Juilliard comes near bottom of NY best-value music schools

Juilliard comes near bottom of NY best-value music schools


norman lebrecht

February 05, 2021

If you want to study music in New York, the best place is CUNY in Staten Island.

Juilliard comes in at 16th.


Read here.



  • Montblanc says:

    From the article:

    Our Ranking Methodology

    To determine how to rank each college, we researched and evaluated each school’s estimated annual cost of tuition and undergraduate acceptance rate. We used in-state tuition rates where available. We took annual tuition rates directly from each school’s website and acceptance data from Google. We sorted each school first by the cost of tuition (lower is better) and then by acceptance rate (higher is better), letting each value make up equal portions (50%) of the final rankings.

    • Helen Rosenbaum says:

      Considering the financial devastation from COVID on both schools and students, it seems that some financial diversity will soon be put in place for tuition and housing under Cuomo and Biden-Harris.

      Universal free tuition will be pushed by both destitute students and both NYC along with the new leadership in the White House. THANK GOD!!

      It’s the only decent thing to do.

    • Couperin says:

      In other words it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the education, faculty, or artistic experiences? Ok great have fun in Trumpville, NYC!!…pardon me, Staten Island.

    • V.Lind says:

      Those criteria seem to me absurd, not to say irrelevant. Are we supposed to be looking at this and inferring that this is the list of these institutions in order of how good they are? Shouldn’t that have something to do with breadth and depth of offerings, quality of faculty, results in terms of graduations and placements of former students?

      The other things are just statistical facts, not measurements of quality. Especially acceptance rates. What is that supposed to mean? Higher is better? Doesn’t that just mean that standards are looser?

      There was once a notorious prison in British Columbia (now closed) where rioting and violence were rampant. It was as prevalent among the corrections officers as among the prisoners. I remember speaking with the MP in whose constituency the prison was located, and he told me of his horror at the fact that 98% of applicants for the job of prison guard were accepted. Leaving aside the question as to what sort people are attracted to this kind of work, he felt that any job that accepted that many applicants was not exactly scrupulous about who it took.

      Higher education in any field is not directly comparable, but the high acceptance principle, if that is what it is — sounds more like a practice that wants to be a principle — raises questions.

      • Lyle C. says:

        Color and sex are more important than your word salad about quality.

        Biden (a White male) is now overseeing the US. They care not of antiquated standards.

    • Krystal Freemont says:

      Biden will be canceling all student loan debts anyway so expense will soon be a moot point.

      He and everyone associated with him ran on this point along with promises like the universal $15/hr wage increase for those not following the last, long four years of American politics.

      Now that Joe and Kamala control the American people, we can all FINALLY relax and take on less personal responsibilities with Trump out!

      With universal income being backed by more of our beautiful Democrat women of color, we won’t be required to waste our lives working for someone else either.

      • A Pianist says:

        What a classic “Government as Santa Claus” viewpoint. “I’ll just get free money in my bank account from the government, and do whatever I feel like!” Dream on. Also, student loan bailouts would be the largest wealth transfer from poorer to richer in the history of our country. Maybe the privileged who call the shots will get away with it…maybe not.

        • Keith Obergh says:

          Democrats and Libs specifically backed Biden-Harris on this issue demanding FULL cancellation of student loans.

          Biden forgot…again but wants to sign an executive order eradicating up to $50K. That’s just this week though.

          Check Forbes!

          Perhaps tomorrow he’ll have Jen circle back to ya…..

        • Donna Upshaw says:

          …“Also, student loan bailouts would be the largest wealth transfer from poorer to richer in the history of our country.”

          Biden-Harris voters are too dumb to catch this besides the fact it does them personal good has been too blinding. They don’t care who benefits so long as their useless degrees and loans get cleared. That’s only a good machination if you are either a smart Republican or a Limousine Liberal like Pelosi who owns shares in those stocks, funds, etf’s, etc. either through a company or family member like her husband. LOVE the sudden stock killings she made along with little Yellen’s $800K GameStop windfall. Democrats eschew responsibilities. The billions of dollars in damage after their peaceful protests are somebody else’s problem and only a few got nicked! Just wait until the property and sales taxes shoot through the roof as they work their odd jobs and pack into pricy hovels wondering when Joe and Kamala will finally “help them”…USEFUL IDIOTS! They think prices are too high now. LMFAO!!!

