The Juilliard School’s 109th  Commencement Speech ~ Joyce DiDonato

The Juilliard School’s 109th Commencement Speech ~ Joyce DiDonato

Chairman Kovner, President Polisi, most distinguished honorees, dedicated family, friends, faculty, and to EACH of the talented, ambitious, courageous, adventurous Juilliard graduates of the class of 2014 before us here today, thank you!

I stand before you this morning, duly humbled, and in awe of the distinguished and hard-earned accomplishment awarded to each and every single one of you on this unforgettable and long-awaited day of your graduation. Look at you! You are gowned and tassled and you’re ready to take on the world! Through that first nerve-racking audition, all those subsequent sleepless nights, the painstaking preparation for your recitals, the endless hours of reed-making and memorization, the blisters and the tears, and now here you walk side by side with the life-long friendships you have now forged, you are about to be Alumni of the acclaimed Juilliard School! I invite you to breathe that in. You, my friends, are living the dream! I wish I had had the foresight when invited to speak here today, to ask them to break with tradition and print my old biography from when I was your age instead of my current one!A great example of contrasts, it would have shown you that despite my “star turn” as the off-stage lover in Il Tabarro with my ONE, single, SOLITARY line (did I mention it was OFF-STAGE?), and that despite being the only young artist of my class to fail at securing management until the ripe age of 29, and DESPITE my evaluation sheet for the Houston Opera Studio which simply declared me to possess “not much talent” and that despite WAY more rejections and easy dismissals than actual “yeses”, despite ALL of that, I am somehow, miraculously standing before you all today, regaled in an admittedly different kind of designer gown, dispensing tidbits of “wisdom” before a group of artists who – and this is honestly no exaggeration – artists who I never could have been classmates with, because there truly is no way I could have gained admission to your school back in the day. I simply wasn’t ready back then. That is the truth. One never, EVER knows where their journey will lead them. But YOURS has led you here.

There are a few more hard-earned truths – as I have come to know them – that have arisen on my personal odyssey as a singer and at first glance, they may seem like harbingers of bad news, but I invite you to shift your thinking just a bit (or perhaps even radically) – you guys are artists, so thankfully you’re already brilliant at thinking outside the conventional box! I offer these four little observations as tools to perhaps help you as you go forward, enabling you to empower yourselves from the very core of your being, so that when the challenges of this artistic life catapult and hurl themselves directly and unapologetically into your heart and soul – which they will do, repeatedly – you will have some devices at your disposal to return to, to help you find your center again, so that your voice, your art and your SOUL will not be derailed, but you will instead find the strength to make yourself heard, and seen, and FELT. Then you will have the power to transform yourselves, to transform others, and, indeed, to transform the world.

My first observation:

You will never make it. That’s the bad news, but the “shift” I invite you to make is to see it as fabulous, outstanding news, for I don’t believe there is actually an “it”. “It” doesn’t exist for an Artist. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, right here, right now, in this single, solitary, monumental moment in your life– is to decide, without apology, to commit to the JOURNEY, and not to the outcome. The outcome will almost always fall short of your expectations, and if you’re chasing that elusive, often deceptive goal, you’re likely in for a very tough road, for there will always be that one note that could have soared more freely, the one line reading that could have been just that much more truthful, that third arabesque which could have been slightly more extended, that one adagio which could have been just a touch more magical. There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover. As an artist, you will never arrive at a fixed destination. THIS is the glory and the reward of striving to master your craft and embarking on the path of curiosity and imagination, while being tireless in your pursuit of something greater than yourself.

A second truth:

The work will never end. This may sound dreadfully daunting – especially today when you are finally getting out of here!!!! But what I have found is that when things become overwhelming – which they will, repeatedly ~ whether it’s via unexpected, rapid success or as heart-wrenching, devastating failure ~ the way back to your center is simply to RETURN TO THE WORK. Often times it will be the only thing that makes sense. And it is there where you will find solace and truth. At the keyboard, at the barre, with your bow in hand, articulating your arpeggios ~ always return to your home base and trust that you will find your way again via the music, the pulse, the speech, the rhythm. Be patient, but know that it will always be there for you – even if in some moments you lack the will to be there for it. All it asks is that you show up, fully present as you did when you first discovered the magic of your own artistic world when you were young. Bring that innocent, childlike sense of wonder to your craft, and do whatever you need to find that truth again. It will continually teach you how to be present, how to be alive, and how to let go. Therein lies not only your artistic freedom, but your personal freedom as well!

