Juilliard's China Branch Moves Forward

Thursday, Aug 17, 2017
Juilliard Journal
Tianjin Juilliard campus
Rendering of Juilliard’s Tianjin campus.

The Tianjin Juilliard School—Juilliard’s first overseas branch—has been “envisioned as a model of the 21st-century conservatory,” President Joseph W. Polisi told a crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony, which took place in June. “The conservatory of today not only educates the next generation of performing artists but also welcomes the public to the world of music as learners and as audience members.”

The school is scheduled to open to students in September 2019 and its design makes Polisi’s stated mission concrete. The approximately 357,000 square-foot building will have four pavilions with performance spaces and an open lobby that will allow people to see the practice rooms and studios with faculty and students at work. It’s being designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the firm that oversaw the 2009 renovations of Juilliard’s main campus and the redevelopment of Lincoln Center. The Tianjin Juilliard School is a five-minute walk from the train station in the Tianjin Binhai New Area, which is less than one hour by high-speed train from Beijing.

The plan is that 200 students will enroll in the new school’s graduate program and work toward U.S.-accredited full-time master’s degrees in orchestral performance, chamber-music performance, and collaborative piano. The school will also offer part-time programs for pre-college students, adult education, and public performances. Courses will be taught in English by international faculty members, and there will be a constant faculty exchange between the Tianjin and New York campuses.

Alexander Brose, the former vice-president for development at the Aspen Music Festival and School, was recently appointed as executive director and C.E.O. of The Tianjin Juilliard School, and violinist Wei He, who trained at the Sichuan Music Conservatory before teaching at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for about 20 years, will serve as artistic director and dean. After Polisi steps down as president of Juilliard, in June 2018, he’ll continue to serve as the chair of The Tianjin Juilliard School’s board.

Polisi said The Tianjin Juilliard School’s core values will include requiring students to do community engagement work such as playing music in hospitals and senior centers and developing student entrepreneurship. “We not only want to educate the next generations of musicians,” Polisi said, “but also to support the growth of productive and happy adults.”

Joseph W Polisi and Li Bo
President Polisi with Li Bo, the chairman of the Tianjin Innovative Finance Investment Company.