Manhattan School of Music

The Manhattan School of Music (MSM) is a private music conservatory in New York City. The school offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in the areas of classical and jazz performance and composition, as well as a bachelor's in musical theatre.[2]

Manhattan School of Music
Manhattan School of Music (51241934109).jpg
MottoLatin: Macte virtute sic itur ad astra
Motto in English
Those who excel, thus reach the stars
TypePrivate music conservatory
PresidentJames Gandre
ProvostJoyce Griggs
Location, ,
United States

40°48′44″N 73°57′41″W / 40.81222°N 73.96139°W / 40.81222; -73.96139Coordinates: 40°48′44″N 73°57′41″W / 40.81222°N 73.96139°W / 40.81222; -73.96139
ColorsMaroon and black
MascotManny the polar bear
Msm seal med.gif

Founded in 1917, the school is located on Claremont Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City, adjacent to Broadway and West 122nd Street (Seminary Row). The MSM campus was originally the home to The Institute of Musical Art (which later became Juilliard) until Juilliard migrated to the Lincoln Center area of Midtown Manhattan. The property was originally owned by the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum until The Institute of Musical Art purchased it in 1910.[3] The campus of Columbia University is close by, where it has been since 1895. Many of the students live in the school's residence hall, Andersen Hall.


Entrance to the John C. Borden Auditorium

Manhattan School of Music was founded between 1917 and 1918 by the pianist and philanthropist Janet D. Schenck. It was initially known as the "Neighborhood Music School". Initially located at the Union Settlement Association on East 104th St in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood, the school moved into a brownstone building at East 105th St.[4] Pablo Casals and Harold Bauer were among the first of many distinguished artists who offered guidance to the school. Eventually, 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 Metropolitan Opera baritone John Brownlee 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 opera coach, succeeded Brownlee as president and led the school's move to its present location. He created the opera program, while all other major school functions were managed by Senior Director Stanley Bednar.[citation needed]

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.

Dr. Robert Sirota, former director of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, took over the presidency in 2005.[5] He was succeeded by James Gandre, formerly of Roosevelt University, effective May 2013.[6]


Manhattan School of Music offers undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs. Classical majors, jazz majors, Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program majors, cross majors from Barnard College at Columbia, and most recently musical theater majors all take part at the conservatory.

MSM offers classical, jazz, and musical theatre training. It grants the Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. It also offers a Professional Studies Certificate and Artist Diploma.

Instrumental performing ensemblesEdit

Since 1999, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and Manhattan School of Music have partnered to offer a free summer music program for students who attend New York City's public schools.

Manhattan School of Music offers a wide variety of live audience performance experiences for its students. It contains 132 practice rooms and eight performance spaces.[7] 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 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.[citation needed]

Performance venuesEdit

Manhattan School contains multiple performance spaces, each dedicated to separate ensemble requirements. The largest is Neidorff-Karpati Hall, where all orchestral and large jazz ensemble concerts are held. Major renovation of the Hall was completed in November 2018.[8] Greenfield Recital Hall and Miller Recital Hall are used for solo and small ensemble recitals, especially for graduation-required recitals. The Ades Performance Space presents everything from fully staged operas to contemporary chamber music. The Carla Bossi-Comelli Studio on the seventh floor is a multipurpose rehearsal and performance space; other performance spaces include the Myers Recital Hall, Mikowsky Recital Hall, Rahm Hall, and Pforzheimer Hall.

Notable peopleEdit

Faculty and administratorsEdit

Students and alumniEdit


The   train serves the school at 125th Street, which is three blocks away from the campus. The M4 and M104 buses also serve the school. The M5 stops on 122nd and Riverside Drive, one block from the campus. The M60 SBS buses stops at 120th Street on Broadway.


  1. ^ "Enrollment Statistics". Manhattan School of Music. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Manhattan School of Music Announces New Degree Program in Musical Theatre". 20 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Historical Significance, Historic Morningside Heights". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  4. ^ "Manhattan School of Music: Timeline". Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  5. ^ "Composer Robert Sirota". Archived from the original on 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  6. ^ "Manhattan School of Music Names New President". The New York Times. 13 March 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  7. ^ "How students can benefit from Music School in Manhattan". Willan Academy Of Music. 2018-08-09. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  8. ^ Music, Manhattan School of. "Renovation". Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  9. ^ McClellan, Lawrence (2004). The Later Swing Era, 1942 - 1955. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press. p. 176. ISBN 0313301573.
  10. ^ F. Paul Driscoll (December 2015). "Sound Bites: Andrea Carroll". Opera News.

External linksEdit