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The Juilliard Orchestra performs its annual Commencement Concert featuring graduating Juilliard musicians (Class of 2010) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. The program features the world premiere of Juilliard composer Niccolo Athens' March Militaire and Berceuse; Rossini's Overture to La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie); Dvořák's Concerto for Cello in B Minor, Op. 104, B. 191 with Juilliard cellist Michael Katz; and Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra. The School's Director of Orchestral Studies, James DePreist, conducts. As is traditional, Juilliard holds its 105th Commencement Ceremony the following morning on Friday, May 21 at 11 AM in Alice Tully Hall.
All tickets for this FREE May 20th 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.
The Juilliard Orchestra opens the program with the overture to Rossini's two-act opera, La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie). The opera was first performed on May 31, 1817 at La Scala in Milan.
Juilliard cellist Michael Katz, winner of the School's concerto competition, is soloist for a performance of Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104, B. 191. The Cello Concerto was composed at the end of Dvořák's three-year term (1892-95) as director of the National Conservatory in New York. While the Cello Concerto (1894-1895) was written for the composer's friend, cellist Hanus Wihan, it ended up being premiered by English cellist Leo Stern.
Juilliard composer Niccolo Athens chose to set two poems of Walt Whitman for his world premiere two-part work, March Militaire and Berceuse, because he thought they would make an expressively contrasting pair. In his notes, he says: "This first [song], Ah Poverties, Wincings, and Sulky Retreats, deals with the frustrations and hypocrisies of life. The setting is declamatory, and has the character of a disjunct march that is riddled with percussive interjections.
The poem ends with a vision of future triumph over these adversities, but it feels to me uncertain, and my setting reflects this." Mr. Athens continues: "The second song, Reconciliation, is more unified in tone, and has the character of a berceuse or lullaby. This is eerily appropriate because this well-known poem depicts a soldier standing before his slain enemy, who is now forever at rest. In amazingly few words, it embodies both terrible grief and profound peace. Because of the brevity, the orchestra carries much of the expressive weight." Alumna soprano Meagan Miller is soloist with the Orchestra.
Mr. Athens is completing his final year at Juilliard in the bachelor of music program where he studies with Samuel Adler. He is the recipient of a BMI student composer award in 2009 (and in 2006) and in 2007, he received the prize in the emerging artist category of the American Art Song Competition for Composers. He attended the Aspen Music Festival in 2008, where he studied with George Tsontakis. During the summer of 2009, he studied composition at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau and attended the Staunton Music Festival in Virginia, which commissioned him to write a song cycle. He also has scored the broadcast station Ids for WNET Channel 13 and WLIW Channel 21 in New York. Mr. Athens was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he began his studies in viola and composition.
The concert concludes with Witold Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra (1954) composed at the suggestion of Witold Rowicki, artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic, to celebrate the orchestra's rebirth after the devasting years of the German occupation. The work, which took the composer four years to write, contains many references to Polish folk melodies. It is in three movements: Intrada; Capriccio notturno ed arioso; and Passacaglia, toccata e corale.
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.
Mr. DePreist appeared with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra December 8-20, 2009, and appeared with the Phoenix Symphony in February 2010. He returns to the Aspen Music Festival in August 2010.
In 2008-2009, James DePreist made an appearance with the Seoul Philharmonic in October. Other engagements included the Oregon Symphony in April and the Seattle Symphony in May. He 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 have 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.
Israeli cellist Michael Katz currently is a student in the master of music program, studying with Joel Krosnick. He has appeared as a soloist and as a chamber musician in various concerts and festivals in North America, Europe, and Israel. He presented a recital in Bergen, Netherlands as part of the prestigious Holland Music Sessions. Mr. Katz has performed at the Orford, the Kfar Bloom, the Sarasota and the Gustav Mahler Festivals. He also presented recitals in Tel Aviv at the Felicia Blumenthal Hall, in Boston at the New England Conservatory, and at Juilliard. In 2005, he performed the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestra du Conservatoire Superieur de Paris, conducted by David Stern. That same year, he performed the Haydn Concerto in D Major with the Thelma Yellin Symphony Orchestra.
A recipient of the Israeli American Cultural Foundation scholarship, Mr. Katz also won first prizes in the Israeli Conservatory Scholarship Competition and the Turjeman Competition. He participated in chamber music festivals such as Steans Institute for Young Artists and the Perlman Music Program. He is a member of Mimesis Ensemble, a New York-based contemporary music ensemble.
Mr. Katz was born in Tel Aviv and began playing the cello at age 7. Among his teachers in Israel were Juilliard alumnus Zvi Plesser, Hillel Zori, and the late Mikhail Khomitzer. He received his bachelor of music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Laurence Lesser.
Soprano Megan Miller made her European operatic debut at the Vienna Volksoper as Ariadne in a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos in June 2009. This debut has opened a new facet in Ms. Miller's career: the leading ladies of the Mozart/Strauss/Wagner repertory in important opera houses and concert halls all over the world. Future seasons take Ms. Miller to Leipzig, Hamburg, Tokyo, Berlin, Amsterdam, Italy, as well as performances in the United States. An accomplished recitalist and noted interpreter of new music, Ms. Miller has appeared in more than thirty professional recitals at such notable venues as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie's Weill and Zankel Halls, the Morgan Library, Merkin Concert Hall, and others. Recent orchestral engagements have taken her to such venues as Hong Kong's Cultural Center, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Rotterdam's De Doelen, the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, among others. She was a grand finals winner of the 1999 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
JUILLIARD ORCHESTRA PERFORMANCES - 2009-2010 SEASON
Friday, April 30, 8 PM
Alice Tully Hall
Xian Zhang, Conductor
Augusta Read Thomas - Jubilee (world premiere, commissioned by The Juilliard School)
Sibelius - Symphony No. 2
LIMITED FREE tickets available beginning April 16 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.
Thursday, May 20, 8 PM
Alice Tully Hall - Commencement Concert
James DePreist, Conductor
Meagan Miller, Soprano
Michael Katz, Cellist
Rossini - Overture to La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie)
Dvořák - Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104, B. 191
Niccolo Athens - March Militaire and Berceuse
Witold Lutoslawski - Concerto for Orchestra
All tickets for this FREE May 20 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.