Juilliard Ping-Pong (1948); Dance Premieres Limón’s "Paganini" (1965); Opera Premieres "Rothschild’s Violin" (1990)

The following events in Juilliard's history occurred in February:

Variations on a Theme of Paganini

Juilliard Dance Ensemble members (from left) Carla Maxwell and Martha Clarke in the premiere of José Limón’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini in 1965.

(Photo by Milton Oleaga)



February 16-19, the Juilliard Athletic Committee held a ping-pong tournament at the nearby Jewish Theological Seminary, with matches every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Conducting faculty member Robert Shaw was among the many participants. 


February 7, Juilliard officially accepted an invitation to join Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as its educational constituent. President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke ground for Lincoln Center in 1959, and Philharmonic Hall (subsequently known as Avery Fisher Hall), the first section of the complex to be completed, opened in 1962. As part of Juilliard’s move from Claremont Avenue to Lincoln Center, an agreement was made to develop a training program in drama, which led to the establishment of the Drama Division in 1968. The School moved to Lincoln Center in 1969.


February 12-13, the Juilliard Dance Ensemble premiered José Limón’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini. Student pianist Steven Lubin performed the score of excerpts from Brahms’s Opus 35, Books I and II. Cast members were Clifford Allen, Martha Clarke, Ze’eva Cohen, Edward Effron, Carla Maxwell, Dennis Nahat, Lourdes Puertollano, Ramon Rivera, David Taylor, and Tamara Woshakiwsky. The ensemble also performed the work in local high schools as part of the Lincoln Center Student Program.


February 23, 25, and 27, the Juilliard Opera Center presented the American premiere of Benjamin Fleischmann’s Rothschild’s Violin, with Christopher Mattaliano directing and Bruno Ferrandis making his debut as conductor of the Juilliard Symphony. Fleischmann based his opera on a tale by Chekov called Rothschild’s Fiddle, but before he finished it, he volunteered for the Soviet Army and was killed at the Russian front in 1941. Dmitri Shostakovitch, Fleischmann’s teacher at the Leningrad Conservatory, rescued the manuscript from besieged Leningrad and completed it in 1944.

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