Mannes School of Music students rally behind faculty on strike with series of concerts
Students from the Mannes School of Music supported the part-time faculty who have been on strike for almost three weeks with a series of free performances.
Jannik Horlitz's fourth semester at the Mannes School of Music was cut short when most of his teachers went on strike. But when one of them asked him to perform in a concert less than two days away, he didn't hesitate.
"I was actually in a theatre during intermission seeing a different show and I saw the email on my phone, and I said, 'let's do it,'" Horlitz said.
The email came from pianist and Park Slope native Simona Dinnerstein.
"I teach piano at the Mannes School of Music which is part of the New School," Dinnerstein explained
Dinnerstein and more than 1,000 of the New School's part-time faculty have been on strike since Nov. 16.
"We've been trying to negotiate with the university since last April, so it's really been a difficult process," Dinnerstein said.
Close to 90% of music teachers at Mannes are part-time, so most of their classes and recitals have been canceled.
This week, current and former students showcased their talents in a series of free concerts in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
"We just want to come together and play music and do what we love the most, and dedicate this performance to the part-time faculty," Horlitz said.
To make sure they could perform without crossing the picket line, the Brooklyn Old Stone House in Park Slope offered its second floor for Sunday's performances.
Julian Jenson graduated from Mannes last May and he said his teachers have become family.
"I had to come out and support. These people gave so much of their time and resources for me to be a better musician and to have more opportunities in art, so the very least I can do is to come and show my solidarity," Jenson said.
The musicians will also do another free performance on Monday evening at the Old Stone House.
The concert starts at 7 p.m. and spectators are free to come in and out throughout the evening.