Two Juilliard milestones were celebrated on October 29. After AXIOM's concert honoring the 80th birthday of Steve Reich ('61, composition), the composer was able to personally thank Jack Shear, photographer, curator, and president of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, for his $1 million gift to establish the Steve Reich Fellowship for Artist Diploma in Music Performance—In Honor of Ellsworth Kelly. The gift is the first endowment fund designated specifically for Artist Diploma music students at Juilliard. Shear made the gift in memory of his late husband, Ellsworth Kelly, one of America's greatest abstract artists. Given in honor of two artistic visionaries, Reich and Kelly, it recognizes the communion of art across disciplines.
The inspiration for the gift began when Shear asked soprano Renée Fleming ('86 opera/voice) to perform at Kelly's memorial tribute at the Museum of Modern Art last January, and she suggested that Juilliard students accompany her. The students also gave a moving performance of Reich's Duet for Two Solo Violins and String Ensemble, since Kelly and Shear, both great music lovers, admired Reich's work.
The Artist Diploma in Music Performance is a two-year full-scholarship program for post-master's level performers wishing to pursue focused studies in their major field leading to specific professional goals. With an emphasis on repertoire and performance, the program is designed to develop both the artistry and professionalism in performers who possess the ability and determination to realize their talent in the contemporary world. Juilliard is deeply grateful to Shear for his visionary support, which will have a profound impact on the school's most promising and talented musicians for generations to come.