The Juilliard School, is synonymous with performing arts excellence. Founded in 1905 under the name Institute of Musical Art, it has undergone several notable changes in its hundred-year history. Initially established to compensate for the lack of performing arts schools in the United States (many American students instead turned to Europe to study music), the school expanded beyond music by adding a dance program in 1951 and a drama program in 1968. It took its current name in 1969 when it moved to the world famous Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
Today the school continues specialize in dance, drama, and music by offering a variety of certification and degree options to about 800 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. Its dance program, for example, offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and its drama program offers Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees. By contrast, the music program (the school’s largest and oldest department) offers Bachelor, Master, and Doctor of Music degrees. Moreover, the music department offers specials “Artist Diploma” certifications in fields as diverse as including Jazz Studies, Music Performance, and Opera Studies.
Given its pedigree and reputation – notable alumni include talents as varied as Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer, Tito Puente, Chick Corea, and literally hundreds more – the schools is highly selective. In addition to a comprehensive application process, students (who are expected to have a considerable proficiency in their chosen field well before beginning their studies) must audition. In 2007, the school accepted only 162 of its record 2,138 applicants. That 7.58% acceptance rate has only decreased in recent years, however, and as of 2011, the school officially became more selective than Harvard (6.2%) by accepting only 5.5% of applicants. Nevertheless, such high standards have their rewards: Juilliard graduates are among the most well-resented performing artists in their fields.