AXIOM Premieres Elliott Carter's "Three Explorations"


Conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky, AXIOM Performs the World Premiere of Elliott Carter's "Three Explorations" Plus Works by Babbitt and Boulez on Monday, December 12 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall

Start Date

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Press Release Images

AXIOM and conductor Jeffrey Milarsky and baritone Evan Hughes by Nan Melville
AXIOM and conductor Jeffrey Milarsky and baritone Evan Hughes by Nan Melville


AXIOM, conducted by Music Director Jeffrey Milarsky, performs the world premiere of Elliott Carter’s Three Explorations(2011), drawn from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, with guest artist, bass-baritone Evan Hughes; Milton Babbitt’s All Set (1957), andPierre Boulez’s Sur Incises (1996/1998) on Monday, December 12 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall.

FREE tickets to AXIOM’s December 12 concert will be available beginning November 28 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 towww.juilliard.edu.

“The concert is about contemporaries,” remarked AXIOM Music Director Jeffrey Milarsky. “Pierre Boulez and Elliott Carter share a special bond. Both have dedicated works to one another, and Boulez has surely conducted masterfully many of Carter’s masterpieces.”

Elliott Carter’ Three Explorations (2011) is drawn from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. The work is for solo baritone, winds and brass and is in three movements: “The River”, “Time and the Bell”, and “The Fire and the Rose.”  Mr. Carter writes this note about the new work: “Throughout my life I have been a great admirer of T.S. Eliot’s poetry and criticism. So when I decided to set some of his work I chose his late poems and parts of his Four Quartets. The texts being meditative I decided to use winds and brass to accompany the bass baritone. I remembered a work of similar character and instrumentation by the 16th century composer Heinrich Schütz which impressed me greatly.” Three Explorations was composed in the fall of 2010.

Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, first composer to receive the United States National Medal of Arts, one of the few composers ever awarded Germany’s Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize, and in 1988 made Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France, Elliott Carter is internationally recognized as one of the leading American voices of the classical music tradition. Of his creative output exceeding 130 works, Carter composed more than 40 pieces in the past decade alone. Mr. Carter turns 103 in December 2011.

Milton Babbitt’s All Set (1957) is scored for a small jazz ensemble. While written in the jazz idiom, the work utilizes an all-combinatorial 12-tone row as its material.

Milton Babbitt was one of the most influential composers and music theorists of the 20th century. He passed away on January 29, 2011 in Princeton, New Jersey where he had resided for many years. He was a member of the Juilliard composition faculty from 1971 to 2008 and remained an emeritus faculty member. Born on May 10, 1916 in Philadelphia, Milton Babbitt grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. He began playing the violin at age 4, and when he was 16, he became interested in serialism and Arnold Schoenberg’s music, which became a major influence on his work as a composer. Mr. Babbitt received his bachelor’s degree from NYU, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University where he was on the faculty from 1938 to 1984 and remained an emeritus professor of composition. Mr. Babbitt received a special Pulitzer citation in 1982; he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1986. 

Pierre Boulez’s 40-minute work, Sur Incises (1996/1998), is scored for three pianos, three harps, and three percussionists. Mr. Boulez received the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in 2001 for the work, which had its premiere on August 8, 1998 by the Ensemble Intercontemporain at the Edinburgh International Festival. It received its U.S. premiere in September 1998 by the New Juilliard Ensemble. 

As a composer, conductor and teacher, Pierre Boulez has made a decisive contribution to the development of music in the 20th century and inspired generations of young musicians with his pioneering spirit. He has served as music director of the New York Philharmonic, chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Chicago and Cleveland symphony orchestras. From 1977 to 1992, he served as director of the Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique, an experimental music research center he had founded in 1974 in Paris. He is the founder and president of the Ensemble Intercontemporain and co-founder of the music center, Cité de la musique, in Paris. His recordings have earned him a total of 26 Grammys and vast numbers of other prestigious awards.

AXIOM’s last concert in its three-concert series takes place on Friday, February 17 at 8 PM in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theaterand features Wolfgang Rihm’s Jagden und Formen (1995-2001).


One of Juilliard’s newest ensembles, AXIOM, led by Music Director Jeffrey Milarsky, is dedicated to performing the masterworks of the 20th- and 21st-century repertoire.  Since its debut in Avery Fisher Hall in February 2006, the group has 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. Recent collaborations with student artists from Juilliard Dance and Juilliard’s Music Technology Center highlight the variety of the ensemble’s groundbreaking activities. In the 2009-2010 season, AXIOM presented three concerts at Juilliard and programs featuring smaller ensembles at (Le) Poisson Rouge. In 2009-2010, AXIOM performed works by Davidovsky, Ligeti, and Birtwistle in October; an all-John Adams program in December; and performed works by Finnish composers Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho in February. In the 2008-2009 season, AXIOM presented a tribute to Luciano Berio, a concert of Olivier Messiaen’s music, and a concert of works by John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, and Steve Reich.

About Jeffrey Milarsky

Jeffrey Milarsky is a leading conductor of contemporary music in New York City, a member of Juilliard’s conducting department and music director for AXIOM. Known for his innovative programming and wide-ranging repertoire from Bach to Xenakis, Mr. Milarsky has premiered and recorded works worldwide by contemporary composers, and led such accomplished groups as the American Composers Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble, the Milwaukee Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York New Music Ensemble, Manhattan Sinfonietta, Speculum Musicae, Cygnus Ensemble, Fromm Players at Harvard University, and the New York Philharmonic chamber music series.

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

Mr. Milarsky made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in October 2010 and with the New York City Opera during the 2008-2009 season.

About Evan Hughes

American bass-baritone Evan Hughes has been praised for his “appealing clarity and emotional heft” (The New York Times) and his “burnished tone” (Opera News). Possessing a passion for both opera and 21st-century works, Mr. Hughes can be heard this season with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Matthias Pintscher’s Songs from Solomon’s Garden. He will sing Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Grand Rapids and make his Alice Tully Hall debut in the new work by Elliott Carter on this concert. Last season, Mr. Hughes performed Elliott Carter’s Syringa with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble, conducted by James Levine at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Hughes is a member of the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, where he will make his debut this season as Macbeth’s Servant in Verdi’s Macbeth and as Aronte in the Met/Juilliard co-production of Gluck’sArmide.

 AXIOM - 2011-2012 Calendar of Events

 Monday, December 12, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Evan Hughes, bass-baritone

Milton Babbitt – All Set (1957)

Elliott Carter – Three Explorations (2011, world premiere)

Pierre Boulez – Sur Incises (1998)

FREE tickets to AXIOM’s December 12 concert will be available beginning November 28 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. 

 Friday, February 17, 8 PM, Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Wolfgang Rihm – Jagden und Formen (1995-2001) 

FREE tickets to this event will be available at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard beginning February 3. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.