Born December 5th (8:06pm) in Beth Israel Hospital (NYC). Dr. Ben Segal
attending. In reaction, Japanese attack Pearl Harbor two days later. His first
residence is his grandparents' house at 2653 Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx
just down the street from Poe Park. A few weeks later the family moves to 2860
Grand Concourse to escape the direct and constant supervision of grandmother
1945 Moves from Grand Concourse to 180 Riverside Drive
(apartment 6E) in Manhattan with parents and new baby brother, Fred.
1947 Enters P.S. 93 where crowning achievement is captaincy
of the indoor monitor squad. Spent much of the 6th grade as a video monitor
getting and showing films, and not going to class with buddy, Mike Molino.
Spent most of grades one to five drawing cars, sailing ships, and rockets.
Finds Valerie Howitt very alluring.
1948 Starts piano lessons with Mme. Moshke. Horowitz not
1950 Abandons the piano and switches to trumpet lessons with
Edward Treutel in an attempt to emulate the grandfather he never knew, Sam
Yablonsky, who was the first trumpet at the Schubert Theater.
1953 Gets new Benge B flat trumpet for $225 (#3435) and
starts to get serious about practicing.
Enters rapid advance program at Joan of Arc Junior High
School. Excelled at punch ball and Chinese handball during recess. By skipping
the 8th grade it guarantees that he will later arrive in high school even more
socially retarded than he already is.
1954 Family moves to 610 West End Avenue on same floor as
Gunther Schuller and upstairs from Jerome Moross.
1955 Enters High School of Music & Art. Starts as first
cornet in Senior Band under Ben Lindeman. After a deadly semester in Orchestra
5 he becomes co-principal trumpet (with Sol Motola) in Senior Orchestra under Alexander Richter
and Isidore Russ. Studies conducting. Takes composition lessons from Morris
"Mark" Lawner. Develops a great interest in art, especially the lines
and curves of the female form. Has hopeless crush on Roberta, niece of
Spends summer as last
bugler at Camp Swago in Damascus PA.
1956 Because he is performing poorly at school his parents
send him to the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville Connecticut for academic summer tune-up.
It works like a charm. Locked in the study hall everyday he finally learns how
to study. Plays golf every afternoon. Upon his return to M&A his grades
jump up 10 points.
1957 Travels to Puerto Rico with his dad to attend the Casals
1958 Wins letter as co-captain of NYC high school
championship golf team.
Music Festival and studies trumpet with Wes Lindskoog. Falls in love for the
first time with Lucy Harris, a pianist from California. She returns home before he
does and he spends the rest of the summer pining for her.
Recovers from broken
heart and does trumpet studies with Robert Nagel.
Enters City College of
New York. Theory studies with William Dabney Gettel. Composition studies with
Mark Brunswick and Paul Turok. Goes on blind date to House Plan dance and falls
in love with Laura Martin. He is Jewish and she is not, so both sets of parents
strongly object to their brief tryst.
1959 Jazz trumpet studies with Charlie Colin who had played in
father’s band years earlier. Fails to qualify for beret or horn-rimmed glasses.
Dizzy not worried.
Spends summer in Mexico
with cousin Maxine Jablons and her boyfriend. Studies Spanish language, Aztec
art, and beautiful brown-skinned senoritas.
Pledges Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity in a desperate
attempt to be a regular college Joe and “one of the guys." Results were
mixed. Because he cannot drink beer his college career is in jeopardy.
1960 Spends summer in Quebec studying French language
and cuisine. Falls in love with Phyllis, an American pianist he heard
practicing the Grieg Piano Concerto in the ballroom of the Chateau Frontenac.
After two weeks of passion they drive back to NYC in her VW Beetle and she goes
back to her fiance. He gets more practice coping with rejection.
1961 Spends summer as busboy at Unity House in the Poconos
where tips were paltry, but the bonus is the shapely and vivacious Ellen
Gelpar. They explore the wonderful world of sex together and marry later that
year so that they could escape from their families of origin. The
"marriage" ended 10 months later when Ellen emptied their bank
account and absconded with the grand sum of $132.54. The marriage was later
annulled. Today it would be considered just two crazy kids living together
without spiritual bond.
