Damian Woetzel

Juilliard Names Damian Woetzel as Seventh President

The Juilliard School has announced that Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, artistic director of the Vail Dance Festival, and former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, will serve as its seventh president beginning in July 2018. Juilliard’s current and longest-serving president, Joseph W. Polisi, announced in October that he will step down at the end of June 2018.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, I am pleased to welcome Damian Woetzel to the Juilliard School as our next president,” said board chair Bruce Kovner. “Since beginning our search last October, we have had the privilege of getting to know some of the most distinguished leaders in the arts field and beyond. Damian’s vision and optimism are second to none, and we are confident that he will advance Juilliard’s mission for the next generation while building on the foundation of artistic and academic excellence established by his distinguished predecessor, Joseph Polisi.”

In addition to his positions at the Aspen Institute and the Vail Dance Festival, Woetzel is an independent director, choreographer, and producer. His many projects include the Kennedy Center’s interdisciplinary “DEMO” series; “Spaces by Wynton Marsalis for Jazz” at Lincoln Center; an arts salute to Stephen Hawking at Lincoln Center for the World Science Festival; and the first performance of the White House Dance Series during the Obama administration. From 2009 to 2017, Woetzel served on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, where he helped create the Turnaround Arts Program, which brings arts education to some of the nation’s disadvantaged school districts. Woetzel holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and he has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School. In 2015 he received the Harvard Arts Medal.

“It is a tremendous honor to have been selected as the next president of the Juilliard School,” said Woetzel. “Building on collaboration has been a defining principle of my life in the arts, and I can think of no greater privilege than to help shape the future of this extraordinary institution of music, dance, and drama.”