Update: more information is available about the merger.
The Longy School of Music – long a standard in music education in Cambridge, especially in early music – is merging with Bard College. This ends an independent chapter in the ninety-six year history of Longy and opens what promises to be a logistically-interesting relationship.
One should note that this particular Bard College is in upstate New York, and is entirely separate from Bard College at Simon’s Rock, which is in Great Barrington, MA. Both are excellent schools; however, logistics and legislation are likely to be much more complex with the new Longy sub-school being located in a separate state from its (new) parent. Cross-registration will be difficult, to say the least.
The question on most people’s minds is, “So, what does this mean?” The question is quite germane, as the merger could potentially involve any of the following:
- Relocating the campus (and, perhaps, the faculty) to upstate New York.
- Allowing Bard music students to transfer into the Longy School of Music, boosting enrollment and giving said students more opportunities.
- Allowing Bard theatre and visual arts students to participate in large-scale musical or theatrical productions involving Longy students.
- Longy becoming a component of a “School for the Arts” within Bard College.
One who is less optimistic might even suggest these additional options:
- Longy’s Cambridge campus closes and the endowment and assets are transferred to Bard.
- Longy will use the opportunity to restructure, shedding faculty, administrative staff, and perhaps even programs.
- Faculty will lose many of the current perks (salary, health care, etc.) and be converted entirely to a more pedestrian adjunct status.
The greatest fuel for speculation is, of course, the paucity of details in the press release posted on Longy’s home page. It’s big news – in fact, potentially huge news for the early music and community music education scenes in the Boston area – but very little in the way of facts and details has been provided. Although Longy is one of the smallest degree-granting conservatories in the Boston area, its students and graduates are quite active. If it leaves Boston, the “Gang of Four” independent music schools granting degrees will have only the New England Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, and Boston Conservatory left. (Boston University’s School of Music gets an honorable mention because of its size, but it’s attached to a 30,000 student university.)