THE NEW JUILLIARD ENSEMBLE, LED BY JOEL SACHS, OPENS THREE-CONCERT SERIES ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2014 AT 8 PM IN JUILLIARD’S PETER JAY SHARP THEATER
PROGRAM FEATURES THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ALESSANDRO ANNUNZIATA’S RITROVARE;
NEW YORK PREMIERE OF HARRISON BIRTWISTLE’S CANTUS IAMBEUS IN HONOR OF THE COMPOSER’S 80th BIRTHDAY;
WESTERN HEMISPHERE PREMIERE OF BERND FRANKE’S VEIL I; AND SHULAMIT RAN’S FAULT LINE
The New Juilliard Ensemble, led by Joel Sachs, enters its 22nd season and opens its three-concert series with music by composers from England, Germany, Israel, and Italy on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 8 PM in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The program features the world premiere of Italian composer Alessandro Annunziata’s Ritrovare (2014, composed for the New Juilliard Ensemble); the Western Hemisphere premiere of German composer Bernd Franke’s Veil I (2013); the New York premiere of British composer Harrison Birtwistle’s Cantus Iambeus (2004-5) in honor of Birtwistle’s 80th birthday; and Israeli composer Shulamit Ran’s Fault Line (2005-6) with Juilliard soprano Onadek Winan.
Free tickets for the September 20th concert will be available beginning September 5, online at events.juilliard.edu. For further information, call (212) 769-7406.
Alessandro Annunziata decided to compose his new work, Ritrovare (2014), after hearing the New Juilliard Ensemble players perform his string quartet, Griko, in MoMA’s Summergarden 2013; he was impressed by the Ensemble’s energy and polish and offered to write a piece for the full ensemble. On selecting the title, Ritrovare, the composer says: “I conceived this work like a musical ‘trip,’ looking for a new, strong, significance of contemporary musical expression.” The work, which has its world premiere performance on this concert, shows the composer’s love for and interest in Mediterranean popular music. This colorful one movement piece is a kind of chamber symphony in five interconnected movements. It moves through brilliantly contrasting moods to a climactic dance-finale in the Greco-Italian style.
Alessandro Annunziata was born in Rome in 1968 and graduated with honors in literature and philosophy with a specialization in Neapolitan theater and music in the 18th century. Studying piano and composition, he broadened his horizons to traditional popular music, especially that of the Mediterranean, and in particular, a culturally-distinct region of southern Italy, that, in ancient times, was a Greek colony. His compositions have been performed by leading ensembles and orchestras in Italy, France, Holland, China, Japan, Korea, the United States, and Canada, and broadcast in Italy, France, Canada, and Chile. He has worked as a musicologist, journalist, teacher, lecturer, writer for radio, music adviser for Italian radio and television, and editor of Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana.
Bernd Franke’s Veil I (2013) is the first component of his cycle, Veil, and was composed for Ensemble Modern and conductor Fabián Panisello, premiered by them in Madrid and repeated in Frankfurt. The piece combines fully-composed sections with others in which events are not precisely pre-determined.
Bernd Franke was born in 1959 and grew up in the German Democratic Republic. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1975 to 1981, where his principal teachers were Siegfried Thiele for composition and Wolf-Dieter Hauschild in conducting. From 1981 to 1985, he attended Berlin’s Academy of Arts for advanced studies with Siegfried Matthus, and in 1989, he was a Tanglewood Fellow. He joined the faculty of the University of Leipzig in 1981 as a theory teacher and since that time has taught there and at their Conservatory. He is a member of the Akademie der Künste in Dresden. His music has been played extensively in Germany and is becoming known internationally, with performances by the New York Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, and Zurich Kammersprechchor. In 2003, he was Composer of the Year at the Kaustinen Festival in Finland. Mr. Franke’s Chagall-Musik was commissioned by Kurt Masur, who premiered his first orchestral composition. His music is published by C.F. Peters.
