A Juilliard Alumni Battle Royal

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Every day this week at 1 pm, WQXR is featuring young alumni, well-known graduates and faculty of the Juilliard School, including live audio from the midday concerts earlier this week in The Greene Space.

For today's Showdown, three famous graduates of the music talent hothouse — Alan Gilbert, Wynton Marsalis and Gil Shaham — were vying for your votes. It was a close race all morning between Marsalis and Shaham, with the violinist just narrowly edging out the trumpeter. We played Shaham performing Sibelius' Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 47, at noon.


Comments [19]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

My student days at JUILLIARD go back to the Ernest Hutchinson presidency and the George A. Wedge textbooks.
One of my composition teachers was Roger Goeb. As formative tyro composers we had our compositions played and sung by class members. As there where just 2 singers in the class, I an operatic tenor and the other singer a pop singer, and many instrumentalists, I got to sing quite a number of "far out" experimental selections, too cerebral for the musical tastes of that day. It was a sight singing adventure and often pyrotechnical trapeze act to sing some of the opuses by fellow composers unaware of the voice's potentials, who wrote with wide intervallic jumps in rapid succession. It was challenging and good discipline and, after the experience, invigorating and FUN !!! I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] and the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, where there is voice training and coaching in all the roles of the Shakespeare plays and the operatic roles of Wagner's oeuvre.

May. 03 2012 11:53 AM
HYH from Westchester County

All 3 are excellent musicians......but I voted for Wynton Marsalis. I had the pleasure of hearing him perform live at the International Jazz Day at the UN the other night and I was again reminded of his incredible, all around talent. What a wonderful total musician, not to mention what he is doing with Jazz at Lincoln Center. Talk about devotion. I only ever hear his Haydn trumpet cto on the radio. It would be nice to showcase some of his other classical recordings. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Alan Gilbert and what he has done at the NY Phil and of course, Shaham is a brilliant musician as well. So, kind of a silly contest -- we should celebrate all 3 Juilliard grads and their contributions!

May. 02 2012 04:53 PM
George Harlow from AMNH

All good, but I prefer Wynton Marsalis

May. 02 2012 11:56 AM

No one can compare to Wynton Marsalis when he plays classical. Simply beautiful.

May. 02 2012 11:50 AM
Pat from Long Island

I agree . . . It's better to include the piece to be played. They're all outstanding musicians...that said, I do think gil shahan is extraordinary. To my mind he ranks right up there with Gideon Kremer as one of my favorites!

May. 02 2012 11:47 AM
Mary Ellen Kahn

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Gilbert and Shaham perform together with NY Phil when they presented a Weber violin concerto kudos to these fine musicians for their flawless execution of a very interesting piece.

May. 02 2012 11:46 AM
Lani from NYC

I don't mind choosing a piece of music to be played, but I think pitting musicians against each other really isn't a desirable prospect. The player or the piece -- let's stick to the piece.

May. 02 2012 11:31 AM
Paul Epstein from Lower Manhattan

All 3 artists are terrific. I am voting for Alan Gilbert because he has made a great orchestra even greater. He has invigorated the NY Philharmonic with new freedom and energy, without losing the fine quality of the orchestra's playing. And his programming has been truly exciting, championing the works of today's composers while also providing spirited performances of the standard repertory, usually on the same program. Programs in the last few years of Mozart, Mahler, & Ades; and the upcoming Lundberg & Tchaikovsky are typical. I've been attending many more NY Phil concerts since Alan Gilbert became music director.

May. 02 2012 11:23 AM
Raymond Banacki from Brooklyn, New York

Reportedly, Gil Shaham plays a violin that is on loan from The Stradivarious
Society of Chicago. How lucky is that violin! I would be grateful for one of his violin concertos from either Sibelius or Tchaikovsky. Definitely a little bit of heaven at noontime. Wait, now, a whole lot of heaven at noontime.

