connick Jr., Herbie Hancock, Max Roach, Jane Monheit, Rupert Holmes, and Nellie McKay, and classical music professionals such as John Corigliano and Dawn Upshaw.

Oh, yes—and how can I forget my favorite, the peerless Yankee outfielder and ace guitarist, Bernie Williams?

MSM has changed its name, location, and size in a bit more than a century of existence. It was founded by pianist-philanthropist Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918 as an outgrowth of her work volunteering at the Union Settlement at East 104th Street, with young musicians offering music lessons to the immigrant population of the neighborhood. It became known by its current name in 1938, and around the same time moved to a new building and concert hall on 105th Street.

With the Julliard School going to Lincoln Center, MSM purchased and moved into its Morningside Heights building in 1969. Its growth has not stopped since then, however. A residence hall adjacent to the school opened in 2001, and MSM has continued to add programs.

Today, it numbers more than 950 college students from over 50 countries, and each academic year it offers nearly 800 performances by students and faculty, many of which are free and open to the public. Anyone interested in catching these can click on this performance calendar.

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