Lincoln Center Groundbreaking (1959), Three New Plays by Tudor (1971)

Leonard Bernstein, Risë Stevens, and Leonard Warren at the Lincoln Center groundbreaking ceremony on May 14, 1959.

 (Photo by Juilliard Archives)

The following events in Juilliard’s history occurred in May:

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May 14, President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke ground for Lincoln Center at the site of Avery Fisher Hall, then named Philharmonic Hall. Musicians representing the Lincoln Center constituents participated: Leonard Bernstein led the New York Philharmonic and the Juilliard Chorus (Frederick Prausnitz, director), and Leonard Warren and Risë Stevens (Juilliard Graduate School ’36, voice), both of the Metropolitan Opera, performed excerpts from I Pagliacci and Carmen.   

May 27, an informal showing of three new pieces choreographed by Antony Tudor on Juilliard dancers was held in the Juilliard Theater. The three works—Sunflowers, Cereus, and Continuo—were made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Also on the program were dances by Saeko Ichinohe, Deborah Weaver, and Maria Barrios that were created as assignments for Tudor’s course.

May 19, five honorary doctorates were awarded at Juilliard’s 84th commencement. The honorees were director Mike Nichols, choreographer and former faculty member Agnes de Mille, philanthropist Avery Fisher, cellist Yo-Yo Ma (Pre-College, ’71; Professional Studies ’72, cello), and conductor Zubin Mehta. Leontyne Price (Special Studies ’52, voice), who had received one of the School’s first honorary degrees, in 1987, delivered the commencement address.  

May 15, Up Against the Wind, a play about rap artist and media personality Tupac Shakur by playwright-in-residence Michael Develle Winn, was premiered by students from all fours years of training in the Drama Division. Rosemary K. Andress, a fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon directing program, directed, and Anthony Mackie performed the role of Shakur. Dancers Susan Gaskill, Amy Hall, Asha Thomas, and Melissa Huerta also participated in the production.

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