Helping Budding Entrepreneurs


Being a 21st-century artist-entrepreneur doesn’t require a business degree. You just need creativity, discipline, desire, and the necessary tools, network, and answers to turn a concept into something real. These are all things that Juilliard can provide, but it’s up to you to think big and take advantage. The resources and opportunities Juilliard offers to students both in and out of the classroom guarantee a low-risk environment in which to incubate your ideas, test them, and learn from the results. Succeed or fail: both are allowed, accepted, and safe. You will be far more likely to enter the profession with the confidence and preparation not only to succeed within your discipline, but perhaps also to build a business; start a nonprofit; teach; engage with the community; launch a new product, film, or recording; or try something no one else has ever thought to do.

Mulherkar, Marsalis, Hawley, Juilliard Jazz

Jazz alum Riley Mulherkar, shown here with Wynton Marsalis, director of Juilliard Jazz, and current third-year Will Hawley, was a 2015 grant recipient.

(Photo by Hiroyuki Ito)


Over the past few years, Juilliard students have seen an increased emphasis placed upon entrepreneurship as a fundamental skill set for the 21st-century performer. With the recent creation of the Alan D. Marks Center for Career Services and Entrepreneurship (thanks to a $5 million gift from Juilliard board member Michael Marks and his wife, Carole), Juilliard has made a concerted effort to give students a sharp and competitive edge upon entry into the profession. That edge has recently begun to manifest itself in new and exciting ways.

One change is an increase in financial support of students and their career and entrepreneurial endeavors. The Juilliard Career, Project, and Entrepreneurship Grants were relaunched last spring to give students even more opportunities to jump-start their projects, career pursuits, and entrepreneurial concepts. The center received more than 140 grant applications and gave out awards totaling $42,000 to 40 recipients.

Separately, 20 graduating students were given new postgraduate financial awards totaling $200,000 through the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship, Benzaquen Career Advancement Grant, and Novick Career Advancement Grant programs. The recipients have entered directly into the profession (not immediately pursuing further studies) and they have demonstrated not only superior performance and academic merit at Juilliard but also substantial leadership, breadth of engagement, and the potential to make a significant impact in the professional world. Their motivation, momentum, and perspective captured the attention of the faculty-staff grant selection committee.

After only a few months, the graduates have reported a number of accomplishments including successful seasons with their own summer music festivals, traveling the globe for auditions and professional development, and working with acclaimed recording artists. Many of these endeavors, along with those of our current-student grantees, were made possible—from ideation to incorporation—through funding as well as ongoing consulting support provided by the center and Juilliard faculty members. A partial list of our entrepreneurs along with their projects appears at right, along with a list of the 2015 fellows and grantees.

Throughout the year, hundreds of active students as well as alumni also attended one or more of our many Lunch and Learn programs, participated in roundtable discussions with resident entrepreneurs, received one-on-one consulting with industry professionals and alumni, and enrolled in elective entrepreneurial coursework. Our guests included industry experts such as Edna Landau, nonprofit entrepreneurs including Jessica Garand (MM ’12, viola) and Ulysses Owens (BM ’06, jazz studies), and ensemble founders Assaff Weisman (BM ’99, MM ’01, piano) and Victoria Paterson. We also brought in experts in finance and business such as Elaine Grogan-Lutrull (Minerva Financial Arts) and Amanda Clayman (The Actors Fund). The 2015-16 academic year will undoubtedly include a variety of new faces, all outstanding leaders and innovators in the arts.

For today’s performing artists, entrepreneurship means seeing a bigger picture of the existing arts landscape, finding connections, and bridging gaps. It’s about taking your art into new communities and onto different platforms. It means opening your eyes to a career beyond traditional trajectories, and seeking new and visionary ways to make an impact.

Juilliard Entrepreneurship Grant Projects

Kristen Doering (MM ’15, collaborative piano): Arts Fusion Initiative
Christopher Gross (MM ’06, DMA ’15, cello): Cello Solos Today
Doctoral student Paul Frucht (MM ’13, composition): The Danbury Chamber Music Intensive
Violin master’s students Chelsea Starbuck Smith (Pre-College ’10; BM ’14) and Clare Elena Semes (BM ’14): Les Deux
Trevor Bumgarner (MM ’15, composition), doctoral student, Louis Cruz (MM ’15, composition), and Nathan Prillaman (MM ’15, composition): Loose Canon Collective
Marie Daniels (BM ’13, MM ’15, viola): Woodlands Chamberfest

Juilliard Career Advancement Fellows

Jasmine Batchelor (Group 44)
Trevor Bumgarner (MM ’15, composition)
Kara Chan (BFA ’15, dance)
Chloe Fedor (MM’13, violin, MM ’15, historical performance)
Christopher Gross (MM ’06, DMA ’15, cello)
Michael Marquez (BFA ’15, dance)
Riley Mulherkar (BM ’14, MM ’15, jazz studies)
Ruth Reinhardt (MM ’15, orchestral conducting)
Jahaan Sweet (BM ’15, jazz studies)
Max Woertendyke (Group 44)

Benzaquen Career Advancement Grantees

The Aeolus Quartet: violinists Gregory Luce (Artist Diploma ’15, resident quartet) and Alan Richardson (Artist Diploma ’15, resident quartet), violist Rachel Shapiro (Artist Diploma ’15, resident quartet), and cellist Nicholas Tavani (Artist Diploma ’15, resident quartet)
Marie Daniels (BM ’13, MM ’15, viola)
Julia DeRosa (Pre-College ’09; BM ’13, MM ’15, oboe)
Wyatt Underhill (MM ’15, violin)
Weixiong Wang (Pre-College ’09; BM ’13, MM ’15, clarinet)
Novick Career Advancement Grantees
Ying Fang (MM ’13, voice, Artist Diploma ’15, opera studies)
Nathan Haller (BM ’13, MM ’15, voice)
Takaoki Onishi (Graduate Diploma ’13, voice, Artist Diploma ’15, opera studies)
Eric Jurenas (MM ’15, voice)
Tiffany Townsend (MM ’15, voice)

For a video featuring some of these recipients and their projects, go to discover.juilliard.edu. For Career Services information, go to juilliard.edu/entrepreneur or the alumni-student Career Portal, juilliard.edu/careerportal, or juilliard.edu/career.

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