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Entrepreneurship, Principal String Forum, and More

At Juilliard’s first forum for principal strings, students met with the four New York Philharmonic principal string players. From left: Timothy Cobb (bass), Sheryl Staples (violin), Cynthia Phelps (viola), and Carter Brey (cello).

 (Photo by Robert Ross)

Marks Gift Strengthens Entrepreneurship

Juilliard has upped the ante on its commitment to entrepreneurship with a $5 million gift. In January, President Joseph W. Polisi announced that trustee Michael Marks and his wife, Carole Marks, were creating the new Alan D. Marks Center for Career Services and Entrepreneurship. The center is named after Michael Marks’s late brother, who received his bachelor’s in piano at the school in 1971.


Components of the initiative include expanding business skills, arts management, and entrepreneurship coursework; providing financial support to student entrepreneurs with career grants after graduation; increasing emphasis on networking and public speaking (including an additional gift that will equip Morse and Paul Halls with recording equipment); enlarging the Hire Juilliard Performers program; and creating a new off-campus concert series.

“Part of Juilliard’s mission is to provide our students with the skills they need to realize their fullest potential not only as artists, but also as leaders and global citizens,” Polisi said, noting that the gift will allow the school “to better equip our students to succeed as young professionals in a rapidly changing world.”


Principal String Forum Inaugurated

“It’s not enough to come to rehearsals prepared on your part. As a principal, it is also your job to anticipate potential issues that any member of your section may encounter.” This advice to Juilliard’s 43 principal string players came from faculty member Cynthia Phelps, who’s the principal violist of the New York Philharmonic. The occasion was Juilliard’s first-ever forum for principal strings, which took place in January. Phelps was joined by her Philharmonic colleagues faculty member Sheryl Staples (acting concertmaster), Carter Brey (principal cello), and faculty member Timothy Cobb (principal double bass). They gave tips to and took questions from students who had passed an audition to be principal string players in upcoming Juilliard Orchestra performances.

The 90-minute forum was the first of several initiatives planned for string principals, according to Robert Ross, assistant dean for orchestral studies. The goal, he told The Journal, is to “better prepare them for their orchestral experiences at Juilliard and well into their careers.” 

The panel covered many orchestral leadership topics ranging from the technical (effective bowing techniques and body language) and the practical (the art of marking parts) to the political (maintaining healthy relationships with your colleagues, especially the orchestra librarians). Brey shared a tip he passes along to all new section members at the Phil: “Keep the librarians on your good side. A good librarian is a tremendous asset.” Juilliard’s principal orchestra librarian Paul Beck humbly accepted Brey’s compliment while encouraging the students to seek out him and his colleagues in the orchestra library for advice and help with bowing parts and making changes during the rehearsal process.

Staples, who served as moderator, noted that this kind of training wasn’t available when she and her colleagues were in school. “There’s so much more to being an effective leader than playing one’s instrument well,” she told The Journal. “I look forward to working more closely with the Juilliard students, guiding them through preparation, and helping them hone their skills on their paths to becoming the next generation of the world’s finest orchestral leaders!


An Application Record as Audition Season Approaches

Winter is audition season for Juilliard, with more than 5,500 applicants this year in dance, drama, and music. That’s a record number—and it’s nine percent higher than last year. Auditions for actors began in January in New York City, and while the majority of actors and dancers will audition live (only applicants who live outside of North America are required to submit videos for pre-screening), the reverse is true for music—the majority of musicians must pre-screen for an invitation to audition on campus. 

In February, drama and dance faculty members will be in Chicago and San Francisco for regional auditions; dancers also audition in Dallas and Miami. During the first week of spring break, in March, while the school building is relatively empty of students, approximately 1,300 musicians and 300 dancers will audition at Juilliard for entry in the 2015-16 school year. The weekend before Juilliard students return from break, 45 or so acting applicants will come for a final callback weekend. Over the years, we’ve had plenty of mishaps due to weather—one year, the unfortunate actors faced snowstorms on virtually every audition day! However, with auditions, the show must go on.

Follow our student bloggers and @JuilliardSchool on Instagram as we offer tips and encouragement to everyone who’s auditioning!
Lee Cioppa, Associate Dean for Admissions


General Counsel Arrives

Maurice Edelson joined the Juilliard team in January as the school’s new vice president and general counsel. As such, he will be responsible for Juilliard’s domestic and international legal affairs.

A graduate of Vassar, Columbia Law School, and Harvard Business School, Edelson comes to Juilliard from Time Warner, where he was senior vice president and deputy general counsel. Prior to that he’d been both the general counsel and the senior vice president of strategic planning at Time Inc., which he joined in 1998. He began his legal career as a corporate associate at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. 

In announcing the appointment, President Joseph W. Polisi praised Edelson’s “tremendous skill, judgment, analysis, and leadership” and anticipated that his “breadth of corporate and strategic experience will be a great asset to the school at an exciting moment in our growth.” 


Sloan Kettering Benefit Staged by Alum

Daniel Adams (Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard Exchange ’10, viola) was only four years out of school when he received a devastating diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Fortunately, after months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he’s now in remission. Inspired by “the excellent and compassionate care” he received, Adams emailed The Journal, he’s playing a benefit for the hospital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on February 11. 
The concert is a tribute to David Klein, the late husband of viola faculty member Heidi Castleman, who was one of Adams’s teachers. It will feature several members of the Juilliard community including Adams, master’s student Matthew Lipman (B.M. ’14, viola), Rachel Lee (Pre-College ’06, violin), and Yi-Fang Huang (B.M. ’99, M.M. ’01, piano) performing works by Hindemith, Janáček, and Frank Bridge. Also on the bill are the sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton, who got their master’s degrees here in 2013 and who will play Schubert’s Fantasia in F Minor, and the Brentano String Quartet—whose members are Mark Steinberg (M.M. ’90, violin), Serena Canin (Certificate ’90, M.M. ’92, violin), faculty member Misha Amory (M.M. ’92, viola), and Nina Lee (B.M. ’97, M.M. ’99, cello)—performing Brahms’s Third String Quartet. 
The performers will volunteer their time and proceeds from the $150 ticket sales will go toward “funding cancer research that will lead to improved diagnosis, treatment, and hopefully a cure for myriad forms of cancer like mine,” Adams said. For information, go to
Joshua Simka

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