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New Juilliard Ensemble, Led by Joel Sachs, Performs Five World Premiere Works on Its Last Concert of the Season

March 12, 2013 | By Gloria Gottschalk
Media Relations Manager
Now nearing the conclusion of its 20th season, the New Juilliard Ensemble, led by founder and director Joel Sachs, performs five world premiere works on its last concert of the season on Friday, April 12 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. The program features the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s Mighty Triborough (2013); David Hertzberg’s femminina, oscura (2013); Eugene Astapov’s Myths of Ancient Bosphorus (2013); Luca Lombardi’s Welcome and Farewell (2012); Laura Elise Schwendinger’s Sinfonietta (2013); and the New York premiere of Luca Lombardi’s Non requiescat – Musica in memoria di Hanns Eisler (1973).

The New Juilliard Ensemble’s 21st season opens on Sunday, September 29 in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The concert is part of a celebration of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s bicentennial and will include the American premieres of works by Judith Weir (Scotland) and Magnus Lindberg (Finland), commissioned by the Society.

FREE tickets to the April 12th concert will be available beginning March 29 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.

Mohammed Fairouz writes: “Pieces of music have been written about the George Washington Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge…if there’s a musical work about the Triborough, I haven’t heard it. But the Triborough is my favorite of New York City’s great bridges. Not one bridge, but three giant bridges in one; it is one of those great human accomplishments that raised architecture to the level of sculpture. Since I was a little boy, I’ve found its art deco detailing unbelievably beautiful and the story of its construction inspiring.” Mr. Fairouz melds Middle Eastern modes and Western structures in his work to create a deeply expressive effect. His large-scale works include four symphonies and an opera. He also had composed solo and chamber works. Commissions have come from the Borromeo Quartet, Imani Winds, New York Festival of Song, Cantus, Cygnus Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, Counter)induction, Alea III, Musicians for Harmony, and many others. His principal teachers in composition have included György Ligeti, Gunther Schiller, and Richard Danielpour, with studies at the Curtis Institute and New England Conservatory. His music is published by Peermusic Classical.

David Hertzberg began work on his piece, femminina, oscura, composed for the New Juilliard Ensemble, in December at Aaron Copland’s historic home in Westchester, an experience “that proved to be aesthetically and personally transformative,” the composer remarked. The title of the piece derives from a short poem by Wallace Stevens.

Mr. Hertzberg currently is enrolled in the accelerated master of music degree program at Juilliard, where he holds the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship, as well as a teaching fellowship and will graduate in May. He earned his bachelor of music degree with scholastic distinction from Juilliard as a student of Samuel Adler and was honored with the John Erskine Prize for his outstanding contribution to artistic and academic life throughout the course of his undergraduate studies. Among his other awards is a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Upcoming projects include a work for the Flux Quartet to be performed this summer at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and a piece for the Prism Quartet, for which he has received a Jerome Fund Commission.

Eugene Astapov composed his work, Myths of Ancient Bosphorus, for the New Juilliard Ensemble and dedicates it “to his homeland – the city of Kerch, to the beauty and rich history of that part of the world, the capital of Bosphorus, once one of the world’s most powerful empires.”

Mr. Astapov was born to Russian parents then living in Crimea, USSR, and immigrated to Canada at the age of 14. He is in the master of music degree program in composition at Juilliard, studying with Robert Beaser and Christopher Rouse. He received a bachelor of music in composition from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied extensively with David Liptak, and a diploma as associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto, in piano performance. His music has been performed in Canada by major ensembles, including the Vancouver Symphony, Espirit Orchestra, the Penderecki String Quartet, and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne. Abroad, it has been played in France, Germany, Italy, Russian, and Ukraine, as well as in the United States. He has studied with and taken master classes with leading composers including Sofia Gubaidulina, Giya Kancheli, Oliver Knussen, and Helmut Lachenmann. Mr. Astapov has received an award from SOCAN, the Canadian Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers.

Luca Lombardi’s Non requiescat – Musica in memoria di Hanns Eisler was composed in 1973 for the Como Musical Autumn Festival and premiered by Roger Norrington. The revised version on the April 12th concert was premiered at the Witten, Germany festival of new chamber music in April 1974. The New Juilliard Ensemble performs the New York premiere of the work. Mr. Lombardi was living in East Berlin, when he started the work, as a guest of the Academy of Arts of the German Democratic Republic. He was doing research there in preparation of a dissertation on Hanns Eisler and also studying with Paul Dessau.