          Can’t wait for senile Joe to sign off on another executive order as Dems continue to…peacefully protest.

          • K says:

            Hi Donna-

            Wow – somebody with the guts and intellectual wherewithal to tell it like it is. I have tears of joy running down my face as I listen to your words, words that strike at the heart of what is wrong. And to be so original in thought. Who but you could have come up with something so eloquent, so appropriate as “senile Joe”? That’s giving it to “them.” And “Democrats eschew responsibilities.” Man, if that’s not salting the rim, I don’t know what is. But not to be outdone, “The billions of dollars in damage after their peaceful protests …” You couldn’t be more correct. The insurrection – err, people exercising the first amendment – protest at the Capitol on Jan 6 was nothing compared to the protestors holding up placards earlier in the year. How dare they?!

            I really hope that we will hear more from you. Your perspicacity about these issues has been nothing short of illuminating. I hope that you wear your MAGA hat proudly and please don’t hesitate to leave your s**t smeared on the floor of the capitol building of your state. They need to hear from you and I can’t think of a better way. Don’t you?


          • Dillan says:

            Thank you for speaking out ‘K’ and reminding everyone of the purpose of the January 6th gathering was!

            “people exercising the first amendment – protest at the Capitol on Jan 6”

            It was much more composed than the Democrat fueled ANTIFA and BLM crimes they embarrassed America with for MONTHS during lockdown no less.

            By God, Trump was fully exonerated by the US Justice system in the form of opposing Managers of all people! It’s too bad people like Pelosi, Schumer, AOC, Talib, Omar, Waters, Cuomo, etc. were too afraid to formally testify under oath. Imagine each of them being held to such basic legal standards in telling their truths!!! They COWARDLY retreated under the threat of perjury and incitement as was shown on the Senate Floor. Too bad…

  • EMore says:

    If you read at the bottom…They made their judgements based on cheap tuition and high acceptance rates. So a “value” those schools may be for New York students….but that is about it!
    Music is a risky career that should not be trekked into lightly….but, if you do take that path….make sure a school like Juilliard or Columbia (both at the end of the list) is where you land or else, you will find out that “value” school will likely end up a very expensive choice in the end.
    Go to medical school kids!

    • Beckmesser says:

      Juilliard graduate here. You’re right about medical school. I know a lot of doctors who play in string quartets for their own enjoyment.

  • zergafritz says:

    Instead of low tuition and high acceptance rates, apply the criteria of quality and outcomes for graduates and see if that list looks the same.

  • BruceB says:

    I wonder how they would rate Curtis 😉

    To look at it from the “practical dad” standpoint: since a person is unlikely to make a living performing in any case, it’s probably best if they waste the least possible amount of money on their training :-/

    A quick glance over the list shows that some of the schools don’t even offer a performance degree in the first place, so not even what most people think of as “going to music school.”

    And one last thing: community colleges may have an acceptance rate of 100% or close to it, but some programs within the college can be quite competitive. I completed my physical therapy training at a community college: in my year they accepted 16 students out of 132 applicants, for an acceptance rate of 12% — half that of Mannes and 1/3 that of MSM according to this survey. And here’s a refreshing little fact: they take so few students because they know there is a limited supply of jobs out there, and they want to make sure their graduates can find employment. I remember the director saying once that she thought it would be unethical to run a program where students couldn’t find a job once they graduated.

    • The View from America says:

      This “practical dad” is speaking my language. Thanks for the reality check, Bruce.

    • Reed says:

      Not to be ‘that guy’, it makes little sense to compare on the basis of acceptance rate when the applicant pools could be fundamentally different. In this case, the applicant pool to schools like Mannes and MSM are probably very different from that of a PT program at a community college.

