Megan Griffin (BM '10, MM '11, viola)
After Juilliard, I played in the New World Symphony for a year before returning to New York City for a two-year fellowship with Ensemble ACJW (now Ensemble Connect). But then I realized that, while I enjoyed what I was doing, I felt a strong pull toward another lifelong dream of mine. So, after a lot of thought, I fulfilled pre-med requirements and began medical school at N.Y.U. this past August. I can't stop telling people how much studying music has helped me on my journey to being a physician—everything from discipline in the practice room, high-stress performance situations, the teaching I did, and learning how to listen in chamber music. Though I debated music vs. medicine even before college, I'm happy I explored music, and I truly believe that my experiences and training will make me a better physician than I could have been otherwise!
Gillian Abbott (BFA '13, dance)
Happy 2017! Since graduating, I've been working professionally as a dancer and actor—this time last year, I was playing Frances “Baby” Houseman in the North American Broadway tour of Dirty Dancing. One challenging aspect was maintaining my stamina physically, emotionally, and spiritually—we played eight shows a week with four-show weekends and travelled to a new city every Monday. The techniques I developed at Juilliard were vital in keeping me healthy on the road, and the versatility we were encouraged to adopt helped me to learn the intricate language of Latin dancing and jump into a lead acting role for the first time.
Carolyn Michelle Smith (Group 41)
When I was 16, I made a vow that I was going to be an actress for the rest of my life. Throughout my journey, I've experienced challenges, but also consistent confirmation from the universe that I was on the right path. And the steps that led me to Juilliard have been my greatest confirmation of all. I'm an actress and performance coach. I'm currently starring in season two of Colony on USA, and I just wrapped a great role on ABC's How to Get Away With Murder opposite fellow alum Viola Davis.
Will (and Peter) Anderson (both BM '09, MM '11, jazz studies)
My brother Peter and I are embarking on a tribute recording and Juilliard scholarship fund campaign for saxophone teacher Joe Temperley, who passed away in May. Joe was the first saxophonist I was mentored by when I moved to New York, and he was a class act: honest, tough, and beautiful. Now we want to give back, starting with a CD, Blues for Joe, which includes some of our compositions and features two of our other Juilliard teachers, Peter Bernstein and Kenny Washington. We're also giving a fund-raiser concert for the project with our sextet on February 19 at Symphony Space.
For more info, go to PeterAndWillAnderson.com; to make a scholarship gift in Temperley's honor, go to juilliard.edu/giving.
Molly Joyce (BM '14, composition) and Mike Truesdell (MM '11, DMA '16, percussion)
Molly: Head to Toe, a video Mike and I created (ICareIfYouListen.com; Four/Ten Media), was inspired by my experience in high school marching band, the idea that one player can become a whole marching band himself, and how often the marching band stands still in the bleachers, barely marching at all. To highlight this contradiction, the solo performer “marches” in the bleachers, becoming a single-person marching band aurally and visually.
Mike: A friend and I had commissioned Molly for a project featuring solo and duo works written for portable instruments. When she told me her influence was marching band, I was excited and worried since I'd never officially “marched” in a marching band. Months after we received the score—and after I started as assistant professor of percussion at the University of Northern Colorado—Molly and I drove to Philadelphia for an inspiring day of recording.
Watch some of these and more alumni stories at juilliard.edu/lifeafterjuilliard.