Sublime is probably the best word to describe the performance by guest Juilliard Alumni, violinist Stephanie Song accompanied by pianist Peng Peng, who capped off an outstanding evening of entertainment at our school launch of the Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme on Monday 13th April.
Stephanie played two classical pieces; Jules Massenet’s “Meditation” from Thaï, and an energetic and stirring rendition of Brahms’ Sonatensatz. Her final piece, George Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess, was a crowd favourite and proved her versatility as a performer.
The inspiration, however, did not only come from the music. Stephanie, who lived her early life in Shanghai, spoke about her own journey as a performer and world citizen, about being accepted to attend The Juilliard School when she was only 10, and about how that Juilliard education was fundamental to her growth as not only a performer but a person. Now a Professor of Music at The Suzhou University School of Music, she emphasized how important it is for performers to use their talents to make a difference in the community, giving the example of her own work playing music at the bedsides of cancer patients and Alzheimer sufferers.
The launch programme also included beautiful performances by our own talented students, including the five students shortlisted for the Global Orchestra and our IB and Women’s Choirs, as well as a broader introduction of the benefits for our school of the introduction of the new performing arts programme by Ms Tricia Ross, Managing Director of Site-Based Programme Development, Juilliard Global Ventures. This is The Juilliard School’s first collaboration with a school outside of the USA and Ms Ross talked about the great excitement within Juilliard about the new partnership with Nord Anglia Education, and how the new performing arts programme will build on the great talent within our school.
Ms Ross had the opportunity during the day to tour the school to view facilities, meet with performing arts teachers and view classes. As launch school for the Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme, the first music curriculum will be introduced at the beginning of the 2015/16 academic year.
Host for the launch event, Mrs Lesley-Ann Wallace spoke of how the programme will enhance our current offer in the performing arts saying, “The program combines our high quality approach to teaching and learning with Juilliard’s artistic values, traditions and expertise.” She also pointed out how closely our values of making a difference whilst achieving academic excellence fit with the vision of Juilliard so clearly demonstrated by the performance and speech made by Stephanie Song.