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Wow! Students Join Juilliard President, Musicians & Grammy-Winner for Extraordinary Day

  • British International School of Chicago | Private School Chicago
  • British International School of Chicago | Private School Chicago
  • British International School of Chicago | Private School Chicago
  • British International School of Chicago | Private School Chicago
  • British International School of Chicago | Private School Chicago
  • British International School of Chicago | Private School Chicago
  • British International School of Chicago | Private School Chicago

By Mrs. Rachel White-Hunt, Director of Music

Talk about extraordinary! On Wednesday, January 6, we were honored to accompany Dr. Joseph Polisi, President of The Juilliard School, as well as members of the renowned Juilliard Orchestra during a full day of events showcasing our Juilliard collaboration. This school year, Nord Anglia Education launched The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme, which provides children at our school with embedded arts curriculum that begins with music. As part of the program, students enjoy performances and visits from Juilliard-affiliated musicians.

School Assembly

We ushered in the day with a morning assembly attended by parents and more than 300 students. To begin, children in Years 3 and 4 put on a lively African dance set to one of the 12 core works in our music curriculum, which we developed in collaboration with Juilliard. I then described our musical achievements so far this school year. It’s been amazing to see the extent to which our students and staff have embraced the Juilliard philosophy, and equally incredible to experience being part of the Juilliard community. Next up was the Senior Jazz Band, which performed “Blue Monk,” another core work, followed by a guitar duo by Year 13.

After the student performances, Dr. Polisi took the stage, sharing his insights into our collaboration. He, too, is amazed by the way our school has embraced the Juilliard program and reiterated the importance of providing students with opportunities to develop a lifelong appreciation of performing arts. Dr. Polisi then introduced two members of the Juilliard Orchestra: Doori Na, Principal Violin, and Matthew Lipman, Principal Viola. Mr. Na and Mr. Lipman spoke about their background and what it’s like to study at Juilliard. What followed was simply captivating. Both musicians performed a solo and then a duo, stunning the audience with their remarkable talent. A child in Year 2 summed it up perfectly, saying, “They played so beautiful, I felt like I wanted to cry.” The Senior Choir concluded the assembly with a performance of "Glorious,” a fitting finale to an exceptional morning.

Lesson Observations

Following the assembly, Mr. Na and Mr. Lipman toured the school, observing students at work in our music practice rooms as well as teachers using the Juilliard Creative Classroom. They also made a stop in the library to browse our fantastic Juilliard section and even caught some performances by students on our public piano. Before their departure, Mr. Na and Mr. Lipman dropped by the Early Years Area to perform for children in Nursery and Reception. Their dance moves said it all. The children thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and bid adieu to Mr. Na and Mr. Lipman with a big hug.

Concert Rehearsals

Five of our violinists joined Mr. Na, Mr. Lipman and dozens of other Juilliard musicians at Harris Theater in the afternoon. They had the unforgettable chance to watch rehearsals for a concert taking place that evening. Watching Mr. Na and Mr. Lipman in their element, the students were truly inspired. If that weren't enough, the students were privileged to meet Grammy Award-winning violinist Itzhak Perlman, who conducted the orchestra.

Juilliard Concert

Juilliard invited BISC families to attend the concert, which marked Juilliard Orchestra's first appearance in Chicago for 10 years. The concert was a lovely culmination of the day’s events, as we watched Mr. Na and Mr. Lipman perform on stage, and then mingled with Juilliard musicians, Mr. Perlman and Dr. Polisi during a reception after the performance.

Wow! What a day. To view photos, click here

We are so honored to be part of the Juilliard community and are beyond grateful for all of the special opportunities awarded to us through The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme. Our students are excited, inspired and ready for more creative music-making in the classroom.

Follow the Music Department on Twitter at @MusicDramaBISC.

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