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The Alumni Pioneer

Who is the Publisher?


Barry in 1979
Barry in 1980
Barry in 1982

Barry Drogin initially attended The Cooper Union from 1979 until 1983, majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Programming. His father, Ed Drogin, also graduated from The Cooper Union. Prior to attending Cooper, Barry had gained early admission to Emerson College, majoring in Theatre Directing and minoring in Music Composition. While at Emerson, he directed his own play, founded the Collective Arts Foundation, wrote incidental music for several productions at Emerson and at Harvard, and became a writer for The Emerson Free Press under journalism major Jay Eidt. In the middle of his sophomore year he left Emerson and transferred to Cooper as a freshman.

Barry was involved in many activities at The Cooper Union, primarily at The Cooper Pioneer, where he served as Arts Editor, News Editor, and Editor-in-Chief, and earned the sobriquette, "Mr. Pioneer." Being a few years older than his classmates, he was also referred to as "Uncle Barry." At The Cooper Pioneer, Barry covered the Brooklyn Philharmonic Meet the Moderns concerts in The Great Hall and several news stories, most notably the attempt by President Bill Lacy to invoke the Supreme Court Yeshiva decision against the teacher's union, a story he covered for several years in great detail (Cooper lost the case). At the end of his tenure, Barry won independence for The Cooper Pioneer from Student Services, establishing it as a paper "by and for the students of The Cooper Union."

Barry acted as both reporter for and representative of The Cooper Union at ceremonies celebrating the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Tom Thumb and the B&O Railroad in Baltimore, MD. He organized Folk Nite, played in the Cooper Union Jazz Band, and composed a double concerto for piano and harpsichord for Pro Musica. He also arranged a Folk Nite song, "Peter Had A Plan," for the Studio Company at an event commemorating the Peter Cooper Centennial.

While at Cooper, Barry studied counterpoint privately with Elie Siegmeister and orchestration privately with Gil Robbins. He also took Professor Gatza's Contemporary Music class and audited Laurie Spiegel's Electronic Music class, and enjoyed a private correspondence with Stephen Sondheim. In addition to providing incidental music for Off-Off Broadway productions and enjoying performances of his compositions in various new music venues, he was commissioned to compose a full-length ballet, which he inked during Physics lectures in the Wollman Auditorium. This latter achievement earned him a two-page spread in the alumni association publication, At Cooper Union.

Barry returned to Cooper to complete a masters in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Communications Coding and Theory in 1986. During that time, Barry became Cooper's first Tau Beta Pi Laureate for his Diverse Achievements in Music and Journalism. Later, Barry was commissioned by The Cooper Union to write an oboe sonatina for Cooper's second Tau Beta Pi Laureate, Arianna Kalian, premiered at the inauguration of John Jay Iselin. The Cooper Union was the first college to have two Tau Beta Pi Laureates. While completing his master's thesis, Barry was a full-time instructor at Technical Career Institutes (TCI), where he became a member of District 41, was elected a shop steward, and wrote the faculty union newsletter.

Barry's subsequent accomplishments in music and music journalism are too numerous to be listed here, but a few highlights should suffice. He moderated the C-Opera listserv for several years and was honored at an international NewOp meeting for his contributions as organizer. His New York premieres included a dance-theatre piece, "Typhoid Mary," a scena for a cappella voice, "Alamo!", and "Hoover", a collaboration with Rachel Sheinkin performed at LaMama ETC. For the American Music Center, he was asked to pen a hyper-history of American Music Theater. 21st Century Music magazine referred to him as "an authority on contemporary opera and music theatre."

In his parallel engineering career, Barry has been a contributor to IEEE Spectrum, and is a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia University and Manhattan College. He also provides AIA seminars to public agencies, industry groups such as the Municipal Engineers Association, the Structural Engineers Association, and the Brick Industry Association, and to private architecture and engineering firms and practitioners. Most recently, he contributed a chapter to a Getty Conservation Institute textbook on documentation of heritage properties.

In addition to helping with several Phonathons, Barry has served The Cooper Union as representative for the Class of 1983, which had its 25th reunion in 2008. He has led the singing of the alma mater at several Founders Day wreath-layings and attends numerous Cooper Union events, including mock interview nights and ABET curriculum planning sessions. He has an extensive collection of Cooper Union memorabilia, and currently works as Director of Non-Destructive Testing & Evaluation at SUPERSTRUCTURES, a firm founded by two Cooper alumni who met as architecture students at Cooper.

Despite his long history of serving and representing The Cooper Union, Barry has become Public Enemy Number One to the Epstein/Bharucha administrations. For a day, his presence on campus was banned by TC Westcott. When his name is mentioned in private, Cooper administrators get angry and start shouting, or set off on long rants. The Alumni Pioneer has been labeled "misinformation," Don Blauweiss accused Barry of being a "provocateur," and John Huddy called Barry "sophomoric" and "pedantic" and The Alumni Pioneer "venemous garbage" and "juvenile nonsense."

Publishing The Alumni Pioneer is apparently not a thankless job, given the fan mail and many thanks received in person. In addition to plowing through the shit so you don't have to, Barry has been fighting for a fair, risk-free austerity budget since November 2011 and, in their darkest moments, given many people hope. He greatly appreciates and thanks those who have given him hope as well.

The best way to correspond with Barry is by telephone at 212-243-8784. The second best way, remembering that Barry does not have instant messaging, is by e-mail at barry@notnicemusic.com. Confidential sources are welcome.


Barry in 2003
Barry in 2009
Barry in 2010

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Cassandra's Curse Copyright 1993, 1996, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Barry Drogin - All rights reserved