    • Basso Continuoso says:

      That mentality among administrators has been devastating to classical music. As it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of graduates didn’t go on to some other profession anyway. Does that mean they should have given up their musical education? Of course not. Conservatories are not medical schools, technical schools and should not be viewed or treated that way. And, graduates of conservatories are in demand for medical schools and others, who recognize the value of musical training. What it has done is decrease opportunity for learning and teaching. Most graduates, anyway, are going to become teachers. It also depends on the instrument. An orchestra job should never be the one and only goal unless that’s the only place your instrument is used. This hurts the teachers, most of all, who are not salaried with benefits, and need to have a reasonably full studio to maintain their chops and improve as teachers. You cannot tell from auditions who is going to be the best. When you depend on that, you end up with a lot of mechanical players.

  • Daniel says:

    Graduating from Juilliard last year, most people get some sort of scholarship with many exceeding 80%. It’s not as bad as it seems. Very few people actually pay $47k/year. I think anywhere between $3k/year to $15k/year sounds more reasonable.

    • Dan P. says:

      I was there for four years, and didn’t pay a penny. As I recall they were very generous with scholarships during my time there. Many selective institutions of higher learning offer significant scholarship aid.

  • E Rand says:

    No. Juilliard has spent the past 20 years squandering its precious institutional capital in a number of ways. It is now a moldering institution in a squalid city with a hollowed out faculty, apparently busy chasing woke-ness. Go elsewhere.

    • Larry D. says:

      Evelyn Rand likes to blame “woke-ness” for everything. “Moldering”? “Squalid”? Are you living in sparkling Palm Beach to be near your cult leader?

      • E Rand says:

        Would you say that NYC is not squalid? I live there. I wade through throngs of homeless, feces and yellow snow in my formerly beautiful UWS neighborhood. I’ve watched Comrade Deblasio wreck the city in 8 short years…extraordinary communist efficiency.
        And yes, wokeness, blunt instrument of the communists, is to blame.

        • True North says:

          Anytime you spout a bunch of nonsense about “communism”, when you clearly haven’t the faintest idea of what that really means, it negates any shred of credibility your comment may have had. It really does come across as ignorant and actually quite stupid. Just to let you know.

        • Save the MET says:

          Puhleeze. Sure some businesses are closed, but the City by and large is just fine under the current conditions. Squalid? Not likely.

    • Dan P. says:

      Does this statement actually mean anything?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Be woke, go broke.

      • True North says:

        Be dumb, stay dumb.

      • K says:

        Hi Sue-

        How was your trip to the Capitol on Jan 6th? Was that you we saw next to the Q-Anon Shaman? Does the carpet match the drapes?- – I mean, really, that head-dress was something out of a right-wing insurrection. Oh wait, it was a right-wing insurrection. My bad…

        Be safe out there, and by that I mean watch out for those Jewish Space Lasers!


        • MWnyc says:

          I believe Sue Sonata Form lives in Australia, for what that’s worth.

          • K says:


            Thanks for the disclaimer. Since Sue seems to align with the right, I’m sure she wished she could have been at the US Capitol on the 6th. But, sorry Sue, I made an assumption.

            For the record, there are plenty of right-wing wackos in Australia. And in Australia, they really need immigration reform; all of those f**king white people need to leave. Talk about being invaded…

      • Larry D says:

        Gosh, you can make little rhymes, in addition to being a predictable reactionary!

    • violin accordion says:

      Manhattan SM a has some of the best teachers.

  • E Rand says:

    p.s. No one would believe for a moment that CUNY staten island is a better place to study, either. That would be silly. It is just notable that Juilliard is no longer the center of the universe, and this trend away from formerly great institutions will continue.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Kudos to CUNY Brooklyn College. We have a gorgeous new Conservatory of Music, and a stellar faculty. I’ve been there since January 1999, and the warmth of our faculty, impeccable staff, facilities and diverse student body makes it one of the best in the world. Affordable too, and so close to NYC. (Many applying students for undergraduate degree programs are not aware of the amazing Macaulay Honors College. Full tuition paid, a brand new Mac, and other perks, plus being able to attend the CUNY Graduate courses while in the undergrad program.)

