Cover for OLMSTEAD: Juilliard: A History


A History

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 José Limón, 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.

"Olmstead provides an engaging history of The Juilliard School by drawing on interviews, articles in periodicals, and archival materials...." --Quantitative Sociology

"The publication of a modern scholarly history of . . . Juilliard . . . is indeed timely. . . . [Olmstead's] book is rich in historical detail. It offers readers tantalizing extracts from archival sources as it proceeds to chronicle the complicated evolution of the modern-day Juilliard. . . . . [This volume] is a powerful case study in how private institutions not only depend on charismatic personalities and great wealth but must be able to outwit and survive their dominance." -- Leon Botstein, Musical Quarterly

"A fascinating account of the personalities, poiltics, and cultural background of the Juillard School. . . . Juilliard: A History is the first comprehensive history of an American conservatory." -- Sondra Wieland Howe, MLA Notes

"A history of Juilliard, the country's largest, richest music school, has long been needed, and Olmstead's book nicely fills the gap. Her research has been thorough and without interference from the school; and the story she has uncovered, which has some remarkable twists and turns, she tells well."—George W. Martin

"Even the practice rooms come to life in Juilliard: A History." — The Washington Post Book World

"Olmstead . . . has pulled the many strands of this complex story into a very readable narrative, providing a definitive study of a major conservatory — its various locations, the evolution of its curriculum, its distinguished faculty, its idealistic student body, and its relationship to the outside world." — Choice

"A thoroughly researched narrative centered on the personalities and relationships that have given the school its character nad nurtured it in its path to fame. . . . The view is illuminiating." -- Karen Ahlquist, Journal of the American Musicological Society

"The first comprehensive history of the best-known musical conservatoire in the United States. Based on thorough research, many interviews and first-hand experience of teaching at Juilliard. Olmstead traces the shifting artistic policies, student experience and faculty membership of the various institutions that metamorphosed over the years into The Juilliard School of today." -- Kenneth Morgan, American Studies

"Institutional histories, like celebrity biographies, are typically boring exercises, more puff and gloss than real story — but not Juilliard. . . . The story is fascinating, involving as it does the legendary musicians from the past who taught legendary musicians of yesterday and today. . . . [Olmstead] probes into the modern phase of the Juilliard history penetratingly, making it immediate and real. The transformation of the Juilliard School, following the fusion of [the Institute of Musical Art and Juilliard] . . . was thorough, radical, troubled, controversial, and often brilliant. Olmstead makes it as provocative in the reading as it seemed when it was happening." — Robert Commanday, San Francisco Classical Voice

Publication of this book was supported by the Henry and Edna Binkele Classical Music Fund.

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