Violinist writes: Juilliard must wise up or diemain
A violin graduate, Emma Sutton-Williams (pic), has taken aim at Juilliard with a blast at its narrow classical focus, to the exclusion of other musical forms and the real world outside. She argues the school must get with the rhythm, or fade away:
The Juilliard School trained me in excellence for a traditional orchestral career. It’s what makes the institution so extraordinary. But why is it continuing to prepare brilliant students to only enter the world of dying orchestras with downward spiraling funding without helping them explore other genres or expand their skill set to survive a changing market?
The article itself is behind a paywall at Rolling Stone, but the comments are free – and interesting. Here’s one:
Having been a student at Juilliard & having studied classical violin since the age of 4, I really do not want to see Juilliard change its program of turning out brilliant performers and artists. I’ve been able to perform with some of music’s greatest musicians: Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, and The Moody Blues to name just a few and they represent different genres of music which are definitely are not classical. The point is, I can play any genre I want to play whenever I want to play it, or gig it because I received excellent musical training from Juilliard’s outstanding faculty of Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay along with many, many others.
I agree that not putting technology and maybe marketing into the core curriculum of a 21st century conservatory curriculum is negligent. I don’t feel however that it’s the school’s or the teacher’s job to educate the student about other genres. Which genres exactly? The music world is enormous and if the student is interested in something they are free to explore. But the student goes to conservatory for a reason- that they love classical music and the refinement and extreme skill that it requires. And I’m tired of hearing about the impending death of orchestras. It is a complex and scary topic but classical music is profound and beautiful (as is much other music) and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.