    • Basso Continuoso says:

      The CUNY system has several music departments, the Copland School of Music, and in Manhattan, Hunter College. They have one of the top doctoral programs as well, in Manhattan.

      • Jeffrey Biegel says:

        Yes indeed. It is not easy to be accepted into the DMA program at the CUNY Graduate Center, but it is a fabulous program. The building is the old B. Altman department store turned into a first class school. They have the beautiful Elabash Recital Hall too. Directly across from the Empire State Building. Dr. Barry S. Brook was my doctoral advisor at Juilliard, and also taught at the CUNY Graduate Center. The Brook Center is a scholarly facility associated with the doctoral program in music at The City University of New York Graduate: Center.https://brookcenter.gc.cuny.edu/

        As for the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, although we teach remotely during the pandemic, our building boasts new Steinway ‘B’s and a gorgeous ‘D’ which I remember selecting with the great pianist, Ursula Oppens, one of our Distinguished Professors and teacher for the course, ConTempo.

  • Vance Koven says:

    I’m more than a little puzzled that Queens College (CUNY) wasn’t even on the list. Its music program has been considered top-rate from the inception of the school, and it devotes considerable resources to its faculty and physical facilities.

    • Tito Muñoz says:

      CUNY Queens is where I went to school. Tuition at the time (early 2000s) was $2k per semester. Great faculty, great facilities. I’m glad I went there.

    • Been there, done that says:

      I got my BM from Juilliard and my MA from Queens College. If you actually want to learn something then Queens is a much better school. The remedial theory course that I had to take, (since the courses at Juilliard were pathetic) was excellent. If you want to go a conservatory to make connections, then Juilliard is probably the better bet. With covid here, all bets are off, and frankly I would not consider going to either, but that isn’t the point of this discussion. BTW, I graduated from Queens over 30 years ago, but I would never recommend Juilliard since the academics were just awful.

    • The View from America says:

      Wasn’t the Austrian emigre composer Karl Rathaus on the faculty there?

      • Vance Koven says:

        Yes indeed. Karol Rathaus, a student of Franz Schreker, was one of the founders of the department; one of the music buildings (the principal one in my day) is named for him.

        There were quite a few distinguished composers who taught at Queens: Hugo Weisgall, Eric Salzman, Benjamin Lees, Mel Powell, Vittorio Rieti, Judith Lang Zaimont.

        • Save the MET says:

          Leo Kraft missed from your list. Far more prolific than any others you mentioned. Pupil of Rathaus in Queens, Randall Thomson at Princeton and Nadia Boulanger at the American School.

  • Monty Earleman says:

    Ya get wacha pay for!

  • Tony says:

    CUNY in Staten Island sucks. Don’t even try to think that it’s better than the other NY schools like Manhattan, Juilliard and honestly, even Mannes.

    • Bratsche says:

      Why do you hold Mannes in such low regard, as your comment suggests? Do you speak from experience?
      As a Mannes graduate, we prized ourselves in our theoretical knowledge/aural skills that we had to conquer to graduate and had the same teachers for lessons & chamber music that Juilliard/MSM did. If anything, our standards were a lot more demanding since the school was smaller and everyone was involved in multiple ensembles, yet you still had to maintain your base-line commitments of courses and lessons.
      I would really like to know why you said your comment that way and your reasoning behind it.

  • Patricia says:

    Cornell – not in Gnu York City – has a first-rate music department that combines performance and musicology. And Ithaca is much cheaper and easier to live in than Gnu York.

  • JussiB says:

    In Los Angeles, Colburn School of Music is #1.
    Go to USC if you want to get mugged or worse.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    The individual instrumental teacher should be a student’s foremost consideration – otherwise which school they teach at doesn’t matter so much. It matters most how you play, not how much music history or theory you know.

