Francis Brancaleone, Ph.D.
Professor, Piano, Theory, Department Chair
Pianist Francis Brancaleone, the current Chair of the Department, has performed solo recitals at New York's Town Hall and Tully Hall as well as concerto performances with orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony. He has also appeared in chamber music ensembles and as an accompanist. A prizewinner for the International Bach Society, his repertoire ranges from music of the Baroque to premieres of contemporary works.
Dr. Brancaleone holds a Ph.D. degree in Music from the City University of New York, Master's degrees from the City University of New York, Queens College and the Manhattan School of Music, a Bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music (which he attended on a Ford Fund Scholarship) and a Diploma from the Palestrina Institute of Ecclesiastical Music. He was also the recipient of a Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia grant while researching his doctoral dissertation.
He is Professor of Music at Manhattanville College and has taught at Baruch College, the University of Bridgeport, Westchester Community College, Manhattan School of Music, and in the Pre-College Divisions of the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School. Dr. Brancaleone is a published author and served as music critic for the Gannett Journal News from 1988-2002 where he wrote some 550 reviews.
Alan Kriegsman of the Washington Post wrote of Dr. Brancaleone's recital:
"His playing bespoke a comprehensive mastery of the keyboard in all its aspects . . . he produced a stunning array of sound, from the borders of audibility to thundering torrents. Subtleties of phrasing, pedaling and tonal coloration abounded. Everything was beautifully thought out, and every thought realized with intelligence and finesse."
Dr. Brancaleone was the featured pianist on a recently released instructional, three-disc DVD and CD series entitled: Classical Music in the Italian Class, Classical Music in the French Class and Classical Music in the Spanish Class. The discs contain performances of compositions from the different regions, as well as background information on the composers and historical materials (including test questions) which language teachers may then develop in a cross-discipline, cooperative spirit. These recordings were selected for distribution by Applause Learning Resources.
He is currently writing a chronicle of the activity at the Pius X School of Liturgical Music (1916-1969) which was the antecedent of the Music Department of Manhattanville College. At the moment, he is tracing the activity for the years 1946-1969 which will constitute the third and final section of the three-part history. The first sections, which have been submitted to journals are: "Justine Ward and the Fostering of an American Solesmes Tradition" (Published in Sacred Music: Fall 2009, Volume 136, No. 3.) and "Georgia Stevens, R.S.C.J., and the Institutionalization of Gregorian Chant at the Pius X School of Liturgical Music." He interrupted this work recently by turning his attention to his paper on "Wagnerian Influence and Motives in the Works of Edward MacDowell" which is to be published in Pendragon Press in the near future. Dr. Brancaleone has been assisted in his research by three Manhattanville College Faculty Summer Research Grants. In his off time, he enjoys wine and traveling to Italy with his wife Elsa Jean Davidson, Dean of Students at the Manhattan School of Music..
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