The New Juilliard Ensemble performs the world premiere of Mr. Lombardi’s recent work, Welcome and Farewell, composed for the Ensemble. The composer began thinking of the piece during Rosh Hashana (mid-September 2012, the beginning of the year 5772, according to the Jewish calendar) and completed it after the death of the German composer Hans Werner Henze, a friend and a neighbor in Marino, near Rome (October 27, 2012).

Mr. Lombardi has composed some 160 works, including four operas, music for orchestra, chamber music, and instrumental solos. His music is published by Schirmer, Moeck, Suvini-Zerboni, Ricordi, and most recently RAITrade, and has been recorded on Caprice, Ricordi, Berlin Classic, VEB Deutsche Schallplatten, Aulos, Cadenza, Ambitus, and other labels. He is a member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin, and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.

Laura Elise Schwendinger’s Sinfonietta has its world premiere performance on this concert. The title refers to the length of the work, Sinfonietta, which is a short or simple symphony. The Sinfonietta is just under 13 minutes and in three movements.

The first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize Fellowship, Ms. Schwendinger is Professor of Composition at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and artistic director of its Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. She grew up in the Bay Area and returned there to do graduate work in composition with Andrew Imbrie and Olly Wilson at UC Berkeley, where she received her Ph.D. Her music has been performed by leading artists, including Dawn Upshaw, the Arditti and JACK quartets, Jennifer Koh, Janine Jansen, Matt Haimovitz, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, Collage New Music, the Stony Brook Premiere Series, Contempo, Boston Musica Viva, Aspen Ensemble, Theater Chamber Players (Washington), the Trinity Choir, American Composers Orchestra, and Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra (Hungary). A CD of her chamber works will be released by Centaur.

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 nearing completion of its 20th 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.

The New Juilliard Ensemble has made its mark through tour performances. Abroad, it has been ensemble-in-residence at the International Seminars for Young Composers, held near Warsaw by the Polish Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music, and at the Moscow Conservatory, where it performed American music and compositions by students and faculty of that institution. In 1998, the Ensemble presented a concert in Jerusalem as part of an international symposium on teaching composition at the century’s end. In May 2001, it gave two concerts at the Leipzig Conservatory in a festival marking the consecration of the school’s new concert hall. November 2002 found the Ensemble in Dijon, France at Festival Why Note. In October 2004, a group of New Juilliard Ensemble players and their counterparts from the Manson Ensemble of London’s Royal Academy of Music joined to perform works by three composition students from each school. The concerts took place in New York and London. In 2008, 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 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 and opened the FOCUS! 2011 festival, Polish Modern: New Directions in Polish Music Since 1945. The New Juilliard Ensemble closed the FOCUS! 2012 festival, Sounds Re-Imagined: John Cage at 100. In January 2013, the New Juilliard Ensemble opened the FOCUS! 2013 festival, The British Renaissance: British Music Since World War II.

The New Juilliard Ensemble’s 21st season opens on Sunday, September 29 in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The concert is part of a celebration of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s bicentennial and will include the American premieres of works by Judith Weir (Scotland) and Magnus Lindberg (Finland), commissioned by the Society.

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). He will be conducting the Mongolian State Philharmonic Orchestra in Ulaan Baatar on March 29, and in June returns to Saõ Paulo to conduct Camerata Aberta in a program of music by women from around the world.

Mr. Sachs’ recordings appear on the Advance, CRI, Naxos, New Albion, Nonesuch, and TNC labels. A CD of music of the Americas with La Camerata de las Americas (Mexico City) was released by Dorian.

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 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 a medal from the Warsaw Autumn Festival and the national arts medal Gloria Artis from the Ministry of Culture for his service to Polish music. # # #

Friday, April 12, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall New Juilliard Ensemble Joel Sachs, conductor Five World Premieres Composed for the New Juilliard Ensemble

MOHAMMED FAIROUZ (U.S.) Mighty Triborough (2013)* DAVID HERTZBERG (U.S.) femminina, oscura (2013)* EUGENE ASTAPOV (USSR/Canada) Myths of Ancient Bosphorus (2013)* LUCA LOMBARDI (Italy/Israel) Non requiescat – Musica in memoria di Hanns Eisler (1973)** LUCA LOMBARDI (Italy/Israel) Welcome and Farewell (2012)* LAURA ELISE SCHWENDINGER (U.S.) Sinfonietta (2013)*

*World premiere, Composed for the New Juilliard Ensemble **New York premiere

FREE tickets will be available beginning March 29 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to events.juilliard.edu.

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