Perhaps my favorite truth:

It’s not about you. This can be a particularly hard, and humbling lesson to face – and it’s one I’ve had to continue to learn at every stage of my own journey – but this is a freeing and empowering truth. You may not yet realize it, but you haven’t signed up for a life of glory and adulation (although that MAY well come, and I wish with every fiber of my being, that it WILL come in the right form for every single one of you – however, that is not your destination, for glory is always transitory and will surely disappear just as fleetingly and arbitrarily as it arrived.) The truth is, you have signed up for a life of service by going into the Arts. And the life-altering results of that service in other people’s lives will NEVER disappear as fame unquestionably will. You are here to serve the words, the director, the melody, the author, the chord progression, the choreographer ~ but above all and most importantly, with every breath, step, and stroke of the keyboard, you are here to serve humanity.

You, as alumni of the 109th graduating class of The Juilliard School are now servants to the ear that needs quiet solace, and the eye that needs the consolation of beauty, servants to the mind that needs desperate repose or pointed inquiry, to the heart that needs invitation to flight or silent understanding, and to the soul that needs safe landing, or fearless, relentless enlightenment. You are a servant to the sick one who needs healing through the beauty and peace of the symphony you will compose through blood-shot eyes and sleepless nights. You are an attendant to the lost one who needs saving through the comforting, probing words you will conjure up from the ether, as well as from your own heroic moments of strife and triumph. You are a steward to the closed and blocked one who needs to feel that vital, electric, joyful pulse of life that eludes them as they witness you stop time as you pirouette and jettè across the stage on your tired legs and bleeding toes. You are a vessel to the angry and confused one who needs a protected place to release their rage as they watch your eyes on the screen silently weep in pain as you relive your own private hell. You are a servant to the eager, naïve, optimistic ones who will come behind you with wide eyes and wild dreams, reminding you of yourself, as you teach and shape and mold them, even though you may be plagued with haunting doubts yourself, just as your teachers likely were – and you will reach out to them and generously invite them to soar and thrive, because we are called to share this thing called Art.

You are also serving one other person: yourself. You are serving the relentless, passionate, fevered force within you that longs to grow and expand and feel and connect and create; that part of you that craves a way to express raw elation and passion, and to make manifest hard-core blissful rapture and – PLEASE, I beg of you, never forget this – FUN! Don’t ever abandon that intoxicating sense of FUN in your ART. Thought that, you are serving your truth. My hope for you is that you will let that truth guide you in every moment of your journey. If you can find that, you have everything. That’s why “making it” is, in the end, utterly insignificant. LIVING it, BREATHING it, SERVING it … that’s where your joy will lie.

I want to share with you a quick email from a soldier on the front lines of our Arts: an elementary/middle school teacher from Salt Lake City, Ms. Audrey Hill, who is fighting the great fight! She brought her students to the recent HD telecast of “La Cenerentola”, and wrote the following note to me:

“One of my boys … a 5th grader… wrote in his review this morning that one of his favorite parts (besides the spaghetti food-fight scene) was where at the end you were singing about getting revenge, and how he really liked that your revenge was going to be forgiveness.   This boy was new to our school this year, has a beautiful singing voice, and has been teased a lot. I have seen him getting more and more angry as the year was coming to a close and today it seemed like all that had disappeared.  It was very moving for me to experience.”

* That’s exactly who you are serving as you now go out into the world. How lucky are you?!??!

Ah, so OK, I lied … I think this may be my favorite truth:

The world needs you. Now, the world may not exactly realize it, but wow, does it need you. It is yearning, starving, dying for you and your healing offer of service through your Art. We need you to help us understand that which is bigger than ourselves, so that we can stop feeling so small, so isolated, so helpless that, in our fear, we stop contributing that which is unique to us: that distinct, rare, individual quality which the world is desperately crying out for and eagerly awaiting. We need you to remind us what unbridled, unfiltered, childlike exuberance feels like, so we remember, without apology or disclaimer, to laugh, to play, to FLY and to stop taking EVERYTHING so damn seriously. We need you to remind us what empathy is by taking us deep into the hearts of those who are, God forbid, different than us – so that we can recapture the hope of not only living in peace with each other, but THRIVING together in a vibrant way where each of us grows in wonder and joy. We need you to make us feel an integral PART of a shared existence through the communal, universal, forgiving language of music, of dance, of poetry and Art – so that we never lose sight of the fact that we are all in this together and that we are all deserving of a life that overflows with immense possibility, improbable beauty and relentless truth.

