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Juilliard President Joseph Polisi to Speak at Middlebury March 1

February 14, 2014

Public Lecture Will Explore the Arts, Education and the Human Experience

Middlebury, Vt.—Joseph Polisi, President of the Juilliard School, will visit Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 1, to deliver a public lecture on the arts, education, and the human experience. Polisi was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Middlebury in 2010. His speech will be given in conjunction with the College’s dedication of a new Steinway concert grand piano, given by the Rothrock Family in honor of Jessica and Ron Liebowitz.

Joseph William Polisi became the sixth president of The Juilliard School in September 1984, bringing to that position his previous experience as a college administrator; a writer in the fields of music, public policy, and the arts; and an accomplished bassoonist. Before coming to Juilliard, Polisi was dean of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (1983–84), dean of Faculty at the Manhattan School of Music (1980–83), and executive officer of the Yale University School of Music (1976–80). He holds three graduate degrees in music from Yale, having completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in 1980, a Master of Musical Arts in 1975, and a Master of Music in 1973. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Arts degree in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Polisi has written many scholarly and educational articles for professional journals, is a frequent speaker on arts and education issues, has produced several sound recordings, primarily focusing on contemporary American music, and has recorded a solo album of 20th-century bassoon music for Crystal Records. His first book, The Artist as Citizen, was published by Amadeus Press in January 2005. His most recent book, American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman—the first complete biography of the distinguished composer and arts administrator—was published by Amadeus Press in October 2008.

Joseph Polisi’s 29 years at Juilliard have been a time of vitality for the school, with the establishment of new student services and alumni programs, a revised curriculum, and an emphasis on the humanities and liberal arts. During his tenure, Juilliard also seen the construction of a 375-bed student residence; the creation of an exchange program with Columbia University and Barnard College; a new emphasis on community outreach with particular attention to under-represented students; creation of a CD-ROM product to teach music to children; a school-wide initiative to develop interdisciplinary programs involving actors, dancers, and musicians; the creation of the Institute for Jazz Studies, a collaborative program with Jazz at Lincoln Center; and the development of a mentoring program to broaden Juilliard students’ educational and artistic opportunities.

In coordination with Carnegie Hall, Polisi helped found the Carnegie Hall/Juilliard Academy, launched in September 2006, a program that prepares post-graduate musicians for their roles as artistic and educational leaders. He oversaw the planning and construction process for a $199 million renovation of the Juilliard building, completed in September 2009. In 2010 he founded Juilliard Global, a program to bring Juilliard expertise to selected sites around the world.

Polisi’s lecture will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at 4:30 P.M. at Middlebury College’s Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts, in the Concert Hall. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Admission and parking are free. For more information call (802) 443-3168 or go to

Photo Christian Steiner