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Master Classes with Thomas Hampson (About the Manhattan School of Music)

About the Manhattan School of Music


Manhattan School of Music is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, from its Precollege students through those pursuing postgraduate studies.

Founded as a community music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today MSM is recognized for its more than 900 superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states; a world-renowned artist-teacher faculty; and innovative curricula.

Offering both classical and jazz training – and, new this 2016-17 academic year, a Bachelor's degree program in musical theater – MSM grants Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, as well as the Professional Studies Certificate and Artist Diploma.

True to MSM's origins as a music school for children, the Precollege program continues to offer superior music instruction to young musicians between the ages of five and 18.

The School also serves some 2,000 New York City schoolchildren through its Arts-in-Education Program, and another 2,000 students through its critically acclaimed Distance Learning Program.


In 1996, under the pioneering influence of Maestro Pinchas Zukerman and President Marta Istomin, Manhattan School of Music instituted a groundbreaking distance learning program—the first of its kind at a major conservatory—devoted to exploring the use of state-of-the-art videoconference technology for music education and performance. MSM has since become a proud leader in the field, recognizing the vast potential for the creative use of broadband videoconferencing and its related instructional technologies in the arts as a whole. Led by Christianne Orto, Dean of Distance Learning and Recording Arts, the program provides access to artistic and academic resources that enhance students’ education in musical performance while heightening the global community’s awareness of and participation in the musical arts.

The program has become a leading provider of distance learning content for higher education, K–12 schools, and community organizations, including master classes and coachings, clinics, lessons, audition preparation, professional development, and academic seminars. Teaching and learning partnerships have been established with students, educators, and distinguished artists in 46 states and 31 countries, including Australia, China, and Europe, reaching an average of 7,500 students each year.

MSM presented its first webcast in 2003, featuring Pinchas Zukerman conducting a student chamber orchestra in Elgar’s String Serenade. In 2004, the School inaugurated live web streaming of student concerts from the William R. and Irene D. Miller Recital Hall, which continues today through the Program’s streaming pages: dl.msmnyc.edu/live and Facebook Live: facebook.com/msmnyc. In 2007, MSM hosted Manhattan Connects: An Internet2 Conference for New York’s Cultural Institutions in collaboration with Internet2, Columbia University, and Nysernet, which celebrated the potential of advanced broadband networking for the arts.

In the first live video stream of a classical music event to an iPhone/iPod touch application, the Distance Learning Program partnered with InstantEncore in 2010 to present a master class with renowned baritone Thomas Hampson. In 2011, MSM created an online digital library to give viewers access to the Program’s extensive video archive of over 5000 hours of past classes and events. In 2012, the Virtual Music Studio pilot program was launched to reach home-based learners via desktop videoconferencing for music. And in 2013, the Program created a special distance learning collaboration with schools throughout Nebraska, in which students received credit for weekly applied music instruction from Manhattan School of Music. In 2013–14, over 800 music lessons to Nebraska were delivered.

In addition to Polycom HD with Music Mode™, the Program has expanded its digital platforms to also include HD interactive solutions such as LOLA and Ultragrid, enabling near-real-time interaction between musicians at remote locations. 2016 saw the integration of a new learning management system and now the advent of online electives for MSM students is currently under development for the 2017-18 academic year.

MSM Distance Learning is pleased to announce an endowed fund, The Melos Fund for Distance Learning Innovation at Manhattan School of Music, established to support, cultivate and expand leading-edge music distance learning initiatives and programs at the School.

For further information, please visit msmnyc.edu/distance-learning or follow us on Facebook (@msmdistancelearning) and Twitter (@msm_dl).