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BMS Turns 90!

Category: BMS NEWS Friday, January 3rd, 2014 Kennard House with gate
Happy 90th Birthday Brookline Music School!
In 1924, Augustus D. Zanzig became the Director of Music for the public school system of Brookline, MA. A nationally known educator who taught at Harvard and the Tanglewood Institute and an authority on the promotion of amateur music as recreation, Zanzig instituted a program of instrumental instruction intended to “provide the spiritual enrichment and happiness to be found in music,” encouraging students to participate in, and contribute to, the cultural life of the town. Zanzig’s program was Brookline Music School, which enrolled 109 students and a performing ensemble in its first term. The Brookline Grammer School Orchestra was established the following year.

For the next 40 years, Brookline Music School remained an affiliate of the Brookline Public Schools, providing weekly private and group lessons for students in the school system’s music department. In 1966, BMS was incorporated as a private, nonprofit community music school. Administrative offices, however, remained at Brookline High School until 1988, when a major renovation forced relocation.

Brookline Music School set its sights on establishing a main campus at Kennard House, a Town of Brookline owned manor home found on town maps as early as 1844. BMS launched a capital campaign that funded the renovation of this architectural treasure, transforming Kennard House into a compelling, central presence for the school, and demonstrating the community’s long-standing support for BMS and its contribution to the cultural life of the town. BMS opened the doors to its new home in September 1994.

The Kennard House, Brookline Music School’s central location, is home to a recital hall, dance and jazz studio, music technology lab, and several teaching studios. BMS private lessons, ensembles, early childhood and creative movement classes and more than 100 student and faculty recitals take place at the Kennard House. 

Reflecting a unique private-public partnership, hundreds of weekly private lessons take place in each of the Brookline Public School buildings during after-school hours, providing convenience for families and maintaining 90 years of continuous presence in the public schools.