We are informed that David Dubal – pianist, author, broadcaster and confidant of Vladimir Horowitz – has been sacked by Manhattan School of Music, where he taught for more than two decades. No reason was given and there is no suspicion whatsoever of discreditable conduct on Mr Dubal’s part. Mr Dubal, 70, has confirmed his dismissal to a Slipped Disc contact, who writes:
During my years as a piano student at Manhattan School, he was a truly great inspiration – not only to me – but to many of us young, struggling pianists trying to carve out our musical destinies. Being well-connected, he would very frequently invite many of us to perform for the elite of New York City, as well as for his classes at Juilliard School (where he was also on faculty). He would tirelessly write recommendations, make phone calls, and devote his time giving extra lessons/coaching for us – all at no charge.
His support of young artists goes back decades – when teaching at Juilliard in the 80’s he would frequently arrange lessons for students he believed in with Vladimir Horowitz. During many rough patches in my college years (rejection from competitions, financial troubles – things that every young artist will face), Mr. Dubal was the ear that could ALWAYS be counted on. I think, for all of us – he was the one true authority figure in the piano world of New York City who us students could still call a friend AND colleague – able to offer sympathy from the other side of the table. Never for him was the politics, games, and antics of the regular New York City Piano Teacher.
As of last fall, Mr. Dubal was fired – without reason given – from the Manhattan School. This was confirmed by him to me in a phone message this morning. I knew he had left, but did know the reason.
However, I am simply too angry – not only for myself and for him – but for the sake of all the young pianists studying at Manhattan School who will not have access to Mr. Dubal’s brilliant and witty teaching, introduction to great pianists, stories about great artists, etc. Dubal was among my chief NYC experiences, and he paved professional connections for me (and many, many, many, many others), out of nothing more than sympathy and desire to help in the career of the struggling artist (which few of our actual teachers every do). I feel that this injustice should at least be made known publicly
The incident calls to mind the dismissal by Northwestern University, also without explanation, of viola professor Roland Vamos. Apparently college boards are under no obligation – either to teachers, or to fee-paying students – to provide continuity of tuition through the college year.