mannes school of music appoints toyin spellman-diaz and ryan roberts to faculty

Ryan Roberts and Toyin Spellman-Diaz
May 6, 2022, New York - Mannes School of Music at The New School's College of Performing Arts announced today that acclaimed oboists Toyin Spellman-Diaz and Ryan Roberts have joined the Mannes Woodwind faculty, co-chaired by Rebekah Heller and Judith Mendenhall. 

At Mannes, Spellman-Diaz, an original member of Imani Winds, and Roberts, the solo English hornist of the New York Philharmonic, will both serve on the major lesson faculty in the Woodwinds Department and will also collaborate with students and faculty across the college in a wide range of special projects, productions, and courses.

“It gives me double the pleasure to see two fine artist-educators join the Mannes faculty. I have known Toyin’s practice for many years now and admired her playing and vision for the future of music. Recently, I have also gotten to know Ryan, as a person and a player, and have been greatly impressed by him. Two stellar new faculty members, joining a long-standing high-profile wind faculty, makes me wish I could enroll as a student again,” said Richard Kessler, Executive Dean of the College of Performing Arts and Dean of Mannes

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Mannes wind faculty. It has been amazing to watch the growth of the institution over the past decade. I cannot wait to work with the amazing oboe team, the stellar wind and chamber music faculty, and the whole New School system to encourage the students to build fulfilling, innovative careers!” said Spellman-Diaz.

"I feel truly honored to be joining the oboe faculty at Mannes. The school’s commitment to training insightful, versatile musicians is evident in its many inspiring students and alumni, and I look forward to contributing my enthusiasm to this vision," said Roberts.

About Toyin Spellman-Diaz 

Oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz grew up surrounded by her parents’ enormous record collection in Washington, DC. It was there she absorbed the many layers of classical music’s beauty and the inspiring and uniting potential of the world’s diverse cultural landscape.

Spellman-Diaz earned her Bachelors of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and her Master’s and Professional Studies degrees at the Manhattan School of Music. Her orchestral career includes performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. 

Hailed by the Washington Post for her “smooth, controlled tone and excellent technique,” she has performed concertos with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Manhattan Virtuosi, and with the Kennedy Center Youth Orchestra. 

An original member of Imani Winds, Spellman-Diaz has built her career as a champion of contemporary chamber music. Along with her Imani Winds colleagues, she is devoted to discovering new and diverse musical voices and cultures to increase and enhance the woodwind quintet repertoire. She has also collaborated with some of today’s most influential chamber music ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, the Antara Ensemble and Camerata Pacifica.

About Ryan Roberts

Recognized for his “beautiful”, “eloquent”, “exquisite” and “alluring solo playing” by the New York Times, Ryan Roberts is the solo English hornist of the New York Philharmonic and a member of the oboe faculty at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. Roberts has performed as guest principal oboe and English horn with many of the country's leading orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. 

A passionate teacher, Roberts has worked with students in the US and abroad at The Juilliard School, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes School of Music, the New World Symphony, and the music schools of Montclair State University, Cal State Long Beach, UC Irvine, and Chapman University. An award-winning soloist, Roberts received first prize at the International Double Reed Society's Young Artist Competition and the National Society of Arts and Letters' Woodwind Competition. Before joining the New York Philharmonic, Ryan spent one season as a member of the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson-Thomas.

In 2018, Roberts premiered Michael Torke’s Oboe Concertino with the Albany Symphony and recorded the work for Albany Records. An avid chamber musician, Ryan performs at the Marlboro Music Festival during the summer under artistic directors Mitsuko Uchida and Jonathan Biss; he has also collaborated in recitals with the Pacifica Quartet, Emanuel Ax, the Gamut Bach Ensemble, and Musicians from Marlboro at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. As a Kovner Fellow graduate of The Juilliard School, Roberts studied with Elaine Douvas and appeared frequently as principal oboe and English horn in the Juilliard Orchestra. Roberts has been a member of the New York String Orchestra Seminar and spent three summers as the oboe fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. Ryan is also an accomplished pianist, and made his concerto debut at age 11.

Founded in 1916 by America’s first great violin recitalist and noted educator, David Mannes, Mannes School of Music is a standard-bearer for innovative artistry, dedicated to developing citizen artists who seek to make the world a better and more beautiful place. Through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs, Mannes offers a curriculum as imaginative as it is rigorous, taught by a world-class faculty and visiting artists. Distinguished Mannes alumni include the 20th-century songwriting legend Burt Bacharach, the great pianists Richard Goode, Murray Perahia, and Bill Evans, acclaimed conductors Semyon Bychkov, Myung-Whun Chung, Joann Falleta, and Julius Rudel, beloved mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, as well as the great opera stars of today, Yonghoon Lee, Danielle de Niese, and Nadine Sierra.

The College of Performing Arts at The New School (CoPA) was formed in 2015 and draws together the iconic Mannes School of Music, the legendary School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the ground-breaking School of Drama. With each school contributing its unique culture of creative excellence, the College of Performing Arts is a hub for cross-disciplinary collaboration, bold experimentation, innovative education, and world-class performances.

The over 1,100 students at CoPA are actors, performers, writers, improvisers, creative technologists, entrepreneurs, composers, arts managers, and multidisciplinary artists who believe in the transformative power of the arts for all people. Students and faculty at CoPA collaborate with colleagues across The New School in a wide array of disciplines, from the visual arts and fashion design, to the social sciences, public policy, advocacy, and more. 

The curriculum at CoPA is dynamic, inclusive, and responsive to the changing arts and culture landscape. New degrees and coursework, like the new graduate degrees for Performer-Composers and Artist Entrepreneurs are designed to challenge highly skilled artists to experiment, innovate, and engage with the past, present, and future of their artforms. New York City’s Greenwich Village provides the backdrop for the College of Performing Arts, which is housed at Arnhold Hall on West 13th Street and the historic Westbeth Artists Community on Bank Street.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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