I’m writing this shortly after attending the first day of Orchestra Orientation, a program for freshmen designed by Alan Gilbert, head of Juilliard’s conducting and orchestral studies program, and the administration to “develop well-rounded musicians who are poised to succeed in the world of professional orchestras,” according to Rob Ross, assistant dean for orchestral studies. It was inspiring to watch this phase of their education begin—and also to hear some of their reactions to it.
The class came just a few days after the frenzy of orientation and convocation, the time when icebreakers, outings, and placement tests give way to the business of life at college. A time when, as President Polisi put it, students can start “moving forward the great tradition that we place in your hands." It was a wonderful way to begin the year.