Juilliard’s AXIOM, Led by Conductor Jeffrey Milarsky, Performs Works by Boulez and Stockhausen on Thursday, April 17, 2014 in Alice Tully Hall

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Photos are available at: AXIOM and Jeffrey Milarsky


March 17, 2014

Contact: Janet Kessin, Gloria Gottschalk, (212) 721-0965

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AXIOM, Juilliard’s critically-acclaimed contemporary music ensemble specializing in the 20th century’s ‘classic’ repertoire and led by music director Jeffrey Milarsky, performs works byPierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen on their last concert of the series on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. The program features Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Fünf Sternzeichen (Five Star Signs) (2004) and his Refrain (1959), and Pierre Boulez’s Dérive 2 (1988/2006). Boulez and Stockhausen spent time together, along with Luigi Nono and John Cage, attending the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music in 1958. “Their philosophies regarding music,” remarked AXIOM music director and conductor, Jeffrey Milarsky, “were aligned at least at this time. This concert explores their commonalities and their contrasts.”


Tickets are FREE and will be available beginning April 3 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard, located in the lobby of the School at 155 West 65th Street. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/axiom.


German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) emerged early on as one of the most influential and unique voices in the post-WWII European musical avant-garde and his prominence continued throughout the rest of the 20th century and into the 21stFünf Sternzheichen (Five Star Signs) is comprised of his 2004 orchestrations of five of the 12 melodies from his 1975 work Tierkreis (Zodiac). The movements are Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn. The work was commissioned by the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra (Bad Brückenau) on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Conductor Ulf Klausenitzer led the world premiere performance on November 28, 2004 at the King Ludwig I Hall of the national spa. Stockhausen wrote of his work in July 2004: “In the hope that an increasing number of orchestra musicians want to demonstrate their personal talent, I have written these special STAR SIGNS.”


Stockhausen’s Refrain was composed in June and July 1959 on a commission from G. von Westerman and had its premiere on the Berlin Festwochen on October 2, 1959 with David Tudor (piano and wood blocks), Cornelius Cardew (celesta and antique cymbals), and Siegfried Rockstroh (vibraphone, cowbells, and glockenspiel). The three performers play an accessory instrument in addition to their main instrument.


Stockhausen describes the original idea behind Refrain: “A calm and spaciously composed sonic stratum is disturbed six times by a short refrain. This refrain comprises glissandi and clusters, trills, bass notes (in the piano) and short melodic fragments, and these elements do not occur in the rest of the form. The moments at which the refrains are played are chosen by the players themselves and may differ from performance to performance; once they are fixed, however, the definitive appearance of a refrain is influenced by its immediate surroundings (trills, glissandi and melody must then be formed using notes of the preceding or subsequent chord). Conversely, each time after it has resounded, a refrain brings a change in the subsequent formal course: the sounds of piano, celesta, and vibraphone change their characters through percussion instruments which ‘discolor’ them, that is, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the moments chosen for the refrains.”


Born in Montbrison, France in 1925, composer, conductor, and advocate for new music, Pierre Boulez pursued his musical studies in piano, composition, and choral conducting at the Paris Conservatory, where his teachers included Olivier Messiaen and René Lebowitz. His Dérive 2 was composed in 1988, and revised in 2001 and 2006, and was written for 11 instruments: English horn, clarinet in A, French horn, violin, viola, cello, vibraphone, marimba, harp, and piano.  It is based on materials from Boulez’s earlier works, Répons and Dérive 1 and has been expanded to about 50 minutes in length. The piece was dedicated to Elliott Carter on his 80th birthday and was the result of Boulez’s “research into periodicity.” “When I reflected on some of Ligeti’s compositions,” wrote Boulez, “I felt the desire to dedicate myself to some almost theoretical research into periodicity in order to systematically examine its overlays, its shifts, and its exchanges.”


AXIOM’s next appearance takes place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, led by Alan Gilbert, as part of the New York Philharmonic’s First Biennial. Alan Gilbert conducts HK Gruber’s Gloria – a pigtale on Thursday, May 29 and Friday, May 30 at 7 PM, and Sunday, June 1 at 2 PM.



One of the newest additions to Juilliard’s roster of performing ensembles is AXIOM. Led by music director Jeffrey Milarsky, AXIOM is dedicated to performing the masterworks of the 20th and 21stcentury repertoire. Since its debut in Avery Fisher Hall in February 2006, the group has rapidly established itself as a leading ensemble in New York City’s contemporary music scene with performances throughout Lincoln Center, in addition to frequent appearances at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre and (Le) Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village.