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!

61 Responses to “The Juilliard School’s 109th Commencement Speech ~ Joyce DiDonato”

  1. May 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm
    Margaret Seibel

    This is the best thing I ever read.

  2. May 27, 2014 at 6:20 pm
    John Schweger

    Love the thought, that you are a servant to those that come after. Very good expression for families, educators, professions, and, of course, the arts.

  3. May 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm
    Emily H.

    Every young artist needs to read the wisdom of this speech. As an aspiring conductor, these truths can easily be lost in striving to “make it.” There is comfort in knowing that we never make it but can keep growing and flourishing in our art. Joyce, you rock. Keep on changing the arts and music with your down-to-earth realistic wisdom.

  4. May 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm
    Jean Mulford

    You’ve just reminded me why I love you so much! You keep lifting the spirits of the world. Thank you for loving Art and Humanity so much!

  5. May 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm
    Andrew

    Joyce, the biggest takeaway from your wonderful speech is that we should never let the naysayers have their way – that can be “revenge” of a different sort, a positive one, and proof that if one loves something enough, believes in one’s self, dedicates one’s life to the pursuit of this beauty and expression that the rest will fall into place, in one form or another. Thanks for sharing your words with those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to be able to be in the audience in New York!

  6. May 27, 2014 at 9:53 pm
    James Mayhew

    Dear Ms. DiDonato,

    May I call you Joyce?

    This speech has completely blown me away. It has moved me yo tears. I am not a singer. I am a Children’s book illustrator, and author, and I also sometimes get to paint illustrations LIVE on stage with orchestras (which is pretty thrilling as a non-musician who LOVES music). But you know, I sometimes get down because I am always striving to “make it”, and worrying my work isn’t good enough etc etc… All the things you say in your four brilliant points. Every creative should read this.

    For now it all makes sense. Now I can, with renewed energy and passion, feel content to go ahead and enjoy my journey. It’s funny, but I realise I tell some of this to a lot of my students ( I teach a little at Cambridge art school in the UK). But I forget to apply these truths to myself. I guess I needed someone to tell it to me. Thank you for being that person.

    Wishing you every success along the way of your journey, and with sincere thanks,

    James Mayhew

  7. May 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm
    Gaulimauli

    A refreshingly candid, witty and heartfelt address !

  8. May 27, 2014 at 11:59 pm
    Ellen S.

    An inspiration! Thanks for posting.

  9. May 28, 2014 at 12:00 am
    Viktoriya Koreneva

    Dear Joyce, You are more than an amazing opera singer… I’ve been there at the Met when you sang La Cenerentola in New York this May and enjoyed every second of it. You are La Cenerentola yourself in the best possible way – humble, kind and deserving of all the wonderful things this life can bring. Thank you for BEING and sharing your beautiful, ever persevering spirit with the world!

    • June 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm
      Linda Hardwick

      I couldn’t agree more. I cried at the end of your Cenerentola, and I’m crying now. You make me even more glad to be alive!

  10. May 28, 2014 at 1:25 am
    Gary Gaunt

    Ms DiDonato,

    A speech that left me speechless, but even at 68 has renewed my journey.

    I am a businessman not an artist, but I will be passing this onto my colleagues for inspiration.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, your service and an electrifying Cenerentola.

    Warmest regards

    Gary

  11. May 28, 2014 at 1:45 am
    Jennifer Lane

    Fantastic. Living well IS the best revenge. And only forgiveness (including forgiveness of oneself for being the person others describe as having “not much talent”) can unleash power on the order of Non più mesta! Every artist who is one and who pours hours and hours into Art has “made it” because that time is itself the jewel and the journey, as you so beautifully articulate. “Making it” is business and every artist is both a person and a business. Thank you!

  12. May 28, 2014 at 1:47 am
    Marguerite Foxon

    This is so applicable to everything we tackle in life as we live our passion. As always Joyce your words are so inspiring to me.

