New York-Style Classes Coming to Young Musicians in China ; Juilliard's Asia Campus to Be First for Major U.S. Performing Arts School

By Lau, Joyce | International Herald Tribune, January 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

New York-Style Classes Coming to Young Musicians in China ; Juilliard's Asia Campus to Be First for Major U.S. Performing Arts School


Lau, Joyce, International Herald Tribune


Several U.S. institutions, including Yale and New York University, plan to open Asian campuses. But Juilliard is the first major U.S. performing arts school to take the leap.

Music students from the Juilliard School in New York took questions from a small audience at the Asia Society in Hong Kong about their experiences at one of the world's top performing arts schools. By some measures, it sounded like any other elite college, with messy students, heavy workloads and helicopter parents.

"The on-campus freshman bathrooms were gross," said Olivia Mok, 20, a third-year violin performance major originally from Hong Kong.

They also spoke of long school days and fierce competition. On top of practicing their instruments, Ms. Mok and her friends would practice sprinting to sign-up sheets for audition slots. "There was literally a stampede one second after I put my name up," she said.

"I think everyone is trying to get their kids to be a soloist. Parents try to push as much as possible," added Kathryn Peterson, a French horn player from Texas and Ms. Mok's roommate. (They have since moved off campus.)

The talk in Hong Kong this month came on the heels of an announcement in June that Juilliard would build its first overseas branch in China. That venture is part of Juilliard Global, a 2011 initiative for overseas expansion.

Several U.S. institutions -- most notably Yale and New York University -- are in the process of opening Asian campuses. But Juilliard is the first major U.S. performing arts school to take the leap.

The idea is to open a facility in Yujiapu, a planned financial district under construction in Tianjin, a city outside Beijing.

The Juilliard institute in Yujiapu will not be a copy of the one in New York. It will have programs similar to those of Juilliard's smaller Pre-College Division, for students ages 8 to 18, and will not offer university degrees. It will also focus on music and lack the wide variety of performance and humanities courses found at the main campus.

New faculty will be recruited for the Chinese campus, though faculty from New York would visit for workshops and master classes, Christopher Mossey, vice president for global initiatives at Juilliard, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

But perhaps the most important difference is that Yujiapu is not New York. Juilliard is famously located within the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. …

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