Alexander Brose|Philanthropy and Art


Source: China-Europe-America Wechat Official Account 

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Executive Director and CEO of The Tianjin Juilliard School, Alexander Brose's Speech

Hi everybody, I’m Alexander Brose. I’m the Executive Director and CEO of The Tianjin Juilliard School. I’d like to thank co-organizers, the China-Europe-America Global Initiative and the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, for their invitation to participate today. It is a great honor to be in the company, albeit remotely, of so many important leaders, visionaries, philanthropists, educators, and administrators and to contribute in even just a small way to such a crucial conversation regarding philanthropy which, at its core, is the most humanistic attempt to make the world a more livable place for all.


There seem to be innumerable challenges facing the world today, from violent conflicts, hunger, a climate crisis and, oh yeah, a global pandemic. It seems almost insensitive to be speaking about philanthropy as it relates to the arts and to education. And yet, both are essential to humanity. Neither should ever be considered luxuries, nor should there ever be barriers prohibiting anyone from having access to beauty or knowledge. As the Executive Director and CEO of The Tianjin Juilliard School, the famed Juilliard School in New York’s first and only branch campus, I have seen over and over again the sheer power of music.  


I hope all of us appreciate music for what it is. It is a way to communicate and to express ideas that perhaps can only be expressed through artistry and song. Music is a unifier—something that can bring people together in times of disagreement and conflict. Classical music, as it has been and will continue to be, indeed is a most powerful cultural bridge that holds the ability to connect us in ways that even face-to-face communications cannot. 


I know that all of us here have a deep appreciation for China, not only for its unparalleled economic transformation over the last nearly half-century, but also, more and more, for its historical role in the development of great classical artists, composers, and conductors over that same timespan, and for the central role it will most certainly continue to play in this regard in the many years to come. I’ve heard many people who say that the future of classical music DEPENDS on China, and I have to say that I 100% agree. As funding and audiences for orchestras in the West become increasingly hard to identify and attract, it is quite the opposite experience in China. Today, there are now more than 80 professional orchestras that spread throughout the country, in cities both large and small. Most, if not all, perform in epic grand theaters, all of which have become veritable status symbols for the aspiring Chinese city. As I have seen firsthand, attentive audiences are flocking to concerts, usually with young children in tow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a concert in Tianjin or Beijing or elsewhere late in the evening, only to see packs of young children and their parents, perhaps some of the estimated 40 million pianists in China, bounding out of the hall after having devoured a two-and-a-half-hour program. 


It is on this great excitement, support, and appreciation for classical music that The Tianjin Juilliard School was founded. Our programs, distinctly collaborative in nature and focusing on pre-collegiate and graduate school-aged musicians, in addition to far-reaching public and continuing education courses, look to provide educational and artistic opportunities that are complementary to the great schools and orchestras that exist already in China. But we also seek to be innovative at the same time. Our three graduate majors, for example, in collaboration with the Tianjin Conservatory of Music, have been designed to afford high-talent students the opportunity to study in programs that either do not exist or are not well-developed in China. For example, collaborative pianists are experiencing curricular experiences that focus on both instrumental AND vocal accompanying, the latter of which to fill the great demand for experienced opera coaches in the country’s new opera houses. String players and pianists receive degrees in chamber music itself, and we have seen both pre-formed string quartets and piano trios, as well as solo individual players, applying to receive focused training in chamber music from masters. And finally orchestral musicians are receiving training in orchestral performance, rather than in individual instruments, to better prepare them for the rigors of life in professional orchestras in China, but beyond.

And since we are Juilliard, that carries with is a great sense of responsibility to develop artists as citizens and as leaders. All of our students, like they do in New York, receive an education that seeks to produce the well-rounded musician, one who will use their talents to serve the greater good as a citizen of the arts and society. We do not want graduates who simply stand up on the top of a mountain and expect the audience to come to them. We want our graduates to come down from the mountain, to immerse themselves in their communities, and to use music, as we discussed before, to communicate, collaborate, and to unify.


We view The Tianjin Juilliard School as a cultural bridge not just between China and the United States, but between China and the world. Our Chinese students and faculty already represent over 20 provinces and regions, while our international community, students, staff and faculty represent 12 different countries. We see our incredible new campus in Binhai as a veritable embassy of sorts, not representing one location, but one idea: that the arts bring us together, and that music is the ultimate diplomat.


Now, none of this would have been possible without the initial financial support in the form of construction and operating costs from our various partners in China. We would not be here today without the City of Tianjin, the Binhai New Area and TEDA. However, we cannot rely on this funding in perpetuity. As a result, and like most cultural organizations in the West, we’ve created a comprehensive development operation, replete with a non-public foundation named the Tianjin Juilliard School Education Development Foundation, to begin raising money to support the school, mostly in the form of tuition scholarships as well as other faculty and programmatic development. In our opinion, a gift to The Tianjin Juilliard School does not represent or support just a gift to the arts, it signifies a desire to support the great city of Tianjin, the great country of China, the spirit of collaboration and dialogue, and the future of relationships really worldwide.


It has been an honor to introduce our programs to you here today. It would be wonderful to meet you all in person at one of the many concerts we have either in Tianjin or throughout China soon!


Thank you very much.


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