  13. May 28, 2014 at 5:22 am
    Johanna Nordhorn

    Dear Joyce,

    Your words struck me like lightning. I am so inspired and moved – so many things to say, but most of all – THANK YOU!!! Thank you for sharing your light and helping the rest of the world give themselves permission to share theirs.

    Much love, gratitude, and admiration,
    Johanna (fellow mezzo ;))

  14. May 28, 2014 at 10:53 am
    Marilyn Aspen

    I was at the ceremony and heard you deliver this incredible address. You and your message made that commencement unforgettable. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  15. May 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm
    Carol Goff

    As I read these words this morning, I was given Hope, Ms. Donato.
    Your words are ones that everyone needs to hear and then, remember.
    I thank you.

  16. May 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm
    Jan Buckley

    Dear Joyce,
    So glad Flicka sent me the link for your commencement address.
    it was stunning and right on. Everything you said so eloquently was correct and so helpful for the class of 2014 but also for all those who pursue a dream in any field.
    You are a great artist. This artistry comes from your exploration of your own being and soul and your immense talent,kindness, empathy and dedication.
    Thank you for inhabiting our planet and being such a role model,
    Jan Buckley

  17. May 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm
    Dona Dorman

    NPR sent me to this website to read your wonderful message. I am a BSN educator and find your words applicable to our profession which is an “art as well as a science…” I plan to share many of your valid points with my students…for the world needs them as well to share empathy and joy in the midst of caring for those who are ill.

  18. May 28, 2014 at 11:44 pm
    Joanna Levy

    Joyce Dearest..
    Thank you so much for the link. I needed to hear what you had to say. It made the crusty old voice teacher I have become feel young and hopeful again. You are a gift to us all. Travel with love.
    Joanna

  19. May 29, 2014 at 4:45 am
    kay

    I came home today wondering what my purpose in life is and after reading your address I now have an answer. Thank you.

  20. May 29, 2014 at 4:55 am
    W. Stephen Smith

    Thanks for posting this. I’ll have all of my students read it. You continue to be an inspiration for so many. I’m so proud of all those chances you keep taking! Steve

  21. May 29, 2014 at 5:58 am
    Elindi

    I so needed to read this today! Wow what an amazing, inspirational message that you have not just given those students, but to all of us reading this article. Thank you, I will take this wonderful wisdom and share it with every student or artist that cross my path!

  22. May 29, 2014 at 7:28 am
    Craig Bohall

    I had the pleasure of going to school, being in opera’s, some voice master classes, and waiting tables evenings and weekends in college in Wichita Kansas with Joyce before she was a big star. She was a very nice, fun, gracious woman then and this speech shows her grand growth and great ability to inspire others. If she ever has her singing “journey” come to an end she will always be able to wait tables… she was pretty good at that too!

  23. May 29, 2014 at 10:56 am
    Frank Schaeffer

    I’ve been a writer and painter all my life. I’ve read a lot about art. This is the single best expression of my own hard won lifetime experience as to the truth of the only real answer to the question “Why art?” THANK YOU!

  24. May 29, 2014 at 12:40 pm
    john

    I am a career musician and Buddhist, 40 years into my career as a Blues and Jazz musician. My grandmother was an opera singer and graduated from Juilliard 108 years ago, or somewhere close to then. I have spent my life in pursuit of the ever changing moment and blessed to have had a life of freedom and many many challenges that have both broken me and also made me the man and artist I am now. I am deeply touched and moved to hear your words of honesty and compassion, insight and intelligence. In a world so focused on the acquisition of material wealth and instant Fame and glory, it was quite beautiful to hear the reminder that the call of the ineffable, Art as a spiritual journey, is a unifying force. Thank you! May your ongoing journey be as beautiful and inspiring as the words you offer here.

  25. May 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm
    Tim Brown

    Thank you for your beautifully articulated analysis of our struggles and motivations as practitioners of the arts. I will print out a copy to read, as needed, and share with fellow artists when we have those moments of doubt. As a musician who has struggled daily through success and failure, it is wonderful to have this perspective as backup to my constant self-analysis. You have helped me continue my work, and to keep up the good fight in spreading the joy inherent in our craft. I am in my 70s and retired from teaching, but will never quit sharing my love of music with all who wish to share. “Why art?”, indeed! Thank you.