Harrison Birtwistle’s Cantus Iambeus (2004-5) has its New York premiere on this program. The New Juilliard Ensemble salutes Birtwistle’s 80th birthday which took place on July 15. Cantus Iambeus (Iambic Song) was composed for and premiered by the Nash Ensemble with funding from the PRS Foundation. The title of the work translates as “song in iambic meter” – a melody in short-long rhythmic patterns. The patterns are masked by the multiple layers of activity created in various groups of instruments performed simultaneously in different tempos. The piece seems to be not just one “song,” but several that compete with one another and provide the players with a real challenge to their virtuosity.
Harrison Birtwistle was born in rural Lancashire in 1934 and began studying the clarinet at age seven, advancing enough to join a military band. He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music on a clarinet scholarship and he also studied composition there. His colleagues included Peter Maxwell Davies and Alexander Goehr, pianist/composer John Ogdon, and trumpeter, conductor, and composer Elgar Howarth. In 1953, they organized New Music Manchester, a group with which they would cultivate their interest in such repertory. After his postgraduate studies with Reginald Kell at the Royal Academy of Music, and when one of his pieces was selected for the 1959 Cheltenham festival, Birtwistle decided to devote himself to composition. His music is now performed by leading ensembles, orchestras, and conductors, and at Europe’s most important opera and new music festivals. His recordings are available on the Decca, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Teldec, Black Box, NMC, CPO, and Soundcircus labels; two discs have won Gramophone awards. He has received many of the musical world’s highest honors and was awarded a British knighthood in 1988. Now retired, he was Henry Purcell Professor of Music at King’s College, University of London (1995-2001), and director of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes.
Shulamit Ran’s Fault Line (2005-6) was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony’s Music Now program. The composer writes: “The title, Fault Line, is a metaphor for the volatility of human existence. Underneath even the most seemingly orderly of lives, fault lines lie, at time totally invisible on the surface, yet capable of erupting with the power to shutter and change all. Fault Lines may be heard as a journey of a life, with all of its exuberance, energy, despair, triumphs and losses, wonder, brashness, and the grace of great tenderness.”
Shulamit Ran, a native of Israel, began setting Hebrew poetry to music at the age of seven. Two years later, she was studying composition and piano with some of Israel’s most noted musicians and after a short time was hearing her works performed by professional musicians and orchestras. With scholarships from Mannes College of Music and the America Israel Cultural Foundation, Ms. Ran continued her studies in the States with Norman Dello Joio. In 1973, she joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, where she is now the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music, as well as artistic director of Contempo, the University’s contemporary chamber players. Ms. Ran has been awarded five honorary doctorates, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received most major American composers’ honors, including the Pulitzer Prize. Her music has been performed by major orchestras. She was composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and a resident at the American Academy in Rome. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company and the Israeli Music Institute. This season, her second and third string quartets will have multiple performances by the Juilliard String Quartet and the Pacific Quartet, respectively, in major venues in the United States, Europe, and Japan.
About the New Juilliard Ensemble
The New Juilliard Ensemble (NJE), led by founding director Joel Sachs, celebrates the liveliness of today’s music, focusing primarily on repertory of the last decade. Now in its 22nd season, NJE presents music by a variety of international composers writing in the most diverse styles. Its members are current students at Juilliard, who are admitted to the ensemble by audition. Student interest in the ensemble’s work is considerable, with more than 100 students participating each year, although the maximum size of compositions is normally 15-20 players. The ensemble appears regularly at MoMA’s Summergarden and has been a featured ensemble four times at the Lincoln Center Festival. New Juilliard Ensemble members joined members of the Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble with conductor Pierre Boulez for the 2008 FOCUS! festival, which celebrated composer Elliott Carter’s 100th year.
In September 2013, the New Juilliard Ensemble collaborated with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Bicentennial Celebration and performed the U.S. premieres of works by Magnus Lindberg and Judith Weir. In November 2012, NJE collaborated with Carnegie Hall on Voices from Latin America, in April 2011, with Carnegie Hall’s Japan/NYC festival, and in November 2009, with Carnegie Hall’s Ancient Paths, Modern Voices festival.