May. 02 2012 11:19 AM
kriss from New Jersey

Agree with Bernie. This survey is a pig in a poke.

I vote for Mozart - whoever plays it!

May. 02 2012 10:59 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

I don't particularly care who the artist is; I want to know what piece they would be playing. Since you don't have the works listed, I won't be voting in this Showdown. If I could make a suggestion, I would like to hear Alan Gilbert conduct the NY Philharmonic in Mahler's 1st Symphony.

May. 02 2012 10:28 AM
eileen from newyork, ny

My son graduated from Eastman, which in my humble opinion is a much better school (granted I am prejudiced) and he is working in Vienna as a Media Consultant. What does that say about the arts? ONly the VERY strong shall make it!

May. 02 2012 10:09 AM
LyMartin Chattman from New York City

My undergraduate years from 1988-1993 was incredibly enriching. The discipline and cirriculum was something that has benefited me in so many areas of my life. So grateful for the brotherly love and support Wynton provided. His style and technique is so Inspiring...

May. 02 2012 08:09 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ,

JUILLIARD is many things to even the same person at different times.
My personal experience as a student [ thinking of a future that in those days was bright in prospect ] at JUILLIARD from 1946 to 1951 was so exceptional in the teachers. Among those with whom I studied were Alberto Bimboni the composer and composition teacher of Mrnotti, Met Opera singers Martial Singher and Mack Harrell, and Alfredo Valenti, the stage director/teacher who had a career with his colleague Chaliapin, Serrgius Kagen, composer of "HAMLET" and extraordinary lieder inhstructor in an age when concerts were primarily lieder and others who had left active careers as opera and concert performers in Europe for the greener opportunities here at JUILLIARD. jUILLIARD hasd exponentially increased its coverage of the performing arts by including drama and dance and the affiliated professions for set and costume designers. AND, provided for dormitories and concert spaces much more varied for their formats. All in all, the sophistication that comes with technology and the need to meet with the demands of the current existing 'market' is being amply met by the administration. Everything can be improved upon, yea, and the students and administration will convene to make it so. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] and the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, where there is voice training and coaching in all the roles of the Shakespeare plays and the operatic roles of Wagner's oeuvre.

May. 02 2012 07:48 AM
Bernie from UWS

Dorothy, my issue is this: Juilliard keeps churning out hundreds of graduates every year for a job market that can't sustain that many musicians. Juilliard isn't alone in this problem, but they are the most visible offender. I wonder how many graduates there really leave the school with any sense of the reality they're about to face in the real world? How many will become real estate agents within five years, or go back to school for a business degree? Of course, students see Marsalis or Shaham celebrated in polls like this and think that can be them someday, which is truly misguided.

May. 02 2012 07:33 AM
Dorothy from New Hampshire

Bernie, that is very true - and I can say that with full empathy, I have two degrees from Juilliard. However, the school does not make the musician - we are in charge of keeping classical music alive and thriving because it is so worth it for so many other reasons than competition.

May. 02 2012 07:15 AM
Fran from Scarsdale

"Jailyard" was the nickname it had when I was in music school in the 80s. Isn't there a story about how the pianists at Juilliard would place razor blades between the piano keys in practice rooms to, um, sideline their competitors?

May. 02 2012 07:08 AM
Nigel Tufnel from UES

Bernie, it reminds me of the old joke: how many Juilliard How many Julliard students does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 1,000. One to actually change it, and 999 to say "I can do it better."

May. 02 2012 06:42 AM
Bernie from UWS

This survey is utterly ridiculous. These are three completely different artists. Which piece of theirs do you propose to play? Wynton Marsalis does both jazz and classical, which will we get? Similarly, Alan Gilbert conducts everything from Haydn to Magnus Lindberg. I guess I'll vote for Shaham, simply because I know his discography best.

Btw, Juilliard is hardly a credential to celebrate. The school is notorious for pushing an ultra-competitive ethos that does little for the advancement of music itself.

May. 02 2012 06:25 AM

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