“When I decided to create the Mikowsky Recital Hall at Manhattan School of Music in 2010 (expanded in 2018), where I had been teaching since 1969, choosing Steinway for both the concert hall's grand and 2 professional grands for backstage and for my new studio was the logical result of years of satisfaction with the unique qualities of the Steinway piano that no other instrument could match. Likewise, Steinway was the inspiration for my gift of 2 concert grands to 2 concert halls in Havana, where I was born, and 2 pianos for the Mikowsky Recital Hall at the Chicago College of the Performing arts, where I also taught for 11 years.”
A longtime member of the Piano Faculty at Manhattan School of Music and cited as “one of the world’s most sought-after artist teachers, for reasons that are not hard to come by” (Clavier, USA), Solomon Mikowsky is renowned for his “magical ability to develop his piano students into artists” (Sur Exprès, France). He is also featured in Benjamin Saver’s The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the USA and in leading music journals in China, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Cuba and the US.
His students have won over 150 international piano competitions, including the Rubinstein in Tel-Aviv (Gerstein, Moutouzkine, Sinkevych); Tchaikovsky in Moscow (Arrieta); the Gilmore Artist Award and Avery Fisher Career Grant (Gerstein); Richter in Moscow, Beethoven in Bonn and Santander (Yungwook Yoo); Rachmaninoff in Moscow (Jae-Hee Kim); Astral in Philadelphia (Dinnerstein and Moutouzkine); Schumann in Leipzig (Nara); Dublin (Gerstein); Vianna da Motta in Lisbon (Sinkevych, Yungwook Yoo); Iturbi in Valencia (Arrieta, Cruz, Melikyan, Moutouzkine,); Canals in Barcelona (Akagi, Cho, Cruz, Diaz-Jerez, Gerstein, Kookhee Hong, Méndez, Moutouzkine, Sinkevych,); Jaén (Cruz, Diaz-Jerez, Jung-Eun Lee, Yuan Sheng, Sinkevych, Chun Wang, Jingjing Wang); Pilar Bayona in Zaragoza (Cruz, Diaz-Jerez, Gerstein, Youngho Kim, Méndez, Moutouzkine, Soderberg); Bachauer in Utah (Floril); Chopin Kosciuszco in New York (Brewster, Floril, Gerstein, Rexa Han, Kent, Youngho Kim, Namirovsky, Yungwook Yoo,); Chopin Munz at MSM (Beliakovich, Floril, Kosmieja, Namirovsky); Rubinstein Award, Cervantes in Cuba and China International (Yuan Sheng); Cherkassky Award (Ren Zhang); Van Cliburn (Special Prize); Naumburg, Cleveland, New Orleans, Montreal, Cervantes in Cuba and China International (Moutouzkine); and Panama (Beliakovich, Buxton, Darias, Kookhe Hong, Khanina, Khoowon Kim, Moutouzkine, Neeman, Sinkevych, Chun and Jingjing Wang, Yungwook Yoo); among many others.
They have appeared as soloists with the New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Minnesota, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles symphony orchestras in the US; with the Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden, Vienna, London, Amsterdam, Moscow and St. Petersburg orchestras in Europe; and the Israel Philharmonic, under such noted conductors as Barenboim, Dudamel, Eschenbach, Fisher, Jurowsky, Masur, Metha and Maazel.
They have also been guests of the Aspen, BBC Proms, Blossom, Bowdoin, Caramoor, Edinburgh, La Roque d’Anthéron, Lucerne, Lincoln Center´s Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Salzburg, Tanglewood, Vail and Verbier summer festivals.
Mikowsky has adjudicated many of the most important international competitions. He has also conducted master classes at the leading conservatories in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Warsaw, Salzburg, London, Paris, Leipzig, Rotterdam, Madrid, Tel Aviv, and throughout Asia and Australia. During summers, he has directed his International Piano Festivals in Spain and in Cuba, with dozens of his students performing with the leading symphony orchestras of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Tenerife, Las Palmas and Havana.
Solomon Mikowsky was born in Cuba to a Belorussian father and a Polish mother. His early training was with César Pérez Sentenat, who had studied in Paris with Joaquín Nín, a student of Liszt’s eminent pupil, Moritz Moszkowski. He was granted scholarships by the Cuban government and the Juilliard School to study in New York with Sascha Gorodnitzki, foremost pupil of the legendary Russian virtuoso Josef Lhevinne.
He also studied composition with Persichetti, orchestral conducting with Mester, choral conducting with Kaplan, chamber music with Persinger (pupil of Ysaÿe and teacher of Menuhin), as well as organ, trumpet, clarinet and violin. He later received a doctoral degree from Columbia University. His dissertation, Ignacio Cervantes and the XIX-Century Cuban Danza, as well as an article for Américas, the journal of the Organization of American States, have been published in various languages.
A member of the Manhattan School of Music faculty since 1969, he was awarded the School’s Presidential Medal and honored with a tribute to his 50 years of teaching with a concert that featured some of his outstanding students, including the 7 alumni who have joined him on the piano faculty. He has also received the Cintas award by the Institute of International Education and a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Instituto Superior de Arte of Cuba. The Solomon Mikowsky Recital Hall was inaugurated in 2010 and expanded in 2018 in conjunction with the school’s centennial. The adjacent Studio and Gallery feature the many prizes won by his students throughout his teaching career.
Mikowsky has also gifted halls and Steinway pianos to the Chicago College of Performing Arts, where he also taught, and to Havana, his native city. The Piano Teaching Legacy of Solomon Mikowsky, a book by his long-time student Kookhee Hong, has been published in Germany in English by Lambert Publishers and is also available in Spanish, Chinese and Korean editions.