Billy Joel Pledges Millions to Music Schools

Classic Arts News   Billy Joel Pledges Millions to Music Schools
 
Pop star Billy Joel has made a series of major donations to colleges, universities, and music schools, including the New England Conservatory in Boston and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

NEC received a gift of $300,000 to support its Performance Outreach Fellowship Ensembles program, which helps students stage community concerts. Joel gave the Eastman School $320,000 to endow a scholarship fund. The first beneficiary of the fund is 33-year-old Russell Scarbrough, who is working toward a doctorate in jazz and contemporary media at the school.

Joel also gave $320,000 to Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts. The money will be used to create fellowships in composition, providing tuition and a stipend to four graduate students for two years at a time.

According to press reports, New York University, the Juilliard School, the State University of New York, and the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Music Center are also receiving grants from Joel.

Joel, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has sold more than 100 million copies of such albums as Piano Man, The Stranger, and Innocent Man. An album of his classical compositions, Fantasies and Delusions, was released in 2001. He collaborated with choreographer Twyla Tharp on the 2002 musical Movin' Out, which is set to his songs, and won a Tony Award for the show's orchestrations.

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