See Juilliard (television documentary, 2003).
William Schuman graduated from Columbia's Teachers College (BS-1935, MA-1937) and attended the Juilliard Summer School in 1932, 1933 and 1936. While attending Juilliard Summer School, he developed a personal distaste for traditional music theory and ear training curricula, finding little value in counterpoint and dictation. Shortly after being selected as President of The Juilliard School in 1945, William Schuman created a new curriculum called "The Literature and Materials of Music" (L&M) designed to be taught by composers. L&M was Schuman's reaction against more formal theory and ear training, and as a result did not contain a formal structure. The broad mandate was "to give the student an awareness of the dynamic nature of the materials of music." The quality and depth of each student's education in harmony, music history or ear training was dependent on how each composer-teacher decided to interpret this mandate. Many questioned the quality of L&M as an approach to teach the fundamentals of music theory, ear training and history.
William Schuman resigned his position as President of The Juilliard School after being elected President of Lincoln Center in 1962. Peter Mennin, another composer with directorial experience at the Peabody Conservatory, was elected as his successor. Mennin made significant changes to the L&M program--pulling out ear training and music history and hiring the well known pedagogue Renée Longy to teach Solfege. Mennin hired John Houseman to lead a new Drama Division and oversaw Juilliard move from Claremont Avenue to Lincoln Center, effectively dealing with financial setbacks and delays.
Dr. Joseph Polisi became President of Juilliard in 1984 after Peter Mennin died. Polisi's many accomplishments include philanthropic successes, broadening of the curriculum and establishment of dormitories for Juilliard's students. In 2001, the school established a jazz performance training program. In September 2005, Colin Davis conducted an orchestra which combined students from the Juilliard and London's Royal Academy of Music at the BBC Proms, and in 2008 the Juilliard Orchestra embarked on a highly successful tour of China, performing concerts as part of the Cultural Olympiad in Beijing, Suzhou, and Shanghai under the expert leadership of Maestro Xian Zhang.
The Juilliard School provides significant performing experience to its students in a variety of ensembles, including chamber music, jazz, orchestras, and vocal/choral groups. Juilliard's orchestras include the Juilliard Orchestra, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Juilliard Theater Orchestra and the Conductors' Orchestra. The Axiom Ensemble is a student run and managed group dedicated to larger 20th century works.
In addition, several ensembles of Juilliard Faculty, called Resident Ensembles, perform frequently at the school. These groups include the Juilliard String Quartet, the American Brass Quintet and the New York Woodwind Quintet.
All students study solfege and music theory in addition to their primary instrument. Vocal majors also must study diction and performance. Similarly, pianists must study piano performance. String, brass and woodwind players as well as percussionists also partake in orchestra. The Pre-College has three orchestras. Placement is by age. Those in eighth grade and below participate in the Pre-College Chamber Orchestra. Those in 9th and 10th grade participate in the Pre-College Symphony. 11th and 12th graders participate in the Pre-College Orchestra. Students may study conducting, chorus, and chamber music.
The Pre-College Division began as the "Preparatory Department" within the Institute for Musical Art. Lincoln Center forced Juilliard to abandon the Preparatory Department as a condition of joining the Lincoln Center Campus, because it created the impression of sub-professional quality. The then-current President of Juilliard, Peter Mennin, resurrected the Preparatory Department as the Pre-College Division, with Olegna Fuschi as its Director. The Fuschi/Mennin partnership allowed the Pre-College Division to thrive, affording its graduates training at the highest artistic level (with many of the same teachers as the college division), as well as their own commencement ceremony and diplomas. Following Fuschi, directors of Juilliard's Pre-College Division included Linda Granito and composer Dr. Andrew Thomas. The current Artistic Director of Juilliard's Pre-College Division is pianist Yoheved Kaplinsky.
The Pre-College Division gives Juilliard an important role in training the most talented young musicians at the highest musical standards. Juilliard Pre-College's graduates are counted amongst professional musicians, educated concert goers and financial supporters of classical music.
Fund raising specifically targeted to the Pre-College Division began in 2004 with a benefit concert given by The The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. The event raised $90,000 to establish a Pre-College Parents' Association Scholarship Fund. In 2005, Juilliard produced its own benefit concert for the Pre-College Division featuring its own students led by faculty member Itzhak Perlman and hosted by Bill Cosby to add to this fund.
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