REUNIONS AROUND THE NATION 2009
High School Reunions: Music and Art, New York City
Originally, the “Castle on the Hill”, as its students called Music and Art High School in the 50s and 60s, occupied a lofty perch almost adjacent to The City College of New York, on 137th Street and Convent Avenue. Comprised of talented and gifted students from all parts of New York City, from all ethnic groups, from all socio-economic levels, long before the concerted effort to integrate all groups became the education mantra, the school was an idyllic place for study and music. The dean, Mr. Kane, a walking lexicon of 8 letter words, was certainly not a figure to be feared. The string ensemble and violin teacher, Mr. Isidore Russ, was indelibly etched in the hearts and minds of his students. To this day, 40 years later, all his students can echo the familiar refrain, “make your fingers into little hammers and come down hard on the strings!”
Recently, graduate Steve Lubin, a Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase, gave a brilliant performance of the Schubert Sonata in Bb and the Chopin Sonata No. 3 in B Minor at the Bechstein Piano Center in New York City. He ended with his own delightful composition called “Rag.” Composer, performer, intellectual, professor, he personifies the term “Music and Art High School graduate.”
Other students in the class were Erica Jong, Caroline Birenbaum, Paul Shapshak, Vivian Fenster, Gloria Stern and so many more.
“Meet me under Toscanini,” most students said to their friends, referring to the sculpture in the main lobby of the old building, which still occupies a place of honor in the relatively new quarters near Lincoln Center. Alumni can still echo the refrain as they meet after many years, devoted to the ideals and education that the school provided to its community of students.#