Mikowsky standing next to an exhibit of his students prices and diplomas
Solomon Mikowsky Dedication Concert in Review
Solomon Gadles Mikowsky Recital Hall, New York, NY
Manhattan School of Music
October 3, 2010
A rare performance by Dr. Mikowsky at the opening of the Mikowsky Recital Hall at Manhattan School of Music
“Turnabout is fair play”, the saying goes. Frequently, an institution will pay homage to a great and distinguished member of its faculty. But this time, Solomon Mikowsky – who has certainly earned a tribute for his years as a renowned piano pedagogue who has produced many fine artists (and competition winners) – honored the Manhattan School of Music with a beautiful and heartwarming gesture: a gift of a superb recital hall, replete with two Steinway concert grand pianos and a capacity for audio and video recording (plus a third Steinway Model B grand for his adjacent studio). On Sunday afternoon, October 3rd, I was honored to be present for the grand opening festivities of the Solomon Gadles Mikowsky Recital Hall on the third floor of the MSM. Dr. Mikowsky’s tribute was not only to this school, but also in honor of 12 of his former and present pupils who held forth with a fine concert by way of a retrospect. The live recital commenced with a recorded performance of Bach’s Fantasy and Fugue in A Minor as performed by Mikowsky at the age of fourteen. In front of the audience was a photograph of the fledgling virtuoso (what a handsome devil he was!). Later on, at the behest of many of his appreciative charges, Dr. Mikowsky (who was going to remain silent) played a Galuppi Sonata with elegant taste and good tone, showing us all that he can still “do” as well as teach!
Dr. Mikowsky was born Solomon Gadles in Cuba of Russian-Polish parentage and his mother’s maiden name was Mikowska. His early musical training was with Cesar Perez Sentenat, who had studied in Madrid with Cubiles and in Paris with Joaquin Nin, a pupil of Moszkowski, himself a pupil of Liszt. Later, he earned his degrees at the Juilliard School, working with Sascha Gorodnitzki (Bachelors and Masters degrees) and a doctorate from Columbia University. Frequently invited to serve on the juries of important international piano competitions, he has given master classes worldwide, and is the author of a book on nineteenth-century Cuban music.
Dr. Mikowsky with some of his international price winning students. Photo Credit: Brian Hatton
The impressive recitalists included two Domenico Scarlatti sonatas (A Minor, Longo 241, Kirkpatrick 54; and A Major, L. 395, K. 533) played with brilliant note-perfect fluency by Inesa Sinkevych, but with one gaffe: the printed program attributed them to Domenico’s father, Alessandro, 1660-1725 (who wrote vocal music!); Liszt’s F Minor Concert Etude, La Leggierezza (Ian Yungwook Yoo); Chopin’s C-sharp Minor Etude, Op. 10, No. 4 (Kookhee Hong); Albeniz’s Asturias (Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz); Albeniz’s Evocacion from Iberia (Gustavo Diaz-Jerez (who had originally intended to play El Puerto from the same work); Lecuona’s Cordoba (Yuan Sheng, who played lustily, although I have heard him play Bach wonderfully well and also had glowing words for his Schubert B flat Sonata, D. 960); the ubiquitous Albeniz Tango in Godowsky’s gussied-up arrangement (Ren Zhang); Scriabin’s Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op 8, No. 12 (Alexander Moutouzkine); Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante defunte” (Youngho Kim); Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Major, Op. 32, No. 5 (Wael Farouk, a Shura Cherkassy look-alike who I glowingly reviewed in New York Concert Review for his account of Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto with the MSM orchestra last year); Busoni’s Sonatine super Carmen No. 6, K. 284 (Kirill Gerstein, a recent Gilmore Artist Award and Avery Fisher Grant winner); and finally the Aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Simone Dinnerstein; truly an Aria da Capo; the first time I heard her play at the tender age of 11, Ms. Dinnerstein was a pupil of Dr. Mikowsky and she has many accomplishments to her credit in the intervening years—subsequent studies with Herbert Stessin, Maria Diamond (a student of Artur Schnabel) and Peter Serkin. Herself-produced CD of the Goldberg, now available on Telarc, has been acclaimed a best-seller).
