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Rodgers Writes End-of-Year Revue (1923); Dance Revies Humphrey's "Red Fires" (1954); Celebrating an Anniversary of "The Rite of Spring" (1989)

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1923
May 31, students and alumni of the Institute of Musical Art, Juilliard’s predecessor institution, produced a musical burlesque, A Danish Yankee in King Tut’s Court, inspired by the discovery of Tut’s tomb the previous year. Richard Rodgers composed the score for the School’s annual end-of-year jazz revue, and collaborated on book and lyrics with production manager Dorothy Crowthers and dance director Herbert Fields. Faculty member Franz Kneisel served as concertmaster in the orchestra under the direction of Rodgers. Among the musical numbers were “King Tut’s Birthday,” “Wake Up, Miss Aida,” and “College Baby.”

President Joseph W. Polisi (No. 62, in foreground) competed in a footrace as part of Juilliard’s Rite of Spring celebration in 1989. Voice student Adam Harris won the two-mile Juilliard Challenge and Polisi placed fifth. Also pictured: faculty member Samuel Rhodes (No. 100) and New York Philharmonic director Zubin Mehta (far right) beside the gong he struck to start and end the race. Participants wore T-shirts emblazoned with musical speed markings that designated the pace of each runner: largo, allegro, and vivace.

(Photo by Gili Melamed-Lev)

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1954
May 5, the Dance Division presented a revival of Doris Humphrey’s With My Red Fires. Among the cast members were Jerry Kurland as the Young Man, Jan Feder as the Young Woman, Karen Kanner as the Matriarch, and Richard Fitz-Gerald as the Messenger. Muriel Topaz, who later became the second head of the department from 1985 to 1992, danced in the ensemble. The score, composed by former faculty member Wallingford Riegger, was performed by pianists Elizabeth Sawyer and Naomi Weiss, vocalist Danae Koutsopoulous, and percussionists Speros Karas and Roland Kohloff. With My Red Fires was preceded by a program of student choreography by Barbara Rosing, Ellida Kaufman, Lucille Badda, Jerry Kurland, and Rena Gluck. 

1975
May 22, the Drama Division staged a rarely performed 18th-century comedy of manners, The Clandestine Marriage, by David Garrick and George Colman. Norman Ayrton directed the cast of third-year drama students from Group 5. Juilliard’s production was the first in New York since that of the Provincetown Playhouse in 1950 and 1954; the play received its United States premiere in 1863 at Wallach’s Theater in New York.

1989
May 15, Juilliard observed the 76th anniversary of the Paris Rite of Spring riots with a schoolwide celebration of open-air readings of Stravinsky’s Rite and Mozart’s Requiem, as well as Run for Fun and Juilliard Challenge races around Lincoln Center Plaza. President Joseph W. Polisi led both races, joined by teams of runners representing the School’s Music, Dance, and Drama Divisions, and Lincoln Center constituents. Otto-Werner Mueller conducted the orchestra of Juilliard students, alumni, and faculty members including concertmaster Joseph Fuchs, flutists Julius Baker and Carol Wincenc, violists William Lincer and Karen Tuttle, and cellist Zara Nelsova; student Bruno Ferrandis conducted a Julliard community chorus in excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem. The celebration concluded with an alumni homecoming reunion with special guest Peter Schickele (a.k.a. P.D.Q. Bach), who conducted his Quodlibet, a work composed while he studied at Juilliard in the late 1950s. President Polisi surprised Schickele by presenting him with his Master of Music diploma, which he earned in 1960 but was too busy to receive after graduation.

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