Authored by John Blodgett
During the Fall 1976 semester Marymount Manhattan College differentiated from its growing dance, and theatre programs to introduce a concert series that brought classical music to New York City. Marymount Manhattan College was a religious college, and is a college that prides itself on diversity as its mission statement states, “Faithful to the vision of its founders, Marymount Manhattan has a long history of reaching out to diverse populations in need of higher education”(Marymount Manhattan College, n.d.). The Music Project was a key program in its promotion of Marymount Manhattan College’s goal to provide opportunities for diverse and underrepresented people. As the Music Project consisted of a group of musicians from across the world, and provided an opportunity for these musicians to start their careers.
Two of the most prominent and talented members of the 1976 Music Project were not originally from the United States, but were from Chile, and Israel. These two members were Veronica Salas who was born in Chile, and Robert Canetti who was born in Israel in 1948. Veronica Salas was a talented viola player, and Robert Canetti was a skilled violin player for the Music Project, and both would go on to have successful careers. However, these two talented musicians could not save the Music Project from the mixed reception that the 1976 concert series would receive. As critics like Joseph Horowitz from the New York Times would comment, “As each member of the group plays a different instrument, it has set out to explore deserving but seldom‐heard works for unorthodox instrumental combinations. The idea makes good sense, but its execution Sunday left something to be desired—though the playing wasn’t bad, it wasn’t very good, either”(Horowitz 1976, 36). One year later Donal Henahan also of the New York Times would state, “The entire production struck this observer as a mistake by the Music Project, which ought to be spending its time on seemingly less ambitious undertakings such as finding out how to make the Poulenc Sextet go”(Henahan 1977, 66). Despite the lack of success of the Music Project this served as a starting point for Salas and Canetti.
As these two talented musicians seized the opportunity presented by the Music Project to establish their own successful careers. Canetti would move on from the Music Project and in 1978 he would perform with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and in 1996 he would become the director of the New Israeli Chamber Ensemble(Bach Cantatas 2005). While Veronica Salas would go on to perform numerous soloist viola performances for Mostly Mozart, Aspen Music Festival, USC Symphony, CW Post Orchestra, Colonial and Westfield Symphonies, and would eventually become a professor at Long Island University(Saratoga Chamber Players, n.d.). The success of these musicians from foreign nations represented the goal of Marymount Manhattan College, and the Vincentian ideals to promote the under represented groups of diverse people.
Bach Cantatas. 2005. “Robert Canetti (Conductor, Violin).” Last modified October, 2005. http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Canetti-Robert.htm
Henahan, Donal. 1977. “Concert: Music Project Tries Collage.” The New York Times, November 3, 1977.
Horowitz, Joseph. 1976. “Music Project Plays Concert at Marymount.” The New York Times, October 12, 1976. https://www.nytimes.com/1976/10/12/archives/music-project-plays-concert-at-marymount.html?auth=login-email
Marymount Manhattan College. n.d. “History.” Accessed March 26, 2019. https://www.mmm.edu/about-us/history.php
Saratoga Chamber Players. n.d. “Veronica Salas, Viola.” Accessed March 26, 2019.http://www.saratogachamberplayers.org/artists/veronica-salas/