  26. May 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm
    Kathy Lord

    This was one of the greatest things I have ever read that hit’s to the core of what it means to be chosen as an artist, of any type, to serve this world. The speech itself is a work of art, divinely inspired, resonating to the core of the artist within. Thank you for the message, the reminder. I have forwarded this on to all of the musicians that work through the Music That Heals program, which brings professional, musical performances into healthcare facilities throughout the five boroughs of NYC. Thanks again.

  27. May 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm
    Mairi McGilvrie

    Thank you,thank you for this. It is so true and so affirming of what my life as an artist truly is.

  28. May 29, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    Ed Miller

    Dear Joyce DiDonato,
    I was driving alone the other day, listening on the radio to your astonishing “La Cenerentola,” and felt “that vital, electric, joyful pulse of life.” And now this stunning speech. You are a true artist and a beautiful soul.

  29. May 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm
    Brian Lee

    Thank you for posting this.These are inspirational words that I am encouraging all of my students and colleagues to read. Journey on!

  30. May 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm
    Mary Carol

    Dear Joyce DiDonato,

    Simply beautiful. I am moved with emotion by the eloquence and power of your words to stir my weary ego. You inspire me to come out of the fog of self and reconnect to the pure joy of my creativity and to my artistic endeavors, with no other purpose than being completely engaged and fully alive with the dance. Thank you for sharing. Your wisdom is radiating far and wide and will make a difference.

  31. May 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm
    barbara schutz

    Dear Ms. Didonato:

    I came away thrilled by the HD production of La Cenerentola, where you epitomized everything that you proclaimed in your graduation speech at Juilliard. I am a poet, and so often we poets get lost in our battle to be read, to be heard. Your performance and your speech put all my efforts into perspective. Thank you for giving me the courage and the humility to continue with my task – a wonderful gift.

  32. May 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm
    Louisa Barry

    Dear Joyce,

    Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement, support and truth! You are an inspiration to all! You bring out the best in people!

  33. May 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm
    Patty

    You made me cry.

    Thank you.

  34. May 29, 2014 at 11:48 pm
    Joe Cairns

    Perhaps my favorite truth:

    SIC TRASIT GLORIA MUNDI

    for glory is always transitory and will surely disappear just as fleetingly and arbitrarily as it arrived.)

  35. May 30, 2014 at 1:35 am
    David Holloway

    It reads beautifully in Santa Fe, too. What special, special thoughts you have. You say it better than most motals can even think it. You are inspiring, truly, and a joy to have as a friend. Much love to you.

  36. May 30, 2014 at 1:51 am
    Sarah

    Thank you for your honest, joyful message!

  37. May 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm
    al masters

    Joyce,
    I’m a Presbyterian-flavored pastor struggling this am with a graduation message and came across your post from the daily Duke Univ. Leadership email…this is the best “sermon” I’ve read in years…you speak to the human spirit in all of us-regardless of vocation…I will share it tonight with a published poet friend whose husband died of Alzheimer’s way too young and is trying to rediscover herself. Thank you!

  38. June 1, 2014 at 12:36 am
    Neil McKelvie

    I’m an 83-year-old emeritus Professor in a non-musical field, but as a non-professional concert-level pianist, that speech is just an inspiration. It’s never too late to learn to play better, and hope to spread the joy of great music!

  39. June 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm
    Georgyn Geetlein, BM, MM, MM, DM

    Dear Joyce –

    You may not remember me but years ago you were sent to my home to tape an short interview and a segment of your singing on my radio show, “Operatically Speaking,” in Philadelphia when you were at AVA. Sherwood Shaffer, (my former theory teacher, good friend, and revered composer from my first conservatory, The University of North Carolina School of the Arts), emailed your speech to me.

    I remember you very well and happily followed your career. It is especially wonderful that you took the time to inspire young people. You have a wonderful outlook on life. I wish you continued success. Philadelphia, PA

  40. June 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm
    Tabatha

    Beautiful. Thank you!

  41. June 3, 2014 at 3:17 am
    Robert Wilder Blue

    I expected nothing less! You are an angel and an inspiration.

