Mannes College of Music, a division of the New School since 1989, is a world-renowned music conservatory located in New York City, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It boasts distinguished performance faculty and students from around the world, rigorous academic theory programs, and has been called a jewel among conservatories in the United States on account of its relatively small size and its unique supportive environment.
Originally called The David Mannes Music School, it was founded in 1916 by David Mannes, concertmaster of the New York Symphony Orchestra and Clara Damrosch, sister of Walter Damrosch, then conductor of that orchestra. Originally housed on East 70th Street (later occupied by the Dalcroze School), the campus was created out of three brownstones on East 74th St, in Manhattan's Upper East Side. After 1938, the school was known as the Mannes Music School (possibly in conjunction with the retirement of David and Clara Mannes from active teaching). In 1953 Mannes began offering degrees and changed its name to the Mannes College of Music. It later merged with the Chatham Square Music School. In 1984 the school moved to its current home on West 85th Street. In 1989 Mannes joined New School University, comprising eight schools (including Parsons School of Design, Eugene Lang College, and the New School for Drama). In 2005 Mannes changed its name to Mannes College the New School for Music.
All students at Mannes are expected to be well rounded in their musical studies beyond their particular major or field. Mannes's internationally renowned faculty is active in New York City's musical scene, and many are members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Opera, and also maintain active freelance or solo careers. Mannes is the host of several hundred concerts per year. Performed by both students and faculty, these concerts feature a wide variety of classical music from many eras, including modern premieres of works composed by the students and faculty at Mannes.
Though music theory was taught at Mannes from its inception, a major turning point occurred in 1931 with the hiring of Hans Weisse, one of the leading students of Heinrich Schenker. Over the following nine years, Weisse promoted not just the study of Schenkerian Analysis but began to incorporate it into the musical life of the school, including performance and composition. Because of his association with the school, Schenker's publication Five Graphic Music Analyses (Fünf Urlinie-Tafeln) was published jointly by his regular publisher, Universal-Edition and the David Mannes School in 1932.
In 1940, Weisse died unexpectedly and was replaced by Felix Salzer. Salzer, also a student of Schenker, built upon Weisse's foundation by reorganizing the theory program into the Techniques of Music department. The philosophy behind this move was and is to integrate musicianship, theory, and performance - which was based on Schenker's concept of the role of theory in music. Salzer's leading student, Carl Schachter, as well as his students, continued and strengthened the department.