The following events occured in Juilliard's history in December and January:
December 5 and 7, José Limón and Dance Company presented a concert with the Juilliard Orchestra, Frederik Prausnitz conducting. The program included the New York premiere of Limón’s The Exiles, a duet between Limón and Letitia Ide set to Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 2; the New York premiere of Doris Humphrey’s Night Spell danced by Limón, Lucas Hoving, Betty Jones, and Ruth Currier to Priaulx Rainier’s Quartet for Strings; Humphrey’s Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías with dancers Limón, Ide, and Ellen Love and music by Norman Lloyd; and the U.S. premiere of Limón’s El Grito, performed by Limón and ensemble with music by Silvestre Revueltas.
The Juilliard Repertory Project, which compiled an expanded musical repertory for children in kindergarten through grade six, was completed in December. The Project began in 1964 through a grant the United States Office of Education gave Juilliard to research and make available previously inaccessible (or not easily accessible) high quality music from different eras and cultures. The selections were tested in seven school systems across the country, and the results were used in compiling the Project’s 1970 publication, the Juilliard Repertory Library.
December 15-19, The Juilliard Theater Center presented the New York premiere of Edward Bond’s adaptation of Spring Awakening, by Frank Wedekind. Romanian director Liviu Ciulei made his New York debut as director and designer of the production, which was performed by both third- and fourth-year actors. Ciulei also gave a master class called Translating the Written Word Into Images during his visit at the School. In July 1978, this production was revived for a two-week engagement as part of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival at the Public/Newman Theater.
January 23, Juilliard held a memorial tribute for Marion Szekely-Freschl, an opera singer and member of the voice faculty from 1950 to 1973. Soprano Shirley Verrett, a former student of Freschl whose obituary appears in this issue, performed Brahms’s Vier ernste Gesänge and Mozart’s “Alleluja” from Exsultate Jubilate, K. 165, with pianist Warren George Wilson. President Joseph W. Polisi, Dean Gideon Waldrop, and composer Vincent Persichetti spoke at the tribute.