  42. June 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm
    Audrey Howitt

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  43. June 4, 2014 at 4:00 am
    Carole Whitney

    THIS is why she, you, Joyce, is where you are – the inner light and spirit of soul that you communicate to the world. Thank you and blessings

  44. June 4, 2014 at 7:06 pm
    David Winans, EdD, PCC

    Ms. DiDonato -
    BRAVA!
    Thank you for my adult children aspiring opera singers who will receive a copy as soon as I finish this note of deep appreciation.
    Thank you for my life coach clients who will have the benefit of your inspirational message when s/he loses sight of the dream.
    Thank you for inspiring me to use your eloquence when I gather with high school classmates at our 50th reunion this summer. (We need this more than the Juilliard ’14 grads!)
    Most respectfully,
    Dave Winans

  45. June 4, 2014 at 9:12 pm
    Bill Meahan

    I posted a link to this page on Facebook and this is what I wrote to accompany the link:

    I’m bypassing the reporting and going right to the source with this link. We need the Arts in whatever form they take if we are to be humans and not merely automatons marching in lockstep to the call of the almighty dollar.

    YOU MUST READ THIS!!!

    If you are an artist, hear in these words the encouragement you need (yes, you need it) to continue doing what you do even if you never become “successful” as the world defines “success.”

    If you are a human, hear in these words the truth you so badly need to hear telling you there is so much more in life than a bigger income, the latest technological toy or your fifteen minutes of fame.

  46. June 5, 2014 at 3:36 am
    Daniel Alfred Wachs

    Truer words have rarely been spoken. As a fellow traveler on this (often maddening) journey of ours, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding us all of the Truths. You are, Ms. DiDonato, a True Artist and these are not merely words but a reflection of your own beautiful soul. Brava and journey on!

  47. June 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm
    Krystyna Pindral, Australia

    What a gift each graduate has realised and what a gift of speech Joyce DiDonato offered and shared with them and with us. Thank you.

  48. June 7, 2014 at 2:03 am
    Malcolm R. Campbell

    These words: I’ve always known them. But they did not take form and live until you said them, and then I wept for the truth of what we do and why we do it. Thank you.

  49. June 8, 2014 at 5:58 am
    Shira

    Thank you! These words make my journey full of hope and vitality!!

  50. June 10, 2014 at 9:45 am
    Deborah Jeanne Weitzman

    Magnificent words! Thank you! As an musician and writer and one who struggled with fear and shame, I wanted to share a book (just published) that can be useful to those of us who get in the way of allowing all what you’ve said to manifest.
    Pandora Learns to Sing: A Journey Toward Wholeness
    about a personal experience of transformation.

  51. June 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm
    Toria Burrell

    Wow. This is indeed a beautiful speech, full of profound and inspiring wisdom. Good reminders for all of us artists (or anyone). I found the “You will never make it” paragraph especially struck a chord in me, and brings me a sense of peace. The last paragraph too – “The world needs you” reminds me of the satisfaction of having a purpose in creating music. It is, and has always been, my purpose for being a musician. But it is always good to be reminded of it, to bring it back into clear focus, especially when daily life can cloud it at times.
    Thank you for sharing your uplifting spirit.

  52. June 19, 2014 at 1:00 am
    Dean W. Nelson

    Your beautiful contrite words of wisdom, are discriptive of foundation of humanity!

  53. June 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm
    David Nice

    Excellent indeed – I will send these wise words to the godchildren along with ones already distributed to them from Kurt Vonnegut – there’s company for you! – and Tim Minchin. A bit teary on reading, I’ll admit. Keep up your unofficial role as Ambassador of Decency and Truth.

  54. July 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm
    Sarah Salter

    The only commencement speech that has made me cry. As an academic I have heard many. Here I read truths, caringly and clearly expressed in elegant language. And so essentially the artist Joyce Didonato that we admire in her many other roles.

  55. July 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm
    Monique Galvao

    I have been watching this video everyday for the past week. For some reason it touches me every time i listen to Joyce’s words, every time I listen to this speech I learn some valuable lesson.
    Thank you Joyce DiDonato, not only for being a great singer but also for being such an example and an idol to many singers. I am also a mezzo soprano (mezzo power!!!) and I have just started in my musical journey. You have given me a lot of strength and understanding about this career of service that it is music. Thank you for your music and your wise words. Thank you thank you thank you
    Wishing you the best,
    Monique Galvao

  56. July 21, 2014 at 4:13 am
    Ken Kirkwood

    Dear Joyce
    Your wise words moved me so much. Whether you are singing an aria, teaching a master class or exhorting graduates you have the gift of touching and speaking to so many hearts with wisdom, humility, eloquence and self-deprecating humour.
    Is it any wonder why we love you so much?

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