  • I was one of the privileged recipients of the Juilliard myth, and am grateful for it everyday of my life. The Juilliard name and world wide reputation alone opened doors for me as much as if I had attended any Ivy League school. I was surrounded by the creme de la creme, many of whom performed in the great opera houses of the world and in/with world class orchestras. Many of whom continue to make great contributions as arts workers, music critics, managers, and multiple aspects of the business of music. The richness of the Juilliard experience for me was incomparable, albeit not as an opera singer, but succeeded in opening my senses, eyes and heart to a truly special part of my creativity and ability to enjoy and understand music. I am still awed and honored by being one of the Juilliard “chosen,” and thank and bless my parents for making my dream come true.

  • debuschubertussy says:

    This list does not mean “best music schools.” It says it is “best value music schools,” which is most certainly not the same thing.

    • V.Lind says:

      How does high acceptance rate fit into “best value”?

      • BruceB says:

        “To determine how to rank each college, we researched and evaluated each school’s estimated annual cost of tuition and undergraduate acceptance rate. We used in-state tuition rates where available. We took annual tuition rates directly from each school’s website and acceptance data from Google. We sorted each school first by the cost of tuition (lower is better) and then by acceptance rate (higher is better), letting each value make up equal portions (50%) of the final rankings.”

        I’m not quite sure how that translates into “best value,” but… *shrug*

  • Brian says:

    I’m surprised the Aaron Copland School at Queens College isn’t on their list. Frankly, I didn’t know there was a CUNY branch on Staten Island, but all the power to them. Some musicians there should help dilute the Republican population a bit.

    • E Rand says:

      everywhere the republicans are diluted, you get the San Francisco effect; Beautiful cities destroyed by the democrat locusts, who feed on the institutions and wealth created by the Republicans, and then move on to the next republican city to suck dry. For this reason, I pray Staten island preserves its electorate. Maybe Staten Island Statehood!!??

      • True North says:

        Another complete load of nonsense. You’re embarrassing yourself.

        • E Rand says:

          Who’s embarrassed? I’m not embarrassed. Anyway, the lack of moving trucks in these formerly great cities as people clamber to escape democrat hellscapes speaks louder than your breezy comments

  • K says:

    I can only speak for my instrument. Back when there were still auditions for orchestras, about 60% of the winners in were Juilliard grads, with the remainder going to grads of Curtis and Eastman. Not sure, for this particular part of the music business, what metric means more (surveys and rankings). Not denying that one couldn’t get a good education at the other mentions, but unless the Juilliard professor was teaching at a SUNY school (which I feel confident that they are not) I think the situation speaks for itself. I know lots of very competent people who come out of places like the SUNYs, but guess what? They very often still end up at the biggies for graduate study. It probably boils down to, what do you want to do? If you want to write computer apps that center around music, Juilliard may not be the best place. In the end, I find these comparisons silly. Not being snarky, but they seemed designed to appeal to those who don’t have a lot of knowledge about the industry. MTC.

  • SlippedChat says:

    The linked article was focused on value-for-money among New York music schools. On that criterion, it’s not surprising that so many music departments of City University of New York ranked high on the list. Part of the founding mission of CUNY was to make college education more available to students who didn’t come from monied backgrounds–something it continues to do.

  • Alexander T says:

    The best music college within the CUNY system is by far the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

  • morgan says:

    This skewed. Barnard, and Juilliard are both owned/operated by Columbia University. While there are some very good music schools on the list, the ranking is simply illogical. Much of the CUNY/SUNY is very good but there is no international reputation much less a rep within the US as with the Juilliard and Columbia. The view needs to be much longer.

    • Bill says:

      Columbia University neither owns nor operates the Juilliard School. You can see this in the school’s IRS filings.

  • Curtis grad says:

    No surprises there.

  • mary says:

    Do music schools publish detailed short- and long-term placement rate/data of every graduating class, as all reputable professional schools do (law, business, medical schools), and as all good PhD programs do?

    It would be fascinating to know what the historical data show about the career prospects of Juilliard graduating classes: 1 year out, 5 years out, 10 years out.

    If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say, 10 years out, the overwhelming majority, 90%, of Juilliard graduates don’t wind up with a major solo career or a major orchestra position.

    So what do most of them do?

  • JussiB says:

    juilliard used to be #1 before it sold out to Chinese Communists.