In this first comprehensive history, Andrea Olmstead takes us behind the scenes and into the practice rooms, studios, and offices of one of the most famous music schools in the world. The roster of Juilliard faculty and their students reads like a veritable who's who of the performing arts world. The music school has counted Josef and Rosina Lhevinne and Olga Samaroff Stokowski among its faculty, with students including Richard Rodgers, Van Cliburn, James Levine, Leontyne Price, Miles Davis, and Itzhak Perlman. The dance faculty has included Jos Limn, Anna Sokolow, and the venerable Martha Graham, while such bright lights as Robin Williams, Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, and Mandy Patinkin have emerged from the youngest department in the school, the Drama Division. What is it really like to be immersed in the rarefied, ultra-competitive conservatory atmosphere of Juilliard? Olmstead has pored over archival records and ephemeral material and conducted dozens of unprecedented interviews to paint a true picture of the school's private side and the accomplishments and foibles of its leaders.
Through its various incarnations as the Institute of Musical Art, the Juilliard Musical Foundation, the Juilliard School of Music, and The Juilliard School, stormy directorships and controversies have left their mark: Augustus Juilliard's multi-million-dollar bequest in 1919, the expensive move to the Lincoln Center complex, and dozens of episodes of power-brokering, arrogance, intimidation, secrecy, and infighting. Balanced against these are the vision, dedication, talent, and determination of generations of gifted teachers, students, and administrators. For nearly a century, Juilliard has trained the artists who compose the elite corps of the performing arts community in the United States. "Juilliard: A History" affirms the school's artistic legacy of great performances as the one constant amid decades of upheaval and change.