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China's first lady visits Juilliard School

By HEZI JIANG (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-09-29 02:18

China's first lady visits Juilliard School

China's first lady Peng Liyuan is welcomed by Juilliard School President Joseph W. Polisi as she arrives at the famous conservatory in New York City on Monday morning. In the presence of the first lady, Polisi announced that Juilliard is opening its first campus outside New York in Tianjin, China. HEZI JIANG/CHINA DAILY

China's first lady Peng Liyuan, who was a renowned singer, visited the Juilliard School, one of the world's pre-eminent performing arts conservatories, on Monday, and the school's president announced during her tour that Juilliard will open its first campus outside New York in Tianjin, China.

"I believe that maintaining Juilliard's prominence in the global performing arts landscape will depend on a robust series of programs to engage with a wide range of learners in different parts of the world," said Julliard president Joseph W. Polisi, who with Juilliard students welcomed Peng. It was the last day of the week-long visit to the US by Peng and her husband, Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The new school is expected to open in 2018 in a building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the same firm responsible for the 2006-2009 expansion of Juilliard’s New York home at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

China's Ministry of Education recently gave preliminary approval to develop the school in Tianjin for Juilliard and its partners – the Tianjin Conservatory of Music, the Tianjin Binhai New Area CBD Administrative Commission, and the Tianjin Innovative Finance Investment Company (TIFI).

Pending final approval, the school will offer a Master of Music degree in orchestral performance, chamber music performance and collaborative piano, as well as a pre-college program, an instrumental training program, adult education and public performances and exhibits.

"The Tianjin Conservatory of Music has played a central role in the development of the cultural life of our city. We are extremely pleased that Juilliard has chosen Tianjin for its first expansion beyond New York City in its 110-year history. We have been working together closely for over three years, and this work has formed a strong basis for our partnership going forward," said Xu Changjun, president of the Tianjin Conservatory of Music.

As part of pre-opening development work, Juilliard will send members of its faculty to China eight times a year for master classes and performances at the Tianjin Conservatory and at other Chinese conservatories.

The Juilliard School, founded in 1905, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in dance, drama and music. Its famous alumni include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, composer John Williams, actor Robin Williams, singer Nina Simone and economist Alan Greenspan, who studied clarinet at the school from 1943 to 1944 and later became chairman of the US Federal Reserve.

The Juilliard School has enrolled students from China since the 1920s. Today, there are nearly 300 pre-college and college alumni from Greater China, and there are more than 80 Chinese students enrolled at the Juilliard college and pre-college programs in New York.

In 2008, the Juilliard Orchestra toured China with conductor Zhang Xian, and performed at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the Suzhou Performing Arts Center. The Juilliard String Quartet toured China in 2015.

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