Recent Passings:

Vivian Greenberg Hirshen, M&A '53

Vivian Greenberg Hirshen, M&A ’53, died on July 15, 2022 in Berkeley, CA. Following graduation at M&A where she studied piano and played oboe, she attended Hunter College and received her M.A. at U.C. Berkeley in early childhood education. She was predeceased by her husband and high school sweetheart Sanford Hirshen, also M&A ’53. Vivian and Sanford moved to Berkeley in 1964, where Vivian made her impact as a schoolteacher then educational testing and assessment specialist at the Bay Center for Educational Services, which she co-founded, and finally in her own practice. They lived in Vancouver, B.C. for 20 years and moved back to Berkeley in 2009 to be close to family and friends. Vivian continued her practice there and volunteered in the public schools, improving the quality of life for many children and families through her work.Vivian leaves behind her children, Julie and Richard Hirshen, a sister, Florence, a brother and sister in-law, Al and Julie.

Charlotte Berger Bondy, M&A '50

Charlotte Berger Bondy, M&A ’50, passed away on Friday, July 22, 2022 at age 90. She was a talented soprano singer, who following her graduation from M&A, sang on demo records and later sang parts in an East Brunswick, NJ community theater company, where a reviewer said she had “the voice of an angel.” Charlotte escaped Nazi Germany as a six year old child, fleeing with her family by train and hiding a few precious jewels in her half-violin. Her family took a boat to Cuba, and two years later found a sponsor who helped them emigrate to the United States, where they settled in Washington Heights and opened a handmade candy store. Charlotte is survived by a daughter, Larisa, a son, Filip; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her husband Ota, whom she married when she was 18, passed away in 2011.  Please read her full obituary here.

Jeffrey Havener, M&A '65

Jeffrey Havener, M&A ’65, passed away on July 17, 2022. Following graduation from Music and Art, Jeff joined the Hare Krishna organization and moved to an ashram in Old Delhi, India where he became a key player in the publication of their international magazine “Back to Godhead.” After three years, he became their print shop manager in (then West) Germany. Jeff married within the community and had a son, Aaron Charles. After returning to NYC in 1972, Jeff divorced and moved to Florida where he became involved in print shop management. Jeff moved to Portland in 1975 and spent the rest of his life in Oregon, where he lived for 20 years in a community off the grid, and led of life of service, volunteering for many organizations including Meals on Wheels and the Fish Pantry of Roseburg, Oregon. He is survived by his children, Aaron Charles and Sasha, brothers Kevin and Glenn (and wife Claudia) and his wife Kathy Shayler. Read his full obituary here.

Richard Taruskin, M&A '61

Richard Taruskin, M&A ’61, a commanding musicologist and public intellectual whose polemical scholarship and criticism upended conventional classical music history, died on July 1, 2022. He was 77. An emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a specialist in Russian music, Mr. Taruskin was the author of a number of groundbreaking musicological studies, including the sweeping six-volume Oxford History of Western Music. He was also a contributor to The New York Times, where his trenchant, witty, and erudite writings represented a bygone era in which clashes over the meaning of classical music held mainstream import. Please read his full obituary in the NY Times here.

Martin Dreiwitz, M&A '49

Martin C. Dreiwitz, M&A ’49, who drew on his twin passions for travel and classical music to found the globe-trotting Long Island Youth Orchestra, conducting his student musicians before audiences as close as Great Neck and Brookville and as far away as Karachi and Kathmandu, died on June 20, 2022 at a hospital near his home in Oyster Bay, N.Y. He was 91.

Dreiwitz established the Long Island Youth Orchestra in 1962 after one of his young students lamented that they would have to wait years in order to play with a major orchestra. Dreiwitz launched the organization, holding auditions and initially bringing together over 50 young musicians. He incorporated his love of travel, acting as the orchestra’s travel agent and taking them all around the world. He conducted every performance from its founding in 1962 to his retirement in 2012.  Please read his full obituary in the NY Times here.

Harvey Dinnerstein, M&A '46

We were sorry to learn of the passing of artist Harvey Dinnerstein, M&A ’46 on June 21, 2022. He was 94 years old. In addition to studying art at M&A, he also studied at The Art Students League, and began teaching there in 1980. He influenced generations of students dedicated to the figurative tradition—including many who became instructors at the Art Students League. Harvey’s works are in the permanent collections of many museums, including The Met, the Whitney and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Two books have been published on his work, Harvey Dinnerstein: Artist at Work (1978) and Underground Together: The Art and Life of Harvey Dinnerstein (2008). Harvey’s work is currently included in an exhibit Imprinted: Illustrating Race at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He was the subject of a recent interview from the Smithsonian American Art Museum where he talks about finding inspiration for his work in the everyday – and in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Please watch the interview here. And read his NY Times obituary here.

Sydney Laibson, M&A '42

We sadly announce the passing of Sydney Laibson on June 18, 2022. Read his obituary here.

Arnold Skolnick, M&A '54

Arnold Skolnick (M&A ’54), who designed the original poster for Woodstock in 1969, passed away June 15, 2022. He graduated from New York’s Pratt Institute in 1958 and later studied at the Art Students League of New York. He was an artist and designer for the Young & Rubicam advertising agency for several years before starting a freelance business. The Woodstock poster was not Mr. Skolnick’s only memorable visual image. In 1971, he designed the book jacket for Ralph Nader’s “What to Do With Your Bad Car: An Action Manual for Lemon Owners.” Read more about Arnold here.

Bernard Wright, PA '80

Bernard Wright, Performing Arts ’80, passed away on May 19, 2022 at the age of 58. Known affectionately as ‘Nard, Wright was born in Jamaica, Queens. In 1981, Wright released his debut album under the same aforementioned moniker, before its re-release in 2001. He went on to release two more albums, 1983’s Funky Beat and 1985’s Mr. Wright, where the latter featured his hit single, “Who Do You Love” (which later became the title sequence of Video Music Box). His music has been prominently sampled by the likes of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and fellow Queens native, LL Cool J. Throughout his career, Wright has also appeared on recordings by Doug E. Fresh, Cameo, Bobby Brown, and Miles Davis. Wright is the godson and former music director of R&B/soul legend Roberta Flack. Please read an obituary here.

James Elliot Bama, M&A '44

We are sorry to relay the passing of James Elliot Bama, M&A ’44, who died peacefully on April 24, 2022 at age 95, just a few days shy of his 96th birthday. He was a prolific artist, who created dozens of paperback covers for serial novels including “Doc Savage” and “Star Trek.” He created movie posters and produced illustrations for such publications as “Reader’s Digest” and “The Saturday Evening Post.” He eventually left the commercial art world after he relocated to Cody, Wyoming, where he concentrated on his own artwork inspired by the rugged West. His realistic works often depicted Native Americans and cowboys. He was an award winning artist, inducted into the Illustrator’s Hall of Fame in 2008. James Bama was a generous supporter of LaGuardia students, having established a fund that provides an annual award to a graduating LaGuardia art student. Please read his full obituary here.