Alan Gilbert, the music director designate of the New York Philharmonic and a Juilliard alumnus, has been named the first holder of the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at the School. The appointment, which begins in the fall of 2009 (the same time he begins his tenure at the Philharmonic), was announced in March by Juilliard’s president, Joseph W. Polisi.
“I know I speak for all the members of the Juilliard community when I say how thrilled we are that Alan Gilbert will join our faculty as the first holder of the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies,” President Polisi said. “Alan’s creativity, artistry, and intellectual curiosity will make his work with our students an important part of the Juilliard experience. We look forward to initiating groundbreaking projects under Alan’s leadership, and we are particularly excited to know that he will dedicate a portion of his time in New York to the creation of educational initiatives that will have an impact on the next generation of performing artists.”
As the Schuman Chair holder, Mr. Gilbert will spearhead several projects at Juilliard during the next few years. They include coaching, performance master classes, sessions with conducting students, cooperative projects involving Juilliard young artists and the musicians of the New York Philharmonic, and co-teaching graduate-level seminars. Additionally, Mr. Gilbert will conduct the Juilliard Orchestra in one concert each academic year.
“I am deeply honored to have been appointed to hold the newly created William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School,” Mr. Gilbert said when accepting the appointment. “Teaching and working with young musicians has long been of paramount importance to me—to be able to do both at an institution that has been so crucial to my own musical development is truly very special.”
Mr. Gilbert, 42, is the son of two New York Philharmonic violinists and Juilliard alumni: his mother, Yoko Takebe (Diploma ’64, violin), and father, Michael Gilbert (B.M.’64, violin), who retired from the orchestra in 2001. (Ms. Takebe joined the Juilliard faculty in 2007.) Alan Gilbert started out as a violinist, studying with Margaret Pardee in the Pre-College Division. Later, as a student at the Curtis Institute, he subbed as a violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra. He received a Master of Music degree in conducting from Juilliard in 1994 and also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard. He made his conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 2001. Before that, he became chief conductor and artistic advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in 2000, was an assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra, and has guest conducted many major orchestras around the country. In November 2008 he made his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams’s Dr. Atomic; this month he is scheduled to conduct the premiere of Peter Lieberson’s The World in Flower, a New York Philharmonic commission.
The William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies is named for Juilliard’s fourth president, the distinguished composer who led the School from 1945 to 1962 before becoming president of Lincoln Center. It creates an opportunity for a notable musician to shape an approach over several seasons at the School while teaching, mentoring, and leading in performance. The appointment of Mr. Gilbert and the establishment of new partner-projects with the New York Philharmonic provide another collaborative link between Juilliard and the professional houses on the Lincoln Center campus.
“I am looking forward to engaging with many Juilliard students over the years, and especially to exploiting the possibilities that are inherent in Juilliard’s proximity to the New York Philharmonic in devising suitable activities that will enrich both places,” Mr. Gilbert said. “It is exciting to imagine ways in which William Schuman’s original idea of a Lincoln Center with closely cooperating constituents can be a model for our future endeavors.”