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Manhattan School of Music

Coordinates: 40°48′44″N 73°57′41″W / 40.81222°N 73.96139°W / 40.81222; -73.96139
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Manhattan School of Music
View of the campus from Broadway
MottoLatin: Macte virtute sic itur ad astra
Motto in English
Those who excel, thus reach the stars
TypePrivate music conservatory
PresidentJames Gandre
ProvostJoyce Griggs
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

40°48′44″N 73°57′41″W / 40.81222°N 73.96139°W / 40.81222; -73.96139
CampusUrban, 1 acre (0.40 ha)
ColorsMaroon and black
MascotManny the polar bear

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]

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 moved 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.


20th century[edit]

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.

21st century[edit]

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

Performance venues[edit]

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.[7]

Notable people[edit]

Faculty and administrators[edit]

Students and alumni[edit]


The New York City Subway's 1 train serves the school at 125th Street, which is three blocks away from the campus. MTA Regional Bus Operations' 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.[11]


  1. ^ "Manhattan School of Music". College Navigator. National Center for Educational Statistics. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  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. ^ Music, Manhattan School of. "Renovation". www.msmnyc.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  8. ^ McClellan, Lawrence (2004). The Later Swing Era, 1942 - 1955. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press. p. 176. ISBN 0313301573.
  9. ^ F. Paul Driscoll (December 2015). "Sound Bites: Andrea Carroll". Opera News.
  10. ^ Traub, Alex (2023-10-20). "Kenneth Force, the 'Toscanini of Military Marching Bands,' Dies at 83". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-04-12.
  11. ^ "Manhattan Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2020.

External links[edit]