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Lisa B. Robinson
Development, Senior Writer, Special Projects and Proposals

Lisa marks her 10th anniversary at Juilliard this month. Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Silver Spring, Md., she received a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale. Prior to joining the staff at Juilliard, she was the director of foundation and corporate relations at the Manhattan School of Music.

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How long have you worked at Juilliard? What are your favorite memories from your years here?
I started at Juilliard 10 years ago, in March 2000. My favorite memories are probably the handful of celebrity phone calls I’ve had over the years. During my first year working here, Kevin Kline called to give me a quote for a newsletter, and I had a delightful conversation with Van Cliburn about his profile for the centennial magazine. Of course, everyone knows it’s great to work in the Development Office, where my colleague Tori Brand brings in homemade baked goods every Monday morning!

What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day and why?
I’d like to have [Vice President for Finance and Controller] Christine Todd’s job for the day—not because I have any aptitude for finance; I’d just like to spend the day looking at the beautiful painting on her wall. It’s by a former manager of the Juilliard bookstore, Keith Hardin. I actually tried to buy it before Christine was hired, but my efforts were unsuccessful. I’m hoping to receive it as a farewell gift upon my retirement.

What is the strangest or most memorable job you’ve ever had and what made it so?
I once worked as an office manager for a band director, Keith Brion, who dresses up like John Philip Sousa and gives concerts around the country. He was a great guy, but Sousa is not my cup of tea.

If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do with your free time?
If I were already in New York, I might take the opportunity to spend the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If I were still in New Jersey, I’d go for a nice long swim at the gym and spend the rest of the day reading and cooking.

Many Juilliard staff members are also artists. How do you balance your job and your artistic endeavors?
I started out as a voice major and performed throughout college and graduate school, but I’ve become more introverted with age and now prefer the solitary pleasure of writing to getting up in front of an audience.

What other pursuits are you passionate about?
Reading, cooking, and spending time outdoors—especially activities with my son, Benjamin, who brings a contagious enthusiasm to everything he does.

What was the best vacation you’ve had and what made that trip so special?
I’d have to say my honeymoon in September 2000. My husband Andy and I spent a week basking in the sun and photographing cats on the gorgeous Greek island of Santorini, followed by several days of sightseeing, rug shopping, and photographing cats in Istanbul.

What might people be surprised to know about you?
I’m the first woman on either side of my family to have graduated from college. But I’ve never learned how to ride a bicycle.

What is your favorite thing about New York City?
The architecture. You can hardly walk a block without seeing an interesting building—and Juilliard is finally one of them!

What book are you reading right now …and what can you tell us about it?
I’ve been enjoying Dearest Creature, a book of strange and clever poems by Amy Gerstler, and am still coming to terms with Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. Although I haven’t totally converted to vegetarianism, Foer’s book has definitely influenced my eating and meat purchasing habits.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Yes. Can we get rid of the capital “T” in “The Juilliard School?” Even The New York Times doesn’t use it.

 

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