Cowell Speaks at Juilliard (1934); British Music Festival (1953); Mennin Takes Office (1962); 75th-Anniversary Gala (1980)

December 14, composer, pianist, and musicologist Henry Cowell appeared as a guest speaker at a Juilliard Student Club meeting. Cowell presented a lecture-demonstration titled “New Musical Resources,” in which he surveyed the music of China, Java, and other countries, and enumerated techniques utilized in his own compositions. His works Reel, Aeolian Harp, The Voice of Lir, and Advertisement were performed. Cowell’s book, New Musical Resources, was first published in 1929. 

Rena Gluck, Kevin Bruce Carlisle, and Martha Schuh rehearsing "Cats,"

From left: Rena Gluck, Kevin Bruce Carlisle, and Martha Schuh rehearsing "Cats," a 17th-century dance reconstructed by Antony Tudor for the masque Britannia Triumphans as part of Juilliard’s Festival of British Music in 1953.

(Photo by Frank Donato, Impact Photo, Inc.)


December 2-11, Juilliard held a Festival of British Music as a tribute to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Revivals of historic rarities and contemporary works were given in a series of five concerts. Jean Morel led the Juilliard Orchestra in the opening program of U.S. premieres of Edmund Rubbra’s Symphony No. 5 and Maurice Jacobson’s Symphonic Suite for Strings. Subsequent programs included Elizabethan music and dances reconstructed by Antony Tudor, José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane, John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, and William Walton’s Façade with poetry spoken by Florence Page Kimball and Adolph Anderson. The festival concluded with a reconstruction of Britannia Triumphans, a Jacobean masque reproduced for the first time since its premiere in 1637 with King Charles I himself appearing in one of the principal roles. Presented by the Juilliard Opera Theater in collaboration with the Dance Department and Seminars in Renaissance and Baroque Music, the production featured newly rediscovered original music by William Lawes, performed by members of the Juilliard Orchestra and an ensemble of lutes and recorders.

In December, William Schuman resigned as president of Juilliard to become president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. Composer Peter Mennin was appointed as Juilliard’s new president.

December 17, in celebration of Juilliard’s 75th anniversary, a black-tie gala was held at the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel. Juilliard students provided entertainment, including a vocal duet by actors Linda Kozlowski and Val Kilmer, choreography by Brian Taylor, a vocal quartet (Ruth Jacobson, Kathryn Cowdrick, Jeffrey Thomas, and Michael Dash) accompanied by pianist Dan Riddle, and the student group Sixty-Sixth Street Jazz Ensemble, led by Scott Villiger.

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