Honoring Longtime Service
Like many holiday traditions, the Juilliard end-of-the-first-semester faculty-staff meeting has a comforting aura of familiarity each year. The dean reminds everyone when grades are due, there's a presentation about the state of the school, the trombone choir performs, and there's a festive party afterward in Morse Hall. This year's featured all of that—and an added bonus. Toward the end of the meeting, President Joseph W. Polisi presented longtime staff carpenter Joseph Barrie with the new Juilliard Service Award for outstanding contributions to the school.
Barrie, who was born and raised in Chile, has worked at Juilliard for 37 years—slightly longer, as it happens, than Polisi, who said while presenting the award, “It seems there is nothing you can't fix, from locks to shredders to office chairs. You build walls, install doors—also ingeniously design and produce beautiful cabinetry.” Polisi also cited Barrie's “adherence to impeccable standards, friendly demeanor, quiet dignity, flexibility of approach, and strong artistic sensibility.” And he closed by noting that the award was given in recognition of Barrie's “many years of beautiful work, personal kindness, and special contributions as teacher and mentor.”
A Pre-College Premiere
For most concerto competitions, the musicians all perform the same piece. But for its midyear concert each year, the Pre-College Orchestra does something different—it invites students to compete with a piece of their choosing. This season, Giuseppe Yaoji Fu became the first bass trombonist to win the competition. He performed a piece that longtime Pre-College faculty member Eric Ewazen (MM '78, DMA '80, composition) originally wrote for a trombone choir and which he has fully orchestrated for this concert. And that's how it is that the Pre-College Orchestra will give Ewazen's Concertino for Bass Trombone its world premiere on February 18.
Ewazen wrote the work for legendary bass trombonist David Taylor, who premiered it in 1996 and subsequently recorded it with trombonists from the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras and the San Francisco Symphony. In orchestrating it for the Pre-College Orchestra, Ewazen told The Journal, “I've sought to allow the orchestra to be both a sensitive accompanying ensemble and an active equal partner with the soloist, as these musicians playfully toss exciting, virtuosic, and even riveting themes and musical gestures back and forth.”
Joshua Weilerstein is the guest conductor for the ensemble, whose musicians' average age is 17. Fu, who's a year younger, began his musical journey at 5, when he began studying piano, violin, and viola before discovering his musical passion—the trombone—at age 11. Now in 10th grade at the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, he moved to New York from Hong Kong last summer to attend Pre-College, where he studies with Denson Paul Pollard.
Rob Ross is Juilliard's assistant dean for preparatory education and senior director of the Pre-College Division.
Spring Master Class Season Begins
The spring master class season begins February 3 with Catalan early music guru Jordi Savall leading one of his annual classes with Historical Performance students. The class will be live streamed by medici.tv, the online video portal that specializes in the arts. This is the second season that Juilliard has worked with medici.tv, which will live stream a total of four classes this spring including Savall's. The others are a vocal arts class led by conductor Emmanuel Villaume (March 16), a chamber music class helmed by alumnus and violin faculty member Joel Smirnoff (March 27), and a piano master class with visiting faculty member Robert Levin (April 24). Each class takes place in Paul Hall and will be available for viewing at medici.tv and at live.juilliard.edu. Other public master classes this spring include a chamber music master class with Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson that takes place on February 8 in Room 543.