Recent Passings:

We were recently informed of the passing of Perry Robinson, M&A ’56. His classmate, Happy Traum, just sent out a message regarding his passing:

Perry was a clarinetist of some note, mainly in avant-garde jazz circles, but he came out of a rich folk tradition. His dad was Earl Robinson, the leftist composer, arranger and writer of songs such as “Joe Hill” and “Ballad for Americans.” I saw Perry occasionally through the years, and he was always a genial, sweet-hearted but decidedly eccentric figure, always loving to me when I met up with him. We played together once or twice over the years, mainly (as I remember) at benefit concerts of some kind. He’s one of the people I remember very clearly from high school.

We were recently informed of the passing of Isabelle Schwartz Kary, M&A ’54.

We are sad to report the passing of Linda Shiers, M&A ’63, who passed away on November 21, 2018. She studied viola while at Music & Art, but made piano “her lifelong joy”. Following her graduation from M&A she held a variety of jobs, but found her true calling as a stage and production manager for theater and television. Among the television shows she worked on was Sally Jesse Raphael, Montel Williams and Joe Franklin. Read her full obituary here.

We were recently notified that Nita Thorner Goldstein passed away on July 14, 2018.



We are sad to report the passing of Jack J. Freiwald (M&A 53), who passed away on May 31, 2018. His daughter, Jessica Freiwald Watt, recently wrote to let us know of his passing and said that her father “always spoke highly of his years at Music & Art – saying how this school set him up for success and a life fueled with art and literature.”



We are sad to report that Gail Kaplan, M&A ’55, passed away on September 26, 2018. She was a retired after having been a New York City public school teacher and guidance counselor for many years.



We are sad to report the passing of Richard Gesualdo. He had been the Chair of the Foreign Language department first at Music & Art, and then at LaGuardia.



We are sad to report the recent passing of David Wise (M&A ’47), esteemed author and journalist, and Editor-In-Chief of Overture, the school paper, while he was a student at M&A. Mr. Wise was 88.

Following his graduation from M&A, Mr. Wise attended Columbia College where he became the editor of their newspaper, The Spectator. He began his long career in journalism as a stringer for The Herald Tribune. He joined their staff in 1951, and later moved to Washington DC to cover politics and the White House for them. He became their bureau chief in 1963 until the paper closed in 1966.

Following his tenure at The Herald Tribune, he began to write extensively about espionage. Over 15 fiction and nonfiction books of his have been published, many of which told the stories of some of the country’s most notorious spies.  Please read his full New York Times obituary here.




We are very sad to report the sudden passing of musician Jerry González (M&A ’67). He died at his home in Madrid, Spain on October 1, 2018 as the result of smoke inhalation from a fire. He was 69 years old.

He was a prominent figure in in Latin jazz; a talented trumpeter and percussionist. The Fort Apache Band, which he formed with his bass-playing brother, Andy González (M&A ’69), almost 40 years ago, was known for being influential and adventurous – reflecting the music of New York. He is quoted as saying “This is New York music. We play music influenced by everything we’ve experienced here. We play Mongo Santamaria, John Coltrane and James Brown all at the same time.”  We extend our sympathies to Jerry’s brother Andy and the rest of his family.

Read the full New York Times obituary here.

Arthur Mitchell (PA ’52), the groundbreaking founding director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, passed away on September 19. He was 84.

Mr. Mitchell, following his graduation from Performing Arts, was hired by George Balanchine in 1955 to dance for the New York City Ballet, where he dazzled audiences until 1968. In 1969 he co-founded the Dance Theater of Harlem, as he felt an urgency following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King to provide the children of Harlem the same opportunities he had been given.

Mr. Mitchell became artistic director emeritus of Dance Theater of Harlem in 2011. Just this past August he returned to oversee the production of one of his older ballets, “Tones II.” It is to be performed in April of 2019, to commemorate Dance Theater’s 50th anniversary.

Arthur Miller had a passion for dance and believed in the trans formative power of the arts. He once said, “Anyone living without the arts in their lives is living in a desert.”

Read his obituary in the New York Times, and listen to a piece on NPR.