I must comment that the room can accommodate an audience of 50, and that its acoustics are ideally crystal clear, absolutely perfect for the obvious ideals of Dr. Mikowsky’s taste for extreme digital clarity and articulation, Spartan and judicious pedaling and discipline, as opposed to an often esteemed and encountered murkiness that could (and often does) hide a multitude of sins by less technically adroit students.
The concert was followed by a lavish reception and dinner, capping a joyously memorable and touching occasion. Congratulations to all, and especially to Solomon Mikowsky!
-Harris Goldsmith for New York Concert Review; New York, NY
Photos of Opening Concert and reception on October 3rd, 2010
The Mikowsky Recital Hall at Manhattan School of Music
The Mikowsky Studio at Manhattan School of Music
The after-inauguration party starts! Dr. Mikowsky, a bit tipsy, sings and plays two songs (Cuban and Latin-American) surrounded by his Spanish speaking friends, who join in the singing.
Solomon Mikowsky has been called “one of the world’s most sought-after artist teachers” (Clavier), with “a magical ability to develop his piano students into artists” (Sur Exprčs). Included in Benjamin Saver’s The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the USA, he has been a member of the piano faculty at Manhattan School of Music for over 30 years and is recipient of the school’s Presidential Medal. He also a member of the Artist Faculty at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
His pupils have won over 100 top prizes in some of the most important international competitions, including the Gilmore Artist Award, the Avery Fisher Artist Career Grant and first prizes in the Rubinstein (Tel-Aviv), Santander, Beethoven (Bonn), Iturbi (Valencia), Maria Canals (Barcelona), Pilar Bayona (Zaragoza), Jaén, Andorra, Panama and New Orleans, and other top prizes in the Tchaikovsky, Dublin, Sviatoslav Richter (Moscow), Vianna da Motta (Lisbon), Porto, Villa del Mar (Chile), Cleveland, Montreal, Naumburg and E-Competition (Minneapolis).
They have performed as soloists with the Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Berlin, Budapest, Frankfurt, Jerusalem, Munich, St. Petersburg and Tokyo symphony orchestras; the BBC, Berlin, Dresden, London (Royal), Moscow, New York, Rotterdam and Israel philharmonic orchestras; the Zürich Tonhalle; the Dresden Staatskappelle Orchestra and the national orchestras of Finland, France, Mexico and the Czech Republic, with such noted conductors as Comissiona, Dudamel, Dutoit, Ehrling, Eschenbach, Fischer, Frübeck de Burgos, Gielen, Graf, Herbig, Macal, Masur, Semkow, Skrowaczewski and Zinman.
Solomon Mikowsky was born in Cuba of Russian-Polish parentage. His early training was with César Pérez Sentenat, who had studied in Madrid with Cubiles and in Paris with Joaquín Nin, a pupil of Moszkowski, himself a pupil of Liszt. He was later granted scholarships by the Cuban government and the Juilliard School to continue his studies in New York with Sascha Gorodnitzki, the foremost pupil of the legendary Russian virtuoso Josef Lhevinne, receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard and a doctorate from Columbia University.
Mikowsky is regularly invited to serve on the juries of some of the most important international piano competitions. He has given master classes at the leading conservatories in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Salzburg, London, Paris, Rotterdam, Madrid, Valencia, Istanbul, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and throughout Australia and the Far East. A Steinway Artist, he participated early on in festivals in France, Italy, Spain, Korea and Taiwan. During the summers, he directs his International Piano Festivals which consist of piano courses in various countries in Europe and Asia, and the participation of his piano students as performers in numerous recitals.
Mikowsky has published a book on nineteenth-century Cuban music, has contributed to Américas, the Organization of American States journal and has been featured in interviews in Clavier (USA), Chopin (Japan), Piano Artistry (China), Sur Exprčs (Spain) and Musica di Pianoforte (Korea). In recognition of his pedagogical contribution, Solomon Mikowsky has been awarded the Cintas Prize by the Institute of International Education.