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Drama Gift; eLearning Launch

From left: Juilliard dancers Molly Griffin, Leslie Williams, and Blake Krapels (in chair); plus Cailan Orn; perform in a piece that alum Austin McCormick created for a Juilliard Council benefit.

 (Photo by Chad Heird)

Juilliard eLearning Launches

A Juilliard-developed curriculum of online courses for K-12 students was officially launched in March, President Joseph W. Polisi announced. Called Juilliard eLearning, the curriculum was developed by Juilliard faculty members working with Connections Education, a Maryland-based purveyor of online courses. Speaking at a press conference about the program, held at Juilliard on March 18, Polisi said that because “music education has diminished significantly” in America today, “we’re using the power of technology to bring Juilliard’s expertise to users around the world.”

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The courses cover music fundamentals. The youngest students study basics  including melody and rhythm, students in grades 3 through 5 learn fundamental musicianship skills, the grades 6 through 8 coursework develops music appreciation, and middle- and high-school students delve deeper into Western-Classical history and music appreciation. All the students use tools including a virtual xylophone for the youngest ones and a virtual music tool and sampler for the older ones.

Classes are taught by state-certified teachers; demonstrations of musical concepts are provided by musicians including Juilliard College and Pre-College students and faculty. Courses range from $249 to $299 apiece if purchased individually; in many cases states or school districts buy the course and students in their area can participate for free. Some 600 students have enrolled so far.

Drama Receives Record Gift

The largest-ever gift to the Drama  Division—$10 million—completes the endowment of Juilliard Drama’s Master of Fine Arts program and funds it operationally as well as providing full scholarships and living stipends for students in their fourth year of study. The gift was announced in March by Joseph W. Polisi, Juilliard’s president, and James Houghton, the Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division. 

The M.F.A. program began this past September; previously, graduate-level drama students had received diplomas. The funding brings full circle a challenge grant of $5 million from Bruce Kovner, chairman of Juilliard’s board, and his wife Suzie Kovner. The matching funds were given by John A. and Carole Moran and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Master’s students in their fourth year of study will be named Steinberg Fellows and receive Louise Chisholm Moran Scholarships, named for John Moran’s mother.

All four years of the program include a graduate seminar track that offers  coursework on production, directing, playwriting, pedagogy, and current theater trends. In their fourth year, drama master’s students focus on performance and professional development. 

Fete Helps Establish New Scholarship Fund

Foie gras, champagne, Debussy, and Poulenc were on the bill at Le Cuisine et le Spectacle, a March 5 dinner sponsored by the Juilliard Council. The event was hosted by wine and opera expert Fred Plotkin and featured performances by Juilliard students and alumni, among them an original dance by alum Austin McCormick, a scene from Molière’s Tartuffe performed by drama student Mary Wiseman, and more than half a dozen French-themed musical numbers. Nearly 90 people attended the soiree, which took place in the Willson Theater and Kaufman Dance Studio. The evening resulted in the establishment of a Juilliard Council scholarship endowment fund.

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