Juilliard and FENDI Continue Partnership With the 2021 Fendi Vanguard Awards

SBO Staff • News • July 21, 2021

Students of the Juilliard School wearing Fendi. Credit Photo: Erin Baiano

Presented to Four Exceptional Juilliard Students in Music, Dance, and Drama—and an Entrepreneurship Symposium

Featuring Members of FENDI Americas Executive Team

Juilliard and FENDI have partnered to launch the Fendi Vanguard Awards, which will be presented to four exceptional Juilliard students who are poised to be innovators in their chosen discipline and across the performing arts. Four students—one dancer, one actor, and two musicians—have been selected from Juilliard to receive this honor. Each of them embodies the promise of a career in the vanguard.

The Vanguard Awards continues Juilliard’s relationship with FENDI, an international fashion brand known for its longtime support of artists and its commitment to craft. That relationship began in December 2020 with the creation of an episode in the unique streaming series—Fendi Renaissance—Anima Mundi. The filming for the project was the first time the students had performed together since March 2020, when New York City shut down due to the pandemic. The video, which was released on January 12, 2021, featured an ensemble of six Juilliard Jazz students rehearsing an original score, Rollerblading in Harlem, composed and arranged by master’s student Aaron Matson, which was commissioned by FENDI for the series. At that time, FENDI also made a significant contribution to Juilliard’s Scholarship Fund in the spirit of supporting creativity at every level and enabling young student-artists to realize their highest aspirations.

The recipients of the 2021 Fendi Vanguard Awards are dancer Cyrie Topete from Peoria, Arizona; actor Morgan Scott from Greenville, South Carolina; trumpeter William Leathers from Toronto; and harpist Adam Phan from Cedar Hill, Texas.

As Fendi Vanguard Award recipients, each student will receive a cash award; press and media opportunities; a dedicated showcase performance for members of the Juilliard and FENDI community; the opportunity for individual mentorship with the firm’s creative and communications professionals; and access to its merchandise for major professional engagements.

“To celebrate our shared commitment to the creative process, we are proud to launch the Fendi Vanguard Awards,” Adam Meyer, Juilliard’s provost, said. “We are grateful for the generosity of FENDI and for our continued collaboration. These awards have an enormous impact on our students. We are pleased to congratulate the four inaugural recipients.”

Nominees for the FENDI Vanguard Award are chosen from among Juilliard students about to begin their final year of study in a bachelor, master, or advanced diploma program. Students are selected through a nomination process by divisional leadership and faculty.

In addition to the Vanguard Awards, Juilliard will host a virtual Entrepreneurship Symposium in collaboration with FENDI on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, from 11am to 3pm (ET). The pandemic left many artists and creative professionals wondering how to restart their journeys. This symposium will offer attendees the opportunity to participate in cross-industry conversations with Juilliard alumni and FENDI leadership, who will share their knowledge and offer real-world examples of how a global perspective and entrepreneurial spirit are tied to creative success. The event’s keynote panel, Creativity Without Borders—A Global Approach to Artistic Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will feature Ulysses Owens Jr. (BM ’06, jazz studies) and Andrea Miller (BFA ’04, dance), and members of FENDI Americas executive team, and will be moderated by Alice Jones, assistant dean of community engagement and career services for Juilliard. Other speakers will include Anthony Barfield (BM ’08, trombone), Armando Braswell (BFA ’06, dance), Arnaud Sussman (BM ’05, MM ’07, violin), and Joanne Tucker (Diploma ’09, drama). Topics will include building your brand, creative direction and planning, and engagement entrepreneurship: exploring community artistry. The Entrepreneurship Symposium, an annual event, is hosted by Juilliard’s Alan D. Marks Center for Career Services and Entrepreneurship, Office of Community Engagement, and Office of Alumni Relations.

