The Juilliard School was founded in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art by Frank Damrosch, godson of Franz Liszt and head of musical education for New York City's public education system. Thinking that American students should not have to travel to European conservatories to receive a decent education, he found a financial backer, James Loeb, and they established the school, modestly planning for 100 students. The school soon outgrew its home on 5th Ave and 12th St and moved to a new home on Claremont Ave near Columbia University. In 1919 Augustus Juilliard, a wealthy textile merchant, died, leaving a huge bequest for the advancement of music. In 1924 the trustees used the monies to found the Juilliard Graduate School; the 2 schools were merged in 1926, and the Juilliard School of Music was born. At first, the 2 schools had separate deans and identities, but composer William Schuman, later to win the 1st Pulitzer Prize for music, became president of the schools in 1945, and completed the merger process. He established the dance division in 1951 with Martha Hill as director, the teaching and performance Juilliard String Quartet, and an innovative music theory curriculum that changed how music was taught throughout the United States. In 1961 Scuman resigned to become president of the new Lincoln Center.
Peter Mennin, Schuman’s successor, created a drama division with John Houseman as director. The school moved to Lincoln Center in 1969, changed its name to The Juilliard School to reflect its broader artistic scope, and gained a pre-college division for talented youngsters between 8 and 18. Joseph Polisi has been the president since 1984; the school has a new emphasis on the humanities and liberal arts as well as community outreach. Should a list of alumni be compiled, it would feature many of today's top performers in all genres of music, as well as dance and drama, proving that talent is what it takes to get in to this prestigious school.
Should you be a prodigy or genius and want to attend Juilliard, you should visit their website at