Rising Above the Cacophony


President Polisi said in his convocation speech, “we live in a time of ideological and political conflict [and hear] a cacophony of accusations and bitterness that rarely address the best elements of the human spirit.” As artists, he told the crowd, “you will need to decipher the extraneous noise around you and find your place in this essential political process.” The good news is that the arts are a time-honored and wonderful way to navigate that cacophony and perhaps bring a little order—or at least perspective—to it.


At school, the year has kicked into high gear. Work by both the superstars and rising stars of new music is on full display this month. The Jazz Orchestra gets to work on the music of legendary saxophonist Gerry Mulligan with former Mulligan sideman—a renowned pianist in his own right—Bill Charlap. Actors reflect on how far they've come at Juilliard as they begin rehearsals for Shaw's 1909 farce Misalliance. (Speaking of cacophony, fourth-year Lauren Donahue observes after studying the play that she believes “much more would get accomplished in the world if politicians and world leaders were willing to communicate with grace.”)

And in the spirit of artist-as-citizen, we'd like to echo faculty member Sylvia Rosenberg's hope that all American citizens will exercise their privilege to vote!

Susan Jackson

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