The Juilliard School: From Beginning to 100 Years
The Juilliard School is one of, if not the most prestigious and highly regarded performing arts institution in the world. Juilliard's extraordinary reputation has been established through the tremendous talent and high caliber of its graduates, faculty, and students. From the beginning, the school has been a very special institution, but a long road has been traveled since the school's inception 100 years ago to the formidable institution now known as The Juilliard School.
The Institute of Musical Arts is Founded
On October 11, 1905 a new musical institution was opened, the Institute of Musical Art (IMA).
was the founder of this school and was made possible by primarily through an endowment to the school by the wealthy financier, James Loeb. The Loeb endowment was generously given in memory of James Loeb's mother, Betty. James Loeb's generosity allowed the IMA to be unlike other musical institutions in the fact that it was not tuition driven. The teachers and professors were given the freedom to teach students what they needed to learn, and were under no obligation to cater to paying students' whimsical desires rather than his or her actual needs.
Four hundred sixty-seven students enrolled in the IMA the first year. Most of these students were not high school graduates and the vast majority of students were female. The courses offered at this time consisted of technique classes for each specific instrument, sight singing, musical form and analysis, sight singing, and ear training, among others. The intent of the Institute of Musical Arts was to produce true musicians with a broad and full knowledge of music and whose faculty and professors' sole priority was the consideration and development of each individual student.
Augustus D. Juilliard Leaves Millions to Set Up the Juilliard Musical Foundation
In 1919, the IMA's greatest source of competition was born with the death of Augustus Juilliard.
Augustus D. Juilliard
was a very wealthy textile merchant and in his will he left a previously unheard of amount of money as a bequest to support and create a music school. The extravagant bequest of approximately $12.5 million dollars was left by Augustus Juilliard to set up a corporation to be known as the Juilliard Musical Foundation (JMF). Three men were named trustees of the Juilliard Musical Foundation in Juilliard's will – Frederick Juilliard, James N. Wallace, and Charles H. Sabin. Frederick Juilliard was the nephew of Augustus Juilliard and the largest
beneficiary in his uncle's will after the JMF. James N. Wallace was the president of the Central Trust Company and Charles H. Sabin was the president of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York. James Wallace died mere months after Augustus Juilliard and was replaced soon after as trustee of the JMF by his successor at the Central Trust Company, George W. Davison.
Eugene A. Noble was appointed executive secretary by the JMF's trustees in 1920. Noble was not a musician and did not know anything about music. He did however, realize that much could be gained from his new position as sole dictator of the disbursement of the fund's income. The years 1920-1922 passed without any visible funding or action on the part of the foundation and no money was paid to support students, concerts, or any other musical event. In February 1923, the foundation finally announced that it was ready to accept applicants, but it was also disclosed that only those musicians of American birth or citizenship were eligible to benefit from the foundation. Frank Damrosch of the IMA approached Eugene Noble and the JMF seeking financial assistance for his own musical institution, but they failed to reach an agreement.
The Juilliard Graduate School (JGS) was established and opened in October of 1924. The purpose of the JGS was to prepare talented students for public concerts and appearances and to help them secure such performance opportunities.
The Juilliard Graduate School and Institute of Musical Art Merge
With two such outstanding musical institutions in New York City, it was only natural that a bond should develop between the two schools. In 1925, negotiations between the IMA and the JGS were entered upon with an end goal of merging the two schools into one. This affiliation began in January of 1926 and the IMA ceased to function autonomously as it had for the past twenty-one years. A charter for the new school, The Juilliard School, was established on September 18, 1930.
The first president of The Juilliard School was John Erskine; Ernest Hutcheson was the first dean; and Frank Damrosch was given the title of dean of the IMA. John Erskine was a best-selling author who lived from 1879-1951 and had been a member of the Juilliard Music Foundation (JMF) and The Juilliard School of Music. Mr. Ernest Hutcheson was a pianist and child prodigy born in Melbourne, Australia. He was Eugene Noble's successor as executive director of the Juilliard Foundation.
The merger of the two schools created a need for one building to be built and shared as the Juilliard School. March 1932 saw the completion of this new building at 120 Claremont. $6 million had been budgeted for this building project and consisted of tearing down and building major additions to the IMA's original building. Although the two schools were now combined into one building, there remained a very strong divide between the two institutions that had not yet completely unified.
Composer William Schuman became president of the Juilliard School in July of 1945. He unified the Juilliard School and demolished the concept that there were two separate institutions. The IMA and JGS were permanently dissolved. Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the merger of the two schools, The Juilliard Dance Department was founded in 1951. This addition further unified the two schools and added another art form to the high level of training received at The Juilliard School.
The Juilliard School Moves to Lincoln Center
The concept of what is known today as Lincoln Center was conceived in 1955 by two men, Charles M. Spofford and John D. Rockefeller 3rd. Lincoln Center was to be the music and arts center of New York City and create a large cultural community. The Juilliard School on 120 Claremont was approached with a proposition to join the Lincoln Center Community as their educational proponent. One requirement, however, would be the creation of a drama program in addition to the already existing world renowned music program and dance department. On February 1, 1957, the Juilliard Music School accepted the invitation to join the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and would occupy a new $30 million dollar building in 1969 on the corner of Broadway and 65th Street.
The Juilliard School celebrates its 100th or centennial year in 2005. Over the past one hundred years, the Juilliard School has survived many difficulties and obstacles. These hurdles have been overcome through the belief in and dedication of many great persons who all had a vision and love for the arts. The Juilliard School is now the pre-eminent performing arts school in the world striving to prepare and educate young artists in their art forms and develop their talents, which will allow them to enrich their communities and through their communities, the entire world.
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