Miles Davis. Renée Fleming. Kelsey Grammer. Kevin Kline. Laura Linney. Patti LuPone. Kevin Spacey. Risë Stevens. Robin Williams. Household names today, but not all that long ago they were students learning their craft at New York's legendary Juilliard School. A fascinating new exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (NYPL) captures the burgeoning artistry of those myriad young performers during their time at Juilliard, which this year marks its 100th anniversary. The Juilliard School, 1905-2005: Celebrating 100 Years opens on September 16 and runs through January 14, 2006. It includes photographs and programs from student productions by Juilliard's Drama Division, videos of Juilliard's Dance Division performances, and a treasure trove of papers and documents tracing the School's history. It's co-curated by Jane Gottlieb (Vice President, Library and Information Resources, The Juilliard School) and Barbara Cohen-Straytner (Judy R. and Alfred A. Rosenberg Curator of Exhibitions, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts).
Juilliard's history is well represented in the NYPL's music, dance, and theater collections. The papers of William Schuman, Juilliard's president from 1945 through 1961, are housed in the Music Division, as are those of other well known former faculty members. Of note are the papers of alumnus Teo Macero, primary producer of jazz giant (and Juilliard alumnus) Miles Davis's recordings at Columbia Records. Juilliard has always had a close connection with the Library's Jerome Robbins Dance Division as well. Martha Hill, the founding director of Juilliard's Dance Division, had an eye for posterity, and deposited films and videos of Juilliard's performances in the Juilliard and NYPL collections.
The current exhibit is not the first collaboration between Juilliard and the NYPL‹but it is something of a landmark. The last collaborative show by the two organizations took place in 1941, when the NYPL exhibited materials relating to 25 operas produced at Juilliard from 1931 through 1941. One of those operas was Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, with Risë Stevens in the cast.
Juilliard's Archive documents the history of the School since its founding in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art. It contains the papers of all School administrators, from founder Frank Damrosch to current president Joseph W. Polisi, along with biographical files, complete runs of School catalogs, concert programs, and thousands of photographs.