the new school's college of performing arts appoints jeffrey zeigler director of mannes prep

Jeffrey Zeigler

July 12, 2021, New York - Cellist, educator, and musical leader Jeffrey Zeigler has been appointed as Director of Mannes Prep. Zeigler will oversee the 105-year-old pre-college program of the College of Performing Arts (CoPA), with its 100-plus member faculty and approximately 300 students, ages four to 18 years of age. 

“Years before I met Jeff Zeigler I was deeply impressed by his playing after having heard him many times as cellist with the Kronos Quartet. Subsequently I’ve gotten to know him well, seen him teach, lead, and be the most wonderful colleague. I am thrilled that Jeff has accepted this important position and eager to see the wonderful things he will do guiding Mannes Prep into a bright future,” said Richard Kessler, Executive Dean of the College of Performing Arts and Dean of the Mannes School of Music.

As Director of Mannes Prep, Zeigler will also become a member of the Deans Council of the College of Performing Arts, which is the senior leadership team for CoPA and its three schools: the School of Drama, the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the Mannes School of Music. While Jeffrey Zeigler will step down as co-chair of the Mannes School of Music’s String Department, he will continue to teach major lessons in cello and coach ensembles.

Reflecting upon this appointment, Jeffrey Zeigler commented: “This leadership position meets me at a very exciting point in time. Exploration, equity and innovation are at the heart of my work and with the support of our tremendous administration, faculty and community I look forward to combining the skills I have acquired as an artist and an educator to help nurture the citizens of the next generation.” 

The search was global in scope and resulted in a highly competitive pool of candidates. The search committee was co-chaired by Professor Pavlina Dokovska, Chair of the Mannes School of Music Piano Department, Artistic Director of Mannes Sounds, and faculty member of Mannes Prep and Matthew Sullivan, Chief of Staff of the College of Performing Arts and Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. Joining Dokovska and Sullivan on the search committee were Miranda Cuckson, violin faculty member in the Mannes School of Music and Mannes Prep, Yuri Kim, piano faculty member in the Mannes School of Music and Mannes Prep, Jesse Goldberg, former Assistant Director of Mannes Prep, and Michael Seabrook, Assistant Director for Finance and Administration, College of Performing Arts.

About Jeffrey Zeigler

Jeffrey Zeigler is one of the most innovative and versatile cellists of our time. He has been described by The New York Times as “fiery” and a player who performs “with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone.” Acclaimed for his independent streak, Zeigler has commissioned dozens of works, and is admired as a potent collaborator and unique improviser. As a member of the Kronos Quartet he is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, the Polar Music Prize, the President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy (Grammys), the Chamber Music America National Service Award and The Asia Society's Cultural Achievement Award.

Zeigler received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music/University of Rochester and his Master of Music degree from the Shepherd School of Music/Rice University. Following two years of study at the Jacobs School of Music/Indiana University, he went on to be a resident artist in the Lisa Arnhold String Quartet in Residence Program at The Juilliard School as a member of the Corigliano Quartet.

Following his eight-year tenure as the cellist of the Kronos Quartet, his multifaceted career has led to collaborations with a wide array of artists from Philip Glass and Tanya Tagaq to Yo-Yo Ma and Foday Musa Suso, from Laurie Anderson and John Corigliano to Hauschka and the Pulitzer Prize winning scientist Siddhartha Mukherjee. He has also performed as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the Royal Danish Radio Symphony and the Ulster Orchestra under the batons of Peter Oundjian, JoAnn Falletta, Dennis Russell Davies and Dmitry Sitkovetsky.

This fall, Zeigler will release his next album, Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello by Paola Prestini. It will be a multimedia experience that combines spoken word, movement, music, and imagery into a unified exploration of love, loss, trauma, and healing. The project takes its title from the twelve houses of the zodiac as facets of the self and draws inspiration from explorations of the subconscious including Anaïs Nin’s House of Incest and the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Natasha Tretheway. Filmed by Murat Eyüboglu at MASS MoCA and Studio Polygons in Tokyo, Japan, the digital experience will feature the performances and original choreography of New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin and Butoh dancer Dai Matsuoka, a member of the acclaimed troupe Sankai Juku.

Other upcoming highlights include being featured in a new cello opera entitled The Old Man and the Sea directed by Karmina Silec with music by Paola Prestini and libretto by Royce Vavrek. He will also give the world premiere of Mark Adamo's Cello Concerto with a consortium of orchestras that include the American Composers Orchestra, the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

Zeigler was the Music Director for two eco-documentaries that exist at the intersection of art, science, and community. Directed by Murat Eyüboglu, part one was entitled The Colorado and premiered at the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center, and Stanford Live and at over 30 film festivals. An excerpt of Part two, The Amazon, was presented at the Margaret Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History.

Zeigler is the Label Director of National Sawdust Tracks, the non-profit, in-house record label of National Sawdust, an artist-led, multidisciplinary new music venue in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. National Sawdust Tracks releases content that reinterprets genre, facilitates provocative collaboration, and encourages new ways of listening. Recent releases include albums by Du Yun, Kamala Sankaram and music by the winners of the Hildegard Competition for Female, Trans, and Non-Binary Composers.

Mr. Zeigler has released dozens of recordings for Nonesuch Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe, Smithsonian Folkways and National Sawdust Tracks and has appeared with Norah Jones on her album Not Too Late on Blue Note Records. Zeigler can be heard on the film soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Academy Award winning film, La Grande Bellezza, as well as Clint Mansell’s Golden Globe nominated soundtrack to the Darren Aronofsky film, The Fountain. Zeigler can also be seen making an on-screen cameo performing the music of Paola Prestini in Season 4 of the Amazon Prime’s Golden Globe Award winning series Mozart in the Jungle.

Zeigler is a member of the Board of Directors of Chamber Music America and the Violoncello Society of New York and is on the Honorary Committee of the Sphinx Organization.

Mannes Prep, founded in 1916 by the legendary musicians and music educators David and Clara Mannes, provides pre-collegiate music education for students ages 4 through 18. Dedicated to nurturing and supporting the pure love of music in children and youth, Mannes Prep serves young artists at all levels, from beginners through advanced students aspiring toward collegiate study in music. Mannes Prep is a program of the College of Performing Arts (CoPA) at The New School, a comprehensive university in New York City, comprised of five degree-granting colleges, including Parsons School of Design.

Mannes Prep is poised for an expansion of its programs that will include the incorporation of styles, genres, and art forms beyond classical music, to serve a broader community and more fully integrate Mannes Prep with CoPA, as well as other programs of The New School.

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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