The following events in Juilliard's history occurred in December and January:
January 21, the Juilliard Graduate School gave the New York premiere and second U.S. production of Handel’s opera Julius Caesar with faculty members Albert Stoessel conducting and Alfredo Valenti as artistic director. The cast featured students Carl Theman, Willard Young, Janice Kraushaar, John Barr, Lelane Rivera, Raymond Middleton, George Newton, and Roderic Cross.
December 10, 18-year-old pianist Doris Pines, a student of Lonny Epstein and Ernest Hutcheson, was crowned Beauty Queen of Juilliard at the Social Committee’s Christmas Ball. Ten contestants who were nominated by the student body competed in the beauty and talent contest. Pines went on to participate in a citywide college competition on January 9, winning the title Miss Publicity of New York City.
January 23, the Juilliard String Quartet premiered Elliott Carter’s Quartet No. 3, which was commissioned for the quartet by Juilliard. The work brought Carter his second Pulitzer Prize.
January 18-25, the first annual Focus! festival was held at Juilliard. More than 250 students participated in the event, which centered on the theme A World in Transition: The New Music, 1945-1955. As part of the festival, faculty member Joel Sachs moderated a preconcert roundtable on the postwar decade with John Cage, Morton Feldman, Vivian Fine, and faculty members Milton Babbitt, David Diamond, and Vincent Persichetti as well as former president William Schuman. In addition to presenting works by the panelists, the festival featured compositions by faculty members Elliott Carter and Aaron Copland; alumnus Henry Cowell; and Pierre Boulez, Luigi Dallapiccola, Irving Fine, Kenneth Fuchs, Alberto Ginastera, Daron Aric Hagen, Christopher James, Laura Karpman, Bruno Maderna, Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Nono, Walter Piston, Quincy Porter, Sergei Prokofiev, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Stefan Wolpe.