Skip to main content

Mannes School of Music photograph collection

Identifier: MA-04-01-01


This collection contains several thousand photographs relating to the Mannes School of Music, from its early days in the 1910s through the 2000s, primarily representing the 1970s through the 1990s. Included are images of Mannes buildings; performances put on by different Mannes ensembles; administrative and academic events; the Mannes family; and Mannes personnel, including students, faculty, alumni, and guest artists and performers.


  • circa 1914-2004



3.8 Cubic Feet (9 folders; 8 folders; 1 CD)

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection contains several thousand photographs relating to the Mannes School of Music, from its early years in the early 20th century through the 2000s, although the majority of the material dates from the 1970s and 1980s. It includes images of the first two buildings that housed the school, ensembles and performances and productions, and events; faculty, students, alumni, guest artists, and the founders of the school, the Mannes family.

The collection is arranged in five series. The first series contains images of the first two Mannes buildings, both in Manhattan. The original building was located on East 70th St., from 1916 until 1984, and its second home on West 85th St., where the school remained located until 2014, when it moved to 55 West 13th Street.

The second series, Ensembles and productions, features photographs of performances and productions by the various Mannes and affiliated ensembles, including the Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program, the Mannes Orchestra, the Camerata, and the Opera. The bulk of the material in this series pertains to the Opera. The date range of these items is from the early 20th century to the 2000s, largely focusing on the 1980s.

The third series consists of non-musical events held at or sponsored by Mannes, including benefits, receptions, and, most prominently, commencement, mostly in the 1980s.

The fourth series comprises images of the Mannes faculty, students, alumni, and guest artists, as well as of the preparatory division for pre-college students, primarily dating from the 1970s and 1980s. Also included are images of the Fontainebleau music school in France, with which Mannes had a long-term association. Lists of personnel featured in the photographs can be found in the series and item descriptions. Researchers should note that, while this series focuses on Mannes personnel, images of the various people involved with the school are found throughout the collection.

The fifth and final series contains photographs of the founders of the school, David and Clara Mannes, and their son Leopold. Included are images of David, Clara, and Leopold separate and together, performing, and at school functions. This material largely dates from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Language of Materials

English, French

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Historical Note

Mannes School of Music is the music conservatory of The New School. The school was founded as the David Mannes Music School in 1916 by musicians and educators David Mannes and Clara Damrosch Mannes. It was originally located on Manhattan's Upper East Side, on East 70th Street. In 1938, after David and Clara Mannes retired from teaching, the school changed its name to the Mannes Music School.

In 1953, Mannes began offering degrees, and became the Mannes College of Music. At this time, the school's director, Felix Salzer, organized Mannes' curriculum, called the Techniques of Music program, and dramatically expanded its scope and prestige. The many prominent students included Burt Bacharach, Julius Rudel, Eugene Istomin, and George Rochberg. In the 1960s, Richard Goode, Murray Perahia, and Frederica von Stade all graduated from Mannes in the same class. In later years, Semyon Bychkov, Michel Camilo, JoAnn Falletta, Tim Page, Shulamit Ran, Lara St. John, and numerous other alumni went on to achieve prominence.

In 1984, under the leadership of Charles Kaufman, the school moved to West 85th Street, and soon thereafter became affiliated with the New School, in 1989. Kaufman oversaw a significant improvement of the school, which now included concert halls, a library, and a dormitory; an expanded faculty; the creation of early-music preparatory and graduate programs and the Mannes Camerata, dedicated to performing medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music; and the reinvigoration of the school's finances. Much of the material in this collection documents Mannes under Kaufman's leadership.

The violinist and theorist Joel Lester was dean of Mannes from 1996 to 2011,and transformed Mannes into a modern conservatory. Under his tenure, the opera program and faculty were expanded, and in 2005 Mannes's name changed once again, becoming the Mannes School of Music at The New School.

In 2015, under the leadership of dean Richard Kessler, Mannes moved once more, joining the rest of the New School in Greenwich Village, in a new home in Arnhold Hall, at 55 West 13th Street. At its new location, Mannes continues to modernize, transforming its curriculum to highlight the role of music in society and develop citizen artists who engage with the world around them through established and emerging forms of practice.

Sources: Message from the Dean, by Richard Kessler: Mannes on the Move: History of Manens:

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject in 5 series: 1. Buildings, 1916-1984; 2. Ensembles, 1900s-2000s; 3. Events, 1971-2008; 4. Faculty, students, alumni, and guest artists, 1929-2004; 5. Mannes family, 1914-1950s.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to the New School Archives and Special Collections from Scherman Library between 2013-2015.

Guide to the Mannes School of Music photograph collection
Aaron Winslow
June 2, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description