Juilliard and the Sibelius Academy Collaborate on AXIOM Concert Featuring Music by American and Finnish Composers, Led by Susanna Malkki, on Thursday, March 28 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall


Program Features Works by Elliott Carter, Anthony Cheung, Veli-Matti Puumala, Sean Shepherd, and Jukka Tiensuu

Start Date

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Press Release Images

Susanna Malkki (Photo by Simon Fowler)
Susanna Malkki (Photo by Simon Fowler)
AXIOM (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito)
AXIOM (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito)


Juilliard and guest musicians from the Sibelius Academy collaborate on an AXIOM concert featuring music by American and Finnish composers on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. AXIOM, Juilliard’s critically-acclaimed contemporary music ensemble specializing in the 20th century’s ‘classic’ repertoire, welcomes guest conductor Susanna Mälkki, music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, for this special concert. The March 28th concert in Alice Tully Hall brings together 14 musicians from the Sibelius Academy and 18 musicians from Juilliard. In August, 13 Juilliard musicians will travel to Helsinki to join 19 Sibelius Academy musicians for a repeat concert at the Helsinki Festival, the largest celebration of the arts in Finland. The AXIOM concert in Helsinki takes place on August 24, 2013.

The program features Juilliard alumnus Sean Shepherd’s Blur (2011); Veli-Matti Puumala’s Mure (2008); Elliott Carter’s Asko Concerto (1999-2000); Juilliard alumnus Jukka Tiensuu’s Mood (1999); and Anthony Cheung’s Dystemporal (2012). Mr. Carter, who passed away on November 5, 2012 was a longtime member of Juilliard’s composition faculty (from 1966 to 1984).

FREE Tickets will be available beginning March 14 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard, located in the lobby of the School at 155 West 65th Street. 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.

Sean Shepherd’s Blur (2011) was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain who gave the first performance of the work at Cité de la musique in Paris on January 10, 2012, led by conductor Susanna Mälkki. The 12-minute work is scored for 22 instrumentalists and is only Mr. Shepherd’s second major work for large ensemble. He writes: “Blur is meant as a kind of romp: ebullient, frenetic, insistent, and joyful.”  Born in Reno, Nevada and residing in New York City, Mr. Shepherd received his master of music degree from Juilliard, where he studied with composer Robert Beaser, and did his doctoral work at Cornell University with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky. He also holds degrees in composition and bassoon performance from Indiana University. Active as a writer on music, his commentary has appeared in Playbill, on WQXR’s Q2 online blog, and on the NewMusicBox Web site. Mr. Shepherd’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

Veli-Matti Puumala’s Mure (2008) was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and is dedicated to Susanna Mälkki. The work had its world premiere with the Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Ms. Mälkki, at Donaueschingen Music Days on October 18, 2008. Mr. Puumala studied composition with Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy from 1984 to 1993. His music is often performed in Scandinavia and around Europe. In 2005, he was appointed professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy.

Elliott Carter’s Asko Concerto (1999-2000) had its world premiere performance on April 26, 2000 at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with the Asko Ensemble, led by Oliver Knussen. Mr. Carter writes in his program notes: “My Asko Concerto for sixteen players features each one of them participating in one of the following groups – two trios, two duos, a quintet, or a solo. These six sections are framed by the entire group playing together. Although the music is in lighthearted mood, each soloistic section approaches ensemble playing in a different spirit.” The work was dedicated to the Asko Ensemble NL, and commissioned by the Eduard van Beinum Foundation, Hilversum, The Netherlands.

Jukka Tiensuu’s Mood (1999) had its premiere on January 26, 2000. Mr. Tiensuu pursued musical studies at the Sibelius Academy, The Juilliard School, and the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik, working with Paavo Heininen, Klaus Huber, and Brian Ferneyhough. Not only a prolific composer over the widest range of musical media, he is an eminent harpsichordist, a conductor, and a pianist, as well. He has been director of the Helsinki Biennale. Mr. Tiensuu was co-founder of the Time of Music Festivals in Viitasaari, Finland.

Anthony Cheung’s Dystemporal (2012) was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and had its first performance on October 4, 2012 by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Mr. Cheung’s writes: “The title Dystemporal refers to the disorienting and distorted way in which time is manipulated and perceived in the work.” The work is scored for 23 musicians and is 16 minutes long. Composer and pianist Anthony Cheung is a recipient of the 2012-13 Rome Prize in Musical Composition and is spending the year in residence at the American Academy of Rome.

The New York Philharmonic recently named Mr. Cheung a co-recipient of the inaugural Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, at the request of Henri Dutilleux, for which he will write a new work for the orchestra. As a performer and advocate for new music, he is co-founder, artistic director, and pianist of the Talea Ensemble in New York. He graduated with a joint degree in Music and History from Harvard University in 2004 and obtained his doctorate from Columbia University in 2010. At Columbia, Mr. Cheung taught in the Core Curriculum and the Music Department, and was assistant conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra.

The Juilliard/Sibelius Academy project has been generously supported by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.

About Susanna Mälkki

A much sought-after artist on the international conducting circuit, Susanna Mälkki’s versatility and broad repertoire have taken her to symphony orchestras, contemporary music ensembles, and opera houses throughout the world. She is currently music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, having previously been artistic director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.

Recent highlights have included debuