Which Sing for Hope board member:
• has been known to execute more flawless mid-air turns than the average person?
• led the entire 2013 Sing for Hope Gala audience in the opening of Balanchine’s Sérénade?
• has been a member of the Sing for Hope board since 2013 and our Programming Committee Chair since 2014?
• is, as of this week, the newly named President of The Juilliard School?
If you guessed Damian Woetzel, you are correct!
At Sing for Hope, our treasure lies in our trove of talent: our 2,000+ Artist Partners who power our year-round arts outreach programs, our Community Partners who facilitate our creative community-building work, our donors whose generosity builds our capacity, and our Board of Directors who steer our ship.
Among Sing for Hope’s most passionate and involved board members is Damian Woetzel, Chair of our Programming Committee and a member of the board since 2013. The much-anticipated announcement last week of Damian’s appointment as the seventh President of The Juilliard School was met with excitement from all sides, and nowhere more so than in Sing for Hope’s brightly colored midtown offices, where we know firsthand his inimitable blend of wit and wisdom, intellect and insight, pragmatism and idealism. Those qualities were palpable at one of Damian’s recent Citizen Artist discussions at Steinway Hall, and they are hallmarks of his work both on and off the stage.
To quote this week’s announcement in The New York Times:
Mr. Woetzel’s path to becoming a college president was an unusual one: His father, a professor, had been surprised when he decided to forgo college to dance ballet. Mr. Woetzel recalled a visit from his father to see him take a class at the School of American Ballet. “As we left he said to me, ‘Do you know, it’s a beautiful world that you’re entering,’” he recalled. “And I knew what he was talking about because we were walking by open rooms with music going on, and it was just that art of the possible existing in one place.”
Damian, we are thrilled about this brilliant match of visionary leader to vital institution, and we can’t think of anyone more perfectly suited to build upon the legacy of retiring Juilliard President and pioneering citizen artist Joseph Polisi, himself a founding board member of Sing for Hope. The Juilliard School is, in many ways, a bellwether for our sector, and your charting the next stage of the school’s journey will have far-reaching effects for all of us. (Juilliard was also the lab in which Sing for Hope was incubated by co-founders Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus in 2004.) We can’t wait to watch you lead our Alma Mater into its next chapter, and we know that this is a role you were born to play!