Morris Gustav
(1909 - 1999)

Morris Gustav was enrolled in the Institute of Musical Arts (now Juilliard School of Music) Diploma French Horn program from February 1929 to June 1929 where he was a student of Lorenzo Sansone. In the above photo he is holding a Sansone five valve single B-flat horn. The following year he was selected to be principal horn of the Columbia University band although no record has been found that he was a Columbia student.1   The dedication to Lt. Francis Eugene Mikell suggests that he had been a member of one of the Army Cadet Bands under Lt. Mikell's direction (see below).  No record has been found that Mr. Gustav pursued a career in music or played professionally.2

Morris Gustav was born in New York City May 7, 1909 to Russian immigrants Simon and Sadie (Polansky) Gustav.  Aside for four years of high school and the above-mentioned semester at the Institute of Musical Arts, nothing has been found of his education.  On December 23, 1938 he married Rose Lubinsky. The couple is not known to have had any children.  Morris Gustav died on June 2, 1999 in Great Neck, New York.

Columbia Spectator,  November 24, 1930

Lt. Francis Eugene Mikell was born in Charleston, S.C. on March 27, 18853 and attended Avery Norman Institute in Charleston and then went on to Tuskegee Institute and the State College at Orangeburg, S.C. He organized the Jenkins Orphanage Band in Charleston,  had charge of the Tuskegee band and orchestra, taught at the Daytona-Cookman  Institute in Daytona, Fl. During World War I he achieved the rank of Lieutenant as bandmaster of the 15th Regiment of New York and continued conducting the band for six weeks in Paris after the war. In addition to his conducting he was known as a song writer and music teacher. He was conductor of the Clef Club Orchestra and the New York Times Orchestra, Choral Society and Band. After moving to New York he served as one of the instructors at New York Music School Settlement, and was music director of the M.T. & I. School in Bordentown, NJ. He had a large number of students in his studio in New York, teaching all of the band and orchestral instruments. He was also an accomplished violinist and cornetist.  

In 1921 Lt. Mikell was reported to have approximately 325 pupils per week in various bands and orchestra.  He had a band of twenty-five in Bordentown, NJ, a band of thirty in Jersey City, twenty-six in Riverton, NJ, and seventeen at East Orange, and an Orchestra of twelve at Lincloln House in New York City. In addition he had sixty-four private pupils at Bordentown, forty at Jersey City, thirty-two at Riverton, seventeen at East Orange, twenty-four at Lincoln House,  and eighteen at his home studio in New York.

New York Age, July 29, 1922
Lt. Mikell was also director of the 369th Infantry Band which played a number of engagements in various locations in and around New York in the summer of 1922.  The following January he announced the organization of a cadet band of at least one hundred boys in New York City for the 369th.  In April the newly-organized cadet band and drum corps comprising 138 boys age 10 through 16 along with the regimental 30-member band and 20-member drum corps of enlisted men all under the direction of Lt. Mikell  marched through the streets of Harlem.  During the Summer months the regimental band played various engagements including international polo games, a military reception at the request of Gen. Bridgeman, and a vaudeville show.  He also took charge of the Progressive Elks Band of Jersey City, began training a boys' band in Newark, and opened his private studio at his home on W. 52nd Street.

Sisters of Cadet band members expressed the desire to learn to play musical instruments as well, and on Friday evening, November 16, 1923, "Mikell's Midget Orchestra" comprising fifteen members drawn from the cadet band and his private studio, including young ladies, gave it's premiere performance at Newman Church.  There were several solos, duets, and trios,  however, Morris Gustav was not among them.

Lt. Mikell died January 19, 1932 at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital after an illness of several weeks, and buried at Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. He was survived by his wife, Anna L. Mikell, and two sons, Otto R. Mikell, and F. Eugene Mikell, Jr. 

Special thanks to Ms. Jeni Dahmus Farah, Director, Archives, The Juilliard School and Ms. Jocelyn Wilk of the Columbia University Archives for providing student information about Morris Gustav.

1. Columbia's relationship  to the nearby Juilliard School is further evidenced by the selection of at least one other Juilliard student for the band, the famous bassoon virtuoso, Sol Schoebach (see above clipping from the Columbia Spectator newspaper). At the same time Columbia professor John Erskine was also the president of the Juilliard School.

2. Gustav Morris is not found in the 1930 census. The 1940 census lists his occupation as "electrologist"  although he had only worked 45 weeks in the previous year and had been out of work for 12 weeks up to March 30, 1940.  He lists his education level as "H4" (high school 4 years).  He and his wife, Rose, an instructor in secretarial school, were living with her parents. Her education is listed as "C5" (five years college).

  3. This is the date according to the Veterans Administration records and inscribed on his tombstone in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.   Other sources suggest that he was born in 1879 or 1880.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York,  January 21, 1932

The New York Age, New York, NY, January 1, 1921, July 29, 1922, January 13, 1923, May 5, 1923, October 13, 1923, November 24, 1923, September 28, 1924, January 30, 1932

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