1962 Earns B.A. degree in music from CCNY. Fails to graduate cum laude by 1/100 of a point
guaranteeing that he won't amount to much.
New York State Regents
Teaching Fellowship goes unused.
Turns down full
scholarship to Brandeis University to do one year of graduate studies at
Harvard with Pierre Boulez and Leon Kirchner for full tuition.
1963 The walk to Harvard is long from his sad little room on
Austin Street. His next- door neighbor is Hector Posada y Ochoa from a wealthy
Columbian dynasty. Gets a C in John Ward's musicology class because he does an
uninspired job of transcribing William Byrd's lute tablature and is asked to
leave Harvard at end of the year. Enrolls at NYU.
1964 Earns M.A. degree from New York University.
Falls in love with the
voluptuous Marcy Cantor who, as it turns out, is already engaged to some other guy.
Just one more failed Mission Impossible!
Is hired for the fall
semester as a full-time adjunct instructor at CCNY even though he is only
twenty-two years old and knows almost nothing.
Takes first of many trips to Europe. Arrives on TWA Super Constellation
and tours England, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Germany on a Mobylette
motorbike. After 4000 kilometers on the road he is so brown he is mistaken for
a terrorist by Federal Agents at JFK airport.
Buys first car, a Triumph TR 4a.
1965 Begins four years of teaching music in NYC high schools
in order to avoid the Viet Nam Era draft: Stuyvesant, Lincoln, Sheepshead Bay,
and Julia Richman.
Teaches at CCNY in the
evening. Plays a lot of loud music for tired students.
Meets and marries the
amazing Roberta N., teacher of English at Herman Ridder JHS. They set up home at
740 West End Avenue.
Reconnects with Boulez and begins lifetime friendship.
1967 As 6-Day War ends he and Roberta fly to
Israel for the first of many trips. Is adopted by Moshe and Zipi Peli and their
daughters Liraz and Idit.
1968 Now too old for the draft, he is hired as full-time
lecturer at CCNY.
Serves as Associate
Director of Lake Bryn Mawr Camp, Honesdale, PA for three years. Known as
"Uncle Steve" to 150 well-to-do Jewish girls lucky enough to spend
eight weeks away from home.
Discovers his psychic abilities
when a deck of cards beckons him to study the Tarot. Spends 10 years as a
part-time, gratis fortune-teller.
1969 Fortran 4-B studies at Queens College Electronic Music
Studio with Hubert "Tuck" Howe. Programs Buchla and Moog synthesizers
to produce strange sounding music no one wants to hear using a tray full of IBM
1971 Boulez becomes music director of NY Philharmonic.
Jablonsky spends six years observing rehearsals, concerts, and behind the
scenes life of a major orchestra. Relinquishes his foolish dream of being its
1973 Earns Ph.D. degree from N.Y.U. Thesis: “The Development
of Tonal Coherence as Evidenced in the Revised Operas of Giuseppe Verdi.”
Martin Chusid, patient and understanding mentor.
Inducted in Phi Mu Alpha
Sinfonia Music Honor Society.
Invited by Leon Barzin
to be a conducting fellow at the National Orchestral Association (3 years).
Promoted to assistant
He and Roberta move to
Golden's Bridge in Westchester County. He is the last person to conduct at Lewisohn Stadium when he leads the CCNY Symphonic Band in the commencement concert.
1974 Receives Founders Day Award for doctoral scholarship
Begins two years of
psychotherapy with Milt Wilner that finally enables him to walk and chew gum at
the same time.
1975 Receives National Endowment for the Arts Composers
Fellowship for minimalist “Wind Sextet.”
Serves as music adviser
for Camera III (CBS-TV) series devoted to modern music conducted by Boulez.
1976 Participant in Exxon/Affiliate Artists Conducting
Program. Auditions for assistant conductor posts at Buffalo and Rochester. No
His multi-media “Wisconsin Death Trip” is performed by NY Philharmonic and
Milwaukee Symphony with nice reviews.
