NEW YORK, NY—Legendary piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz, who recently returned from his grave after spending over a quarter-century deceased, has been denied admission to the Juilliard School, according to sources close to the pianist’s resurrected body.
Mr. Horowitz, widely considered one of the greatest pianists in history, stopped performing publicly in 1989 when he suffered a heart attack and died. After nearly three decades buried in a Milan cemetery, he has risen from the dead and is seeking to resume concert life.
Sources say the pianist had applied to the exclusive Artist Diploma program at Juilliard, where he was hoping to revitalize his technique after being kept away from the practice room during the 27-year period he spent as a lifeless cadaver rotting away in an underground tomb.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, a spokesperson for the Juilliard admissions department affirmed the school’s commitment to diversity and claimed that Horowitz’s background as a putrid, decomposing corpse had no bearing on the school’s decision to deny him admission.
“Juilliard is proud of its diverse student body and does not base its admissions decisions on personal identity, including the undead like Mr. Horowitz,” she said. “Our distinguished piano faculty gave equal consideration to all applicants and made its selections on merit alone.”
Evidence recently brought to light suggests that, indeed, it was Horowitz’s playing during his live audition that failed to meet the standards of the piano faculty. A trove of classified audition comment forms recently leaked to Submediant by an anonymous Juilliard staff member reveal that the audition panel was not convinced by his interpretive decisions.
One faculty member sitting on Horowitz’s audition panel wrote:
Chopin Gm Ballade — dynamic contrasts too extreme, climaxes too boomy while lyrical passages are overly sentimental; on the whole your performance was over-interpreted, over-played… you should explore more the simple charm and elegance that too many pianists miss in this work.
Another panelist commented on Horowitz’s performance of his own arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Second Sonata, writing:
What gives you the liberty to alter the score so drastically? This is not what Rachmaninoff intended. Nor did he intend every octave to be banged at a deafening volume.
Horowitz’s approach to Beethoven’s D Major Sonata, Op. 10 No. 3, is described by one panelist as “uneven, with misplaced accents and too much rubato at the end of some phrases. On the whole an unidiomatic performance of early Beethoven.”
Moreover, the audition panel unanimously condemned Horowitz’s choice to offer Busoni’s arrangement of a Bach Organ Toccata as a “violation of Juilliard’s repertoire specifications,” while several panelists criticized Horowitz’s unusual “flat-fingered” technique.
News of Horowitz’s denial from Juilliard quickly spread throughout the classical music community, with many expressing confusion and outrage at how a pianist of such towering international acclaim and influence could be refused acceptance from a conservatory.
David Dubal, a music critic and radio host who was friends with Horowitz in the 1980s, said in an interview, “This whole debacle just goes to show how today’s conservatories couldn’t recognize real profundity in piano playing if it slapped them in the face.”
“Horowitz’s temperament is too individual, his artistry too idiosyncratic for these anesthetized bureaucrats to tolerate,” Dubal continued. “After all, this is no mere mortal we’re talking about. He came back from the dead for Chrissakes!”
Horowitz’s audition comment forms were not the only revelations to come from the leaked admissions documents. It was discovered that the reincarnated soul of Glenn Gould also applied to the Artist Diploma program at Juilliard, though he failed to advance past the pre-screening round.