AXIOM’s next appearance is at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the New York Philharmonic’s First Biennial. Alan Gilbert conducts HK Gruber’s Gloria – a pigtale on Thursday, May 29, 2014 and Friday, May 30, 2014 at 7 PM, and Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 2 PM.


Highlights from the 2012-13 season included a concert featuring Oliver Knussen’s Coursing, Charles Wuorinen’s Cyclops 2000, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1; a concert with Toru Takemitsu’s Archipelago S and John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music; and a collaboration with the Sibelius Academy conducted by Susanna Mälkki and featuring works by American and Finnish composers including Elliott Carter, Anthony Cheung, Vali-Matti Puumala, Sean Shepherd, and Jukka Tiensuu.


In the 2011-12 season, AXIOM presented a three-concert series which featured the world premiere of American composer Elliott Carter’s Three Explorations (2011) drawn from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, and works by Babbitt, Birtwistle, Boulez, Grisey, and Lindberg. AXIOM also gave a performance of Wolfgang Rihm’s rarely-performed work, Jagden und Formen (Hunts and Forms).


Highlights from the 2010-11 season included a three-concert series focusing on the music of Steve Reich and Magnus Lindberg with a final concert featuring Morton Feldman’s monumental Rothko Chapel, his take on abstract expressionist painting that’s also a eulogy to his friend Mark Rothko, presented by Lincoln Center as part of their inaugural Tully Scope festival.


In the 2009-10 season, AXIOM presented three concerts at Juilliard and a program of pieces for smaller ensemble performed at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The ensemble performed works by Davidovsky, Ligeti, and Birtwistle in October 2009, an all-John Adams program in December 2009, and performed works by Finnish composers Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho in February 2010.


About Jeffrey Milarsky

American conductor Jeffrey Milarsky is music director of AXIOM. Known for his innovative programming and a command of wide-ranging repertoire, spanning from Bach to Xenakis, Mr. Milarsky has led groups such as the American Composers Orchestra, MET Chamber Ensemble, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New World Symphony, New York Philharmonic chamber music series, and the San Francisco Symphony.


In November 2013, Jeffrey Milarsky received the Ditson Conductor’s Award, a prize for distinguished contributions to American music, given annually by Columbia University.


In the United States and abroad, Mr. Milarsky has premiered and recorded works by groundbreaking contemporary composers, including Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Mario Davidovsky, Jonathan Dawe, Gerard Grisey, Fred Lerdahl, Tristan Murail, Luigi Nono, Wolfgang Rihm, Ralph Shapey, and Charles Wuorinen. 


In September of 2008, Mr. Milarsky was named to the conducting faculty of Juilliard. He also is senior lecturer of music at Columbia University, where he is the music director and conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra.


Mr. Milarsky made his conducting debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during the 2011-12 season and returned last season. He is scheduled to conduct concerts again with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2013-2014. This past season Mr. Milarsky conducted the San Francisco Symphony in San Francisco, Michigan, and at Carnegie Hall in New York. He also led orchestras in Norway, Italy, and Paris. Mr. Milarsky also appears regularly at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra, and also recently performed at IRCAM in Paris, conducting and recording compositions by Joshua Fineberg and Tristan Murail.


A highly sought-after timpanist and percussionist, Mr. Milarsky has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, among other ensembles.  In addition, Mr. Milarsky has been principal timpanist for the Santa Fe Opera since 2005. He has recorded extensively for Angel, Bridge, Teldec, Telarc, New World, CRI, MusicMasters, EMI, Koch, and London records. Mr. Milarsky received his bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts.

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AXIOM, Led by Jeffrey Milarsky


Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor


Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN Fünf Sternzeichen (Five Star Signs) (2004)

STOCKHAUSEN Refrain (1959)

Pierre BOULEZ Dérive 2 (1988/2006)


FREE tickets will be available beginning April 3 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM – 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/axiom.


Thursday, May 29, 2014, 7 PM / Friday, May 30, 2014, 7 PM/ Sunday, June 1, 2014, 2 PM

Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alan Gilbert Conducts HK Gruber’s Gloria – a pigtale


Vocalists affiliated with The Juilliard School


Doug Fitch, designer, director

Edouard Getaz, producer


A co-presentation of the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Juilliard School.


For further information, go to New York Philharmonic.


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