Well into its second century of excellence, The Juilliard School keeps its focus on the future, providing education for generations of aspiring dancers, actors, and musicians to come. At its newly-renovated headquarters in New York City, the School continues to inspire thousands of developing artists from the United States and around the world to become the best performers they can be. Since opening in October 1905 with the name Institute of Musical Art, and with a first‑year class numbering close to 500 students, Juilliard has set the standard in the United States for education in the performing arts. Today's Juilliard continues to represent such excellence, growing with and responding to the needs of a thriving cultural community worldwide. Each year, more than 800 students in dance, drama, and music come to The Juilliard School in New York City from all across the U.S. and well over 40 other countries. Juilliard offers degree programs from bachelor to doctorate, as well as highly selective and competitive pre-professional diploma programs in jazz, opera, and instrumental performance, a string quartet residency, playwriting, and instrumental studies in Historical Performance. Juilliard alumni are working artists who carry with them the highest standards of the performing arts profession.
Each school year, Juilliard presents almost 800 dance, drama, and music events in their own five auditoriums and elsewhere in metropolitan New York, including Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. Juilliard ensembles also tour, and during recent seasons have performed, presented workshops, and hosted residencies in Brazil, China, England, Italy, Japan, Qatar, and elsewhere. The Juilliard Orchestra has been presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, and travelled to major concert halls in Europe and across the U.S., twice touring China and elsewhere in Asia. Juilliard alumni singers are represented in all the world’s major opera houses, and both student and faculty chamber ensembles appear regularly in the U.S., Central and South America, Europe, and Asia.
Juilliard’s founding president, Frank Damrosch, was a member of the legendary Damrosch family dynasty in New York City that contributed to the creation of the New York Philharmonic, the building of Carnegie Hall, and numerous other musical institutions. A world-class and carefully curated faculty roster has been the School’s hallmark since its earliest days. During the Juilliard presidency of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Schuman (1945-62), the School established Juilliard's Dance Division (1951), with equal dance instruction in both contemporary and ballet techniques. In 1968, a four-year Drama Division was added, and in 1969 Juilliard became part of Lincoln Center, as the Center’s only educational entity. On weekends, students from the School’s two programs for younger musicians fill the halls. An Evening Division for adults enrolls almost 700 students each semester.
Dr. Joseph W. Polisi was appointed Juilliard's sixth president beginning with the 1984-85 academic year, and his tenure has been a time of vitality, with the establishment of new student services; alumni programs; revised and expanded curriculum and degree programs; new emphasis on liberal arts; greater interaction between the three Juilliard divisions of music, dance, and drama; new emphasis on humanities, community outreach, arts in education and entrepreneurship; creation of a CD-ROM to teach music to children; global outreach; and development of a comprehensive long-range plan to guide the School through the 21st century. Juilliard’s collaborative programs include those with the Metropolitan Opera - the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in Partnership with The Juilliard School; Carnegie Hall – The Academy, a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, and Ensemble ACJW; Signature Theatre – for the Juilliard Drama Division’s ‘Professional Studio’; the New York Philharmonic, whose Music Director Alan Gilbert also is Juilliard’s Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies; and revitalized collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center.