Meet the 2021 FENDI Vanguards

Cyrie Topete (Dance)
Born and raised in Peoria, Arizona, Cyrie Topete has been pursuing her dance career since age 12. She’s attending Juilliard as a rising senior. In addition to her training, Topete has performed works by Paul Taylor, Peter Chu, Aszure Barton, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Jae Man Joo, Didy Velman, Jamar Roberts, and many others. Additionally, she has attended summer intensives and workshops including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Spring Intensive, Axis Connect, Chuthis Movement Intensive, YoungArts LA, Bodytraffic, Springboard Fall x, Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program, and many more.

Morgan Scott (Drama)

Morgan Scott hails from Greenville, South Carolina, where she attended Woodmont High School and the Greenville County Fine Arts Center. In 2017, she was recognized as best supporting actress at the Southeastern Theatre Conference for her performance as Nell Hicks in A Taste of Sunrise, which was documented by PBS as part of its Drama Arts Toolkit series. At Juilliard, she was a Gluck Community Service Fellow for the 2019-20 school year and her group traveled to hospitals, assisted living centers, and mental health facilities throughout New York. During her second year, Scott played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Through a partnership with the Acting Company, the show toured Brooklyn, giving many middle school students their first exposure to Shakespeare performed live. Scott, who’s entering her fourth year at Juilliard, serves as a community coach for incoming students. Her favorite projects include Clare Barron’s Dance Nation (Zuzu) and Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters(Anfisa).

William Leathers (Music—Trumpet)

William Franklyn Leathers is an acclaimed trumpeter and pianist. At age 12, he was the youngest trumpeter to join the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra; that same year he took a trumpet lesson from the legendary Wynton Marsalis. In 2017, he won the Lou Williamson Scholarship, awarded to the top high school jazz musician in Canada, and in 2015 he won the MARTY Emerging Performing Artist award presented by the Mississauga Arts Council. Leathers has performed extensively in Canada and internationally. He was one of eight musicians from around the world invited in 2010 to perform at Rideau Hall in the Young Artists Inspired by Glenn Gould concert.

Adam Phan (Music—Harp)

Adam Phan, who’s from Cedar Hills, Texas, attends Juilliard where he is studying with Nancy Allen, principal harpist of the New York Philharmonic. He has participated in master classes with harpists Judy Loman, Gretchen Van Hoesen, Alice Giles, and Gillian Benet Sella. Phan has also spent summers as a member of the National Youth Orchestra touring both China and Europe with world class conductors Valery Gergiev and Charles Dutoit. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival with Anneleen Lenaerts and Nancy Allen. Phan is proud a recipient of the Kovner Fellowship at Juilliard and is a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist.


The house of FENDI was established by Adele and Edoardo Fendi in Rome in 1925. The opening of the first FENDI boutique, a handbag shop and fur workshop, followed. Soon winning international acclaim, FENDI emerged as a brand renowned for its elegance, craftsmanship, innovation, and style. Its collaboration with the late Karl Lagerfeld began in 1965 and lasted 54 years; in 1992, Silvia Venturini Fendi succeeded Lagerfeld as artistic director. In 1994, Venturini was given responsibility for leather goods accessories and then took over the direction of the menswear line. In 2000, the LVMH Group acquired FENDI, becoming its majority shareholder in 2001. In September 2020, Kim Jones was appointed artistic director of haute couture, ready-to-wear, and fur collections for women. Today, FENDI is synonymous with quality, tradition, experimentation, and creativity.

About The Juilliard School

Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. The school’s mission is to provide the highest caliber of artistic education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world so that they may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders, and global citizens. Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in dance, drama (acting and playwriting), and music (classical, jazz, historical performance, and vocal arts). Currently more than 800 artists from 43 states and 44 countries and regions are enrolled at Juilliard, where they appear in over 700 annual performances in the school’s five theaters; at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and David Geffen halls and at Carnegie Hall; as well as at other venues around New York City, the country, and the world. Beyond its New York campus, Juilliard is defining new directions in global performing arts education for a range of learners and enthusiasts through The Tianjin Juilliard School and K-12 educational curricula.

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