Inside the the Juilliard School’s Annual Benefit for Scholarship

A who's who of Juilliard alumni, trustees and donors flocked to the Upper West Side for a student-led performance and party benefiting the expansion of accessibility in performing arts education.

Juilliard alum and Grammy Award-winning artist Endea Owens and The Cookout perform. Rachel Papo

The Juilliard School celebrated its annual Benefit for Scholarship earlier this week with a lineup of stunning performances in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater that showcased the very talent it aims to support. Students from the school’s music, dance, drama and preparatory divisions joined Juilliard alumni and pre-college students—including an eight-year-old violinist from the pre-college class of 2033—in a program that highlighted its diverse array of rising and established stars.

Juilliard students at the recent benefit. Rachel Papo

Following an orchestral performance of American composer Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 2, Juilliard president and former New York City Ballet principal dancer Damian Woetzel took to the stage to thank the evening’s co-chairs and the donors who helped the school raise an additional $1.7 million for scholarships.

“The future of the arts is a part of our story that is indispensable, that takes us to a place that is a higher sense of vision and a higher sense of purpose,” Woetzel said in his opening remarks. “I’m so grateful to have you all here tonight to support that vision and that purpose around the arts; around young artists coming from around the world to fulfill their dreams, no matter from where they come.”

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This year’s benefit—attended by Arlene and Alan Alda, Terry and Bob Lindsay and Julliard alum Susanna Phillips, among others—paid tribute to the institution’s scholarship donors and honored the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, an independent family foundation that has provided major support to Juilliard since 1985.

“Forty years ago, board member Jerry Greene began supporting scholarship in music, dance and drama—it was the first scholarship that was cross-disciplinary,” Woetzel explained.

The benefit also celebrated the completion of the Jerome L. Greene Scholarship Challenge, a matching initiative that launched in the spring of 2022. Spearheaded by the organization’s president and CEO, Jerry’s stepdaughter Christina McInerney, the challenge saw the Jerome L. Greene Foundation matching each $100,000 scholarship donation up to $5 million. At the close of 2023, the foundation, along with fifty scholarship donors, helped Juilliard successfully raise $10 million that will be put toward scholarships for students of the prestigious performing arts school, adding to the 600-plus students who have been Greene Fellows since Greene first lent his support.

Greene Fellows Adam Driver and Joanne Tucker were unexpectedly unable to attend the event due to Covid but provided a statement about the importance of supporting arts education.

A man in a tuxedo and a woman wearing a jeweled necklace pose on a red carpet
Juilliard alums Adam Driver and Joanne Tucker were unexpectedly unable to attend. Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

“When we attended Juilliard, we had no money, but we did have the luxury of time to be students and focus on our craft,” the actors, who met while students at Juilliard, wrote. “One of the greatest gifts you can give a performing artist is time […] and of course, one of the things that can take that time away is financial stress. Having both been on various scholarships throughout our education, that trust and investment in us as students directly inspires our philanthropic endeavors with Arts in the Armed Forces, as well as our personal support of Juilliard’s scholarship program now that we are in the position to do so. It’s our hope that generosity yields generosity.”

The Benefit for Scholarship reception. Rachel Papo

Following the evening’s program of music, dance and drama, guests were invited to continue the celebrations at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, where they enjoyed additional performances from Juilliard alum and Grammy Award-winning artist Endea Owens and The Cookout, as well as Grammy-nominated vocalist and flautist Nathalie Joachim, while sampling a selection of food and drinks curated by acclaimed chef Kwame Onwuachi of the award-winning restaurant Tatiana.

Actor Alan Alda and his wife, Arlene Alda. Julie Skarratt Photography Inc
Juilliard president Damian Woetzel with Jerome L. Greene president Chris McInerney. Julie Skarratt Photography Inc
Gucci VP of special events Terrence Charles. Julie Skarratt Photography Inc

Inside the the Juilliard School’s Annual Benefit for Scholarship