The Mannes School of Music prides itself on creating “fearless artists” by offering its students a dynamic integration of rigorous training and real-world experience to make their musical careers a reality.
Further, the school is well aware of the opportunities NYC offers aspiring and established musicians. Combining old world traditions with the advantage of being part of The New School, Mannes knows how to train musicians for the 21st century.
Established in 1916 as a community music school, Mannes soon evolved into the world-class college conservatory it is today.
The school was founded by David Mannes, a Polish Immigrant baker, and his wife Clara Damrosch, the daughter of eminent conductor Leopold Damrosch.
For both, music was more than a profession, it was also a essential part of life. The school quickly grew in fame and attracted teachers such as: conductor George Szell, the composers Georges Enesco and Bohuslav Martinů, and Hans Weisse.
In 1940, the couples’ son Leopold Mannes transformed the school and obtained a charter from the State of New York to become a degree-granting college.
In 1984, the school joined The New School for Social Research (simply known as The New School now).
To this day, Mannes holds true to its original founders’ vision. The school remains committed to a devotion to music combined with a dedication to its surrounding communities.
For music students looking for a balance between tradition and an awareness of the rapidly changing demands of the profession, Mannes is an excellent choice.
According the school’s website, the number of accepted students varies each year, but “we generally admit about one third of applicants.”
A more reliable number would be about a 24% acceptance rate for Mannes; of course, putting it more in reach than say Juilliard.
Keep in mind sometimes the numbers just don’t work to your advantage. For example, teachers can only take on a certain number of students for a given instrument each year. In these cases, musicians who apply for maxed-out studios are usually refunded their application fee and told no one who plays their instrument will be accepted that particular year.
Tuition & Fees
For undergraduates, the tuition for Mannes is $24,300 per term (so $48,600 per academic year).
For graduates, the tuition is slightly lower at $45,776 per year. Room and board at Mannes is reasonable given the cost of living in NYC. A shared room starts at $19,200 per year and students can choose from several meal plans, the most expensive starting at $1,850 per year.
If you do need financial help to pay for additional costs at Mannes, we recommend you apply for support through FAFSA, which can also be used to cover expenses above and beyond tuition costs.
Requirements and Admissions Tips
Mannes offers both a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music. Fields of study include: Orchestral Instruments (Brass, Strings, Woodwinds), Piano, Harpsichord, Voice, Classical Guitar, Orchestral Conducting, Composition, and Theory. For those of you pursuing Jazz, you’d apply to the Jazz School at The New School and for those of you pursing drama, you’d apply to The School of Drama at the New School.
To apply to Mannes, you must submit your supplemental materials (such as your transcripts, recommendations, and essays), your common app, your prescreening (if applicable) using the electronically submitted Acceptd site, and (if invited) a live audition. You can find a complete and detailed list of application instructions to Mannes here.
If you are accepted to audition at Mannes, I would recommend you schedule a lesson with a faculty member in the department you are interested in enrolling into at Mannes prior to your audition.
Knowing how a specific teacher works with you is critical for determining if a school is a good fit. Also, if they like you and your playing in your lesson together, your chance for getting in might be higher. Keep in mind this is only a recommendation and not a fact in every instance.
If you work with Music School Central in our college consulting program, we can help facilitate a meeting with you and a member of the faculty at Mannes, or nearly any other program in the world.
Of course, Mannes has some very impressive alumni including: Mary Hamman, violist with the Met Opera since 1992, and member of the award-winning trio, Auréole; Pianist Murray Perahia, recipient of two Grammy Awards for his recordings of Chopin’s complete Etudes and Bach’s English Suites Nos. 1, 3 and 6; and violist Nardo Poy, an Associate Musician with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1990 and member of the world-renowned Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
At Mannes, you’ll study with some impressive faculty including Pulitzer and Grammy Award Winners. All of Mannes’ faculty are professional musicians that truly understand the challenges facing their students. There are far too many faculty members to list in full, but here are a few.
Michael Bacon is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and film score composer; he’s also the older brother of Kevin Bacon. He’s composed hundreds of songs for television and film including: The Johnstown Flood, A Place in the Land, and Academy Award winning A Time for Justice.
Richard Goode is an American classical pianist and Grammy Award winner for Best Chamber Music Performance: Richard Goode & Richard Stoltzman for Brahms. Finally, there is composition faculty member Missy Mazzoli. Her music has been performed by the Kronos Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra, and eighth blackbird, to name a few. Talk about some impressive faculty!
At Music School Central, we rank Mannes highly – it is a top music school on the east coast and a school that has dramatically ascended in reputation over the last few years.
Well known throughout the years as one of the top music theory schools, today the school is particularly well known for its classical voice and composition programs, among many of its other divisions.
In fact, many of the same faculty at Mannes also teach at Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, and many other top music schools in the northeast.
Keep in mind, our rankings and opinions are only meant as a guide and finding the right music school for you can often be a complex and challenging task. I encourage you to visit schools, meet people at the schools, and perhaps even sit in on classes to get the feeling if Mannes, or any school, is the right-fit for you.
Mannes offers merit-based scholarships based on your application and audition. Typically, any merit-based scholarship will be applied to your tuition. Scholarships at Mannes range anywhere from $1,000 to full tuition and do not require repayment.
If you need additional support to help fund other expenses, you can apply through FAFSA to maximize opportunities for receiving financial aid. Grants and loans from FAFSA can help pay for additional costs at Mannes.
Is Mannes Right for Me?
Of course, the opportunity to attend a music program located in one of the most prestigious music cities in the world makes Mannes an extremely attractive draw. That said, life in NYC is understandably not for everyone. So if you prefer a more low-key experience, you’d be advised to look elsewhere. One major drawback to NYC is, of course, the high cost of living even for what is essentially an apartment not much larger than a closet.
For Mannes and many other schools, the application process can be confusing and difficult to navigate. There are many parts to understanding how to truly and successfully succeed in the audition process.
At Music School Central, all of our students work closely with Bill Zuckerman, President of Music School Central, as well as his team of talented associates.
If you are interested in attending college for music, and you would like to receive high level assistance in how to audition, interview, and master the college application for Mannes or any other music school, check out Music School Central’s College Counseling Program.