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Juilliard's Annual Commencement Concert Featuring the Class of 2011 Takes Place on Thursday, May 19 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall

Press Release Images

James DePreist by Richard Termine
James DePreist by Richard Termine
Josef Spacek
Josef Spacek

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The Juilliard School presents its annual Commencement Concert featuring the Class of 2011 on Thursday, May 19 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. Conductor James DePreist leads the Juilliard Orchestra in Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 (1878) with Juilliard violinist Josef Špaček and Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, “Organ Symphony” (1886) with Juilliard organist Isabelle Demers. Mr. Špaček, a native of the Czech Republic, is a student of Itzhak Perlman and will be receiving his master of music degree in May. He was also recently appointed concertmaster of the renowned Czech Philharmonic and will begin his appointment in September 2011. Ms. Demers, a native of Québec, holds a master of music degree from Juilliard and is completing her doctoral studies with Paul Jacobs.

As is traditional, Juilliard holds its 106th Commencement Ceremony the following morning on Friday, May 20 at 11 AM in Alice Tully Hall.

All tickets for this FREE May 19th Juilliard Orchestra concert have been distributed, but a standby line forms one hour prior to curtain (at 7 PM). Audience members without tickets are admitted just before the start of the concert to fill the remaining seats. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.

Johannes Brahms and Hungarian violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim met in 1853 and immediately became friends. When Brahms began working on his violin concerto, he consulted with Joachim for technical help. The work was dedicated to Joachim. Brahms conducted the Gewandhaus Orchestra with Joachim as the soloist for the premiere in 1879 in Leipzig.

Camille Saint-Saëns was encouraged as a composer by Franz Liszt and like Liszt, was a virtuoso performer on both the piano and the organ. Saint-Saëns was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London to compose his Symphony No. 3. The organ was so prominent in the work that it was referred to as the “Organ Symphony.” The work was dedicated to Liszt, but Liszt was unable to attend the premiere, which was given in St. James’ Hall, London, with the composer conducting. Liszt died ten weeks later.    

James DePreist is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at Juilliard and is Laureate Music Director of the Oregon Symphony. He served as Permanent Conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra from 2005 until 2008. As a guest conductor, Mr. DePreist has appeared with every major North American orchestra, and internationally, he has conducted in Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Manchester, Melbourne, Munich, Prague, Rome, Rotterdam, Seoul, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Vienna. He made his London debut with the London Symphony at the Barbican Centre in April 2005. Last season, Mr. DePreist appeared with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra on December 8-20, 2009, and appeared with the Phoenix Symphony in February 2010. He returned to the Aspen Music Festival in August 2010. Mr. DePreist appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival, with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center, and the Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

With more than 50 recordings to his credit, Mr. DePreist has a substantial discography. His varied recorded repertoire includes a celebrated Shostakovich series with the Helsinki Philharmonic and 15 recordings with the Oregon Symphony which helped establish that orchestra as first rank.

Mr. DePreist has been awarded 13 honorary doctorates and is the author of two books of poetry. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and is a recipient of the Insignia of Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland, the Medal of the City of Québec and is an Officer of the Order of Cultural Merit of Monaco. In 2005, James DePreist was presented with the Presidential National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence. In fall 2009, he conducted at the Mark Twain Awards in Washington, D.C., at the request of Bill Cosby who was being honored. The show was broadcast on PBS.

Twenty-four-year-old Josef Špaček ranks among the foremost representatives of today’s young violin generation. From an early age, Mr. Špaček has performed at many major concerts and festivals throughout his native Czech Republic and abroad in Germany, France, Great Britain, Poland, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, China, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States. The winner of numerous national and international competitions, Mr. Špaček won the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in June 2009, and third prize and the Young People’s Jury Prize in the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in 2008. Most recently, he was appointed concertmaster of the renowned Czech Philharmonic. He will take up the position in September 2011.

As a soloist, Mr. Špaček has appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, the Czech Chamber Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, the Russian Chamber Philharmonic, and many others.

A regular at music festivals, he has performed at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Bohuslav Martinu Festival, and at the Moravian Autumn Music Festival. He is a devoted chamber musician and has performed with various ensembles throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.

He released his debut CD featuring the complete Ysaye sonatas for solo violin in August 2006. In 2007, he released a CD for the Japanese media company, NHK, and subsequently toured Japan with the Prague Beethoven Trio. His next recording, scheduled for release by NAXOS in 2011, will feature the works of H.W. Ernst.

He graduated from Curtis Institute of Music in 2009, where he studied with violinists Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, and Shmuel Ashkenasi. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Fritz Kreisler Award, which is periodically given to especially outstanding violinists. From 2002-2006, he studied at the Prague Conservatory under the tutelage of Jaroslav Foltýn. Currently, he is in the master of music degree program at Juilliard where he studies with Itzhak Perlman.

A native of Québec, Isabelle Demers is rapidly becoming recognized as one of North America’s most virtuosic organists. She began piano study at age six and at age 11 began piano and organ study at the Montréal Conservatory of Music. After graduation in 2003, she studied on scholarship for a year in Paris at the École Normale de Paris-Alfred Cortot.

Ms. Demers was a featured artist at the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Washington, D.C. She recently was awarded a grant from the Theodore Presser Foundation to finance a recording project of Max Reger’s seven Choral Fantasies. She received her master of music degree from Juilliard, where she is currently completing doctoral studies with Paul Jacobs.

FOR LISTINGS:

Thursday, May 19, 8 PM

Alice Tully Hall - Commencement Concert

James DePreist, Conductor

Josef Špaček, Violin

Isabelle Demers, Organ

Johannes Brahms – Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77

Camille Saint-Saëns – Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, “Organ Symphony”

All tickets for this FREE May 19th Juilliard Orchestra concert have been distributed, and there is standby admission only. The standby line forms one hour prior to curtain (at 7 PM). Audience members without tickets are admitted just before the start of the concert to fill the remaining seats. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.