In January 2009, the New Juilliard Ensemble opened the FOCUS! 2009 festival, CALIFORNIA: A Century of New Music, which showcased West Coast composers. In spring 2009, the New Juilliard Ensemble toured Japan; in December 2009, they performed aleatoric music at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with an exhibition of Persian and Turkish “divining” manuscripts.
The New Juilliard Ensemble appeared in the FOCUS! 2010 festival, Music at the Center: Composing an American Mainstream; FOCUS! 2011 festival, Polish Modern: New Directions in Polish Music Since 1945; FOCUS! 2012 festival, Sounds Re-Imagined: John Cage at 100; FOCUS! 2013 festival, The British Renaissance, featuring British music since World War II with a tribute to the centenary of Benjamin Britten; and FOCUS! 2014, Alfred Schnittke and His World which celebrated the 80th anniversary of Russian composer Alfred Schnittke and featured music by Schnittke and his contemporaries – Pärt, Gubaidulina, Kancheli, and Silvestrov.
About Joel Sachs
Joel Sachs, founder and director of the New Juilliard Ensemble, performs a vast range of traditional and contemporary music as conductor and pianist. As co-director of the internationally-acclaimed new music ensemble Continuum, Dr. Sachs has appeared in hundreds of performances in New York, nationally, and throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He has also conducted orchestras and ensembles in Austria, Brazil, China, El Salvador, Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Switzerland, and Ukraine, and has held new music residencies in Berlin, Shanghai, London, Salzburg, Curitiba (Brazil), Helsinki, and the Banff Centre (Canadian Rockies).
One of the most active presenters of new music in New York, Joel Sachs founded the New Juilliard Ensemble in 1993. He produces and directs The Juilliard School’s annual FOCUS! festival, has been artistic director of Juilliard’s concerts at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) since 1993, and was also a co-director of the former Sonic Boom Festival of contemporary music – a project of a consortium of New York City’s most prestigious new music ensembles.
A member of Juilliard’s music history faculty, Joel Sachs has written a biography of the American composer Henry Cowell, which was published by Oxford University Press in June 2012. Dr. Sachs appears on radio as a commentator on recent music. He has been a regular delegate to Netherlands Music Days and other international music conferences.
A graduate of Harvard, Dr. Sachs received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He was given Columbia University’s Alice M. Ditson Award for his service to American Music. In 2011, he was made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard University for his work in support of new music, and received the National Gloria Artis Medal of the Polish Government for his service to Polish music.
About Onadek Winan
Soprano Onadek Winan, a native of Paris, is a second-year undergraduate at Juilliard, studying with Edith Wiens. She made her debut with the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra at age 15, singing the lead role in Tomasi’s Le colibri. Recently, she gave her first performances with the Paris National Opera’s Children’s Choir singing Le feu and Le rossignol in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and with the Massy Opera Orchestra as Bastienne in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne. Ms. Winan has won the Jury’s Prize in the International Singing Competition of Marmande, first prize in the competition Les Maîtres du chant Francais, and the prize as most promising singer in the Canari Vocal Competition.
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Saturday, September 20, 2014, 8 PM, Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater (155 West 65th Street, NYC)
New Juilliard Ensemble
Joel Sachs, conductor
Onadek Winan, soprano
BERND FRANKE (Germany) Veil 1 (2013, Western Hemisphere premiere)
SHULAMIT RAN (Israel/U.S.) Fault Line (2005-6) with Juilliard soprano Onadek Winan
HARRISON BIRTWISTLE (U.K.) Cantus Iambeus (2004-5, New York premiere)
ALESSANDRO ANNUNZIATA (Italy) Ritrovare (2014, world premiere, composed for NJE)
Free tickets will be available beginning September 5, online at events.juilliard.edu. For further information, call (212) 769-7406.