Becomes ASCAP member.
Conducts City Symphony
at Town Hall. "Music By New Yorkers for New Yorkers." Soloists: John
Lewis and Judith Raskin.
1977 Inspired by the work of artist Vladimir Fuka he develops
concept of Musigraphics—artistic analyses of musical compositions and produces
more than three dozen works in that vein.
1978 With wife, Roberta, founds Lifetime Learning Systems,
Inc. the nation’s leading publisher of corporate-sponsored educational
materials. Serves for twelve years as creative director and CFO.
1979 He and Roberta move to 155 Staples Road in Easton CT.
“The Two Stephen
Jablonskys.” Bridgeport Jewish Community Center presents two-man show of
photographs by Stephen Jablonsky the engineer from Stratford and Musigraphics
by Stephen Jablonsky the composer from Easton who met quite by accident thanks
to a UPS mistake.
1982 Sabbatical year and a half from CCNY. Enrolls in Family
Counseling degree program in Bridgeport University. After 28 credits of course
work and six-month internship he drops out two courses shy of the degree
because he realizes he is too young and inexperienced to counsel anyone about
1983 Returns to teaching and is promoted to associate
1986 Lifetime Learning Systems is sold, but he and Roberta
continue to run the company until 1990. A four-year non-compete clause in the
sale contract keeps them out of the business until 1994.
1988 Father, Ben Jablonsky, dies at age 79.
1990 One-man show of paintings, The Landmark Gallery,
sponsored by the Stamford Art Association.
1991 Second one-man show of paintings, The Landmark Gallery,
sponsored by the Stamford Art Association.
Purchases first personal computer.
1992 Begins composing computer-generated music using his Mac
Quadra 900, Korg O/1W synthesizer, and Opcode/Vision software.
1994 Serves for three years as CFO and creative director of
Youth Media International founded by business mogul wife, Roberta. Replicates
success of Lifetime Learning Systems.
1995 Enters psychotherapy to discover the source of his fear
and anger that, apparently, was well hidden because it took four years and
$40,000 to find it. Comes to understand the nature of addictive behaviors and
forgives himself in the process. Later he forgives everyone else including his
1997 Mother, Adelaide Jablonsky, dies five days shy of her
1998 Separates from Roberta and moves to Westover Road in
With the help of
his high school dream girl (see 1955) he works through the last stages of his
psychotherapeutic process and retires from the emotional judgment business.
After a forty-year hiatus she teaches him how to trust his heart to a woman but
she is married and they must part.
Queen of Korea, the woman with the million dollar smile.
1999 Writes three educational resource guides for art, music,
and communication/technology teachers for Disney’s “Fantasia 2000.” Published
by Youth Media International and is still available on the Internet.
Roberta. Sophia moves in to fill the void.
2001 First listing in “Who’s Who in America.” His wonderful dachshund, Princess Kitzel, dies on a day in October that is seared in his memory.
2002 Becomes chairman of the Music Department, and, at age 60
has to slowly learn a whole new profession, proving that you can teach an old
dog new tricks.
2003 Writes “The Use of Tonic Delay in the Context of Extreme
Chromaticism. ” Available upon request.
Marries Korean-born beauty, Tina Sophia Lee, singer, dancer,
2004 “Introduction aux graphes de tonalité: Le cercle
chromatique des quintes,” Musurgia,
Volume X/3-4, pp. 91-104.
at the Keyboard” is published privately.
2005 His textbook, “Tonal Facts & Tonal Theories” is
published by Kendall/Hunt with accompanying Theory I Workbook.
“Wagner’s Harmonic Game Plan
in the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde,” is accepted by Elliott Antokoletz,
editor of the International Journal of Musicology. Publisher bankrupt = no
“The All-Star Rhythm & Pitch
Book” published by Kendall/Hunt.
Because no one else wants the job he
is re-elected to a second term as chair.
A gift by the name of SunHee Lee
arrives to embellish the fabric of his life.
2006 The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers, Prometheus Books.
Writes chapter: “Fibonacci and Musical Form,” published 2007, pp. 271-91.
