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Juilliard Releases Banned Repertoire List, ‘12-‘13

Submitted by on November 21, 2012 – 12:00 am126 Comments

NOTE: The following article is intended as humor and its contents do not reflect the real policies of the Juilliard Administration. The Juilliard Admissions Office has asked The Yard to refer prospective students to the official repertoire guidlines listed on the Juilliard Admissions website:  

This past week, the Juilliard Administration released a list of repertoire to be banned for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year. The decision was made in response to growing discontent among faculty and students regarding the seemingly endless repetition of the same old hackneyed nineteenth century repertoire in the school’s recital halls, studio classes, and practice rooms alike.

News of the Ban caused a stir of commotion on the fourth floor, as security guards marched through the hallways nailing placards containing the complete banned works list to every practice room door. Students rushed out of their rooms to examine the list, some with fingers crossed hoping their current repertoire was safe from the Ban, others checking eagerly to see if their most-hated pieces would be blacklisted

“Tits!” shouted one. “I don’t have to hear that stupid theme from Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations again for another year!”

Others were less enthused. One pianist, wiping away tears, pressed her back against the wall and slowly slid to the ground, face in palm. “I worked all summer on the jumps at the end of the Mephisto Waltz, and they were just starting to feel comfortable,” she sniffled. “All for nothing!”

Another student was right in the middle of practicing the oboe excerpt from Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin when he found out it was banned. “Does this mean I don’t have a lesson tomorrow?” he asked, confused.

A first-year master’s student in Baroque harpsichord who supports the Ban remarked, “Something had to be done, because shit was hitting the fan. Seriously, how many over-pedaled renditions of Chopin’s G Minor Ballade do I need to hear being played simultaneously in the same hallway during my practice break?”

Prohibited piano works also include Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata, Chopin’s Op. 10 Études, Rachmaninoff’s Second and Third Piano Concertos, as well as the Liszt B Minor Sonata, Dante Sonata, and every work he composed between the years of 1837 and 1852.

For violin, the Tchaikovsky Concerto and Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata are banned, along with Paganini’s 24th Caprice and all subsequent variation-sets based on its theme (affecting several instruments). Bass players are banned from the Bottesini Concerto, Ein Heldenleben No. 9, and Mozart’s 35th Symphony excerpts. Among strings, violists were hit hardest, with all Bach Cello Suites prohibited as well as any passage of music containing a rhythm in 16th-notes or faster.

Clarinetists are forbidden from Schumann’s Fantasiestücke and the excerpts from Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin, Flutists from Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Debussy’s Syrinx, while Bassoonists cannot touch The Rite of Spring. For percussionists, no more Porgy and Bess, trumpets and trombones can forget about Mahler 5 and the Ride of the Valkyries, respectively, and in a huge blow, horn players will not be allowed to play anything by Richard Strauss.

The vocal repertoire ban extends to the entire Bel Canto literature, all 24 Italian Songs and Arias, half of Schubert’s vocal output, and any Mozart aria containing a trill. A host of Puccini arias are scrapped, including “Quando m’en vo’,” “Un bel di,” “Nessun dorma,” and “O mio babbino caro,” as are all musical theater numbers and any song a singer might consider “jazzy.”

In preparation for the Ban’s enforcement, Juilliard officials have put all security personnel through a series of rigorous ear-training and music-appreciation courses, so that they may patrol the fourth floor listening for prohibited music coming from the practice rooms. Students acting in violation of the Ban will have their I.D.s immediately confiscated, and a hearing scheduled with the Disciplinary Review Board. After two infractions, a student could face expulsion.

While a majority supports the Ban—especially composers and Historical Performance students—others refuse to accept it.

“You can’t just do that,” said one pre-college pianist, claiming that nobody plays Rach 2 the way he plays Rach 2. “There’s a reason why this music is so popular: cuz it’s good, that’s why. No ban can stop these hands!”

His frustration is understandable: as a result of the Ban, the Pre-College Division has been forced to cancel all recitals scheduled for the remainder of the semester.

* * *

Note: Submediant is a satirical segment within The Backyard (see: the logo), and its contents should not be mistaken for real events—however believable.



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