Julliard is one of the top performing arts universities in the country. It’s known for its high standards for achievement, fierce competition, and turnout of only the finest performing arts graduates. Last June, the school announced that it would build its first overseas branch of the school in China as part of Julliard Global—which is working to expand Julliard’s reach outside of the United States. Most recently, the school held a forum at the Asia Society in Hong Kong to discuss their plans moving forward.
Julliard will be the first major performing arts school in the United States to expand overseas. Other schools not specialized for the performing arts are already working on opening campuses in Asia, including Yale and NYU. There are not any set details yet, though. The school last reported that it was finishing a “feasibility study” in September and would begin planning construction following that.
The new location will be in Yujiapu, which is a district currently under construction to become “China’s Manhattan” in Tianjin, which is near Beijing. Yujiapu will not be a mirror image of the one in New York City. It will not offer university diplomas and will be primarily for students aged 8 to 18. Music will be the main area of focus as well, whereas the New York location has a much broader array of performing arts courses. New faculty will also be recruited, with some visits from Julliard NYC faculty for select workshops and master classes.
The Yujiapu campus will have some major benefits and challenges. Perhaps the best news is for Chinese students wishing to audition for Julliard in New York. Whereas those students previously had to fly to New York to audition, this new campus will now serve as the first non-U.S. audition location. This will make Julliard more widely accessible, especially for Asian students who cannot afford to make the trip to New York.
“Everyone will now get an equal opportunity to enter Julliard,” said Katy Ho, a fourth-year viola performance major. Ms. Ho is a Macau native, so the construction of a new location overseas hits close to her heart. She adds, “In the future, I would like to bring back a more Western way of teaching music to Macau.”
One challenge the Yujiapu campus will need to overcome is the location itself. Whereas New York is an established culture and arts hub, Yujiapu is not. The school will be a pioneer in establishing that scene, and will have to work heartily with partners to develop it.