Thanks Al Posamentier.
Theory II Workbook
for Tonal Facts& Tonal Theories is published.
2007 “Rainbow Quartet Revisited” is premiered by the Momenta
“Seven Early Pieces for
Piano” is premiered in Taiwan.
Elected chair of the Humanities & Arts P&B.
2008 Completes 40 years as full-time teacher at the City
College. With certainty, he learned more than his students.
Is re-elected for third
term as chair of the Music Department.
In August celebrates 2/3
of a century of good luck and good health followed immediately by spinal
stenosis and a bum knee. Onset of much humility. Athroscopic surgery repairs
torn meniscus. The spinal stenosis is a daily reminder that all learning
2010 June: Finishes his 92nd semester of teaching and eighth year as
chair of the Music Department. So far no one has caught on.
Attains the ripe old ago of
69--a numerological reminder that he and the fates have embraced each other at
opposite ends for what seems like a very long time. In geological time it has
been just the blink of an eye.
His life is made even more
wonderful by the addition of an angel by the name of Xiu Yin Chen after SunHee
is deported back to China.
2011 May: The Music Department re-elects him to a fourth term as
chair not realizing that this automatically makes him Chair for Life. After
hearing the news Kim Jung Il dies!
Spends the summer writing Gaining Music Literacy,
a textbook for neophytes designed to turn them into budding musicians. If this
book doesn't do it, nothing will.
Turns 70 and doesn't look a day over 68!
Discovers that 2 Aleve a day plus an anti-inflammatory
like Siberian ginseng and Traumeel keep his spinal stenosis at bay and
no longer wakes up as stiff as a board.
2012 Finishes 10th year as chair of the Music Department.
Spends summer writing Molto Cantabile!, a collection of 500 of the
world's great melodies designed for college sight singing classes.
2013 Finishes 49th year of teaching and 11th year as chair. In a
moment of clarity he realizes being a professor is much easier than being chair
and the pay is the same, so next year will be his last in that august position.
2014 Finishes 50th year of teaching. On June 30th the 12-year reign of
Grand Poobah of the Music Department comes to an end. Now some other fool will
be chair 24/7/52 for no thanks and no compensation. Jablonsky returns to being
a happy-go-lucky professor. Celebrates by compiling what may be the first
comprehensive list of instrumental music in F sharp major and G flat major.
"Why?" you ask...
2015 Receives the Teacher Service Award from the CCNY Alumni Association at a
dinner event in the Great Hall. The chicken marsala was the best part of the
evening. Jablonsky now has another plaque to add to his office collection...you
can't have too many plaques!
He is back to teaching Music 10100 and creates free textbook
for those lucky enough to study with him.
As a magnet for Asian beauty he can't be beat. The
addition of the devilish HongJuan Zhang to his seraglio is invigorating and
stimulating beyond compare. His baby brother, Fred Jablonsky, turns 70. Wow!
2016 HongJuan proves to be as crazy as she was sexy and had to be let go. God,
in her infinite wisdom, sends him an adorable lady with the same last name as
the concubine she is replacing. Lucy Zhang is blessedly mature and stable and
is also intelligent and talented and has a million dollar smile. Wife Sofia becomes permanent Stamford
resident and finally gets the car of her dreams. This is the year he reaches
3/4 of a century.
The International Journal of
is back in business and his Wagner article is finally published after a 10-year
2017 The fall semester is the beginning of his 50th year of teaching as a
full-time faculty member. Can retirement be far away?
A pinched nerve in the neck caused by tennis over exertion
results in lose of control of his right arm for two months. A great reminder that
man is mortal.
Like most Americans he is glad to have survived the first
year of the Trump administration, but just barely. His best friend, Danny Elliot, dies in LA and the shock wave of mortality is felt as far away as Stamford CT. Authors Music in the Big Apple a music appreciation textbook for New Yorkers.
2018 Completes 100th semester as a full-time faculty member of the Music Department. Seems to enjoy teaching more than ever. In December he administers his last final exam as a full-time faculty member and retires.