Iconic mezzo-soprano gives Juilliard undergrads the benefit of her considerable wisdom.

Dr Joyce DiDonato has impressed the classical music world once again after she was invited to give the Juilliard School’s 109th Commencement Speech. In a passionate, heartfelt address to the graduating class of 2014, DiDonato gave young musicians and artists everywhere the benefit of her considerable experience.

Describing herself as “duly humbled”, the singer congratulated the alumni on the “endless hours of reed-making and memorization, the blisters and the tears,” that had lead them to this point. “You, my friends, are living the dream!” she said.

She then went on to admit that as a late developer she could never have got to Juilliard, yet she hoped that she might be able to make some useful contribution by offering a few points that they might think upon, to help them “find the strength to make themselves heard, and seen, and FELT.” She wanted to help them to find “the power to transform themselves, to transform others, and, indeed, to transform the world.”

Subtitling her advice, “You will never make it”, “The work will never end”, “It’s not about you” and “The world needs you”, her 15-minute speech was one of enormous positivity. The singer was both moving and moved.

Her final remarks concuded with: “What an honor it is to share in this day with you – savor every single moment of it – and then fly out of this building, armed with the knowledge that YOU make a difference, that your art is NECESSARY, and that the world is eagerly awaiting to hear what YOU have to say. Go on, make us laugh, cry, dance, FEEL, unite, and believe in the incredible power of humanity to overcome anything!”

The Juilliard School has subsequently posted the video on their YouTube channel. We hope you find it as inspiring as we did.

The transcription of the speeh is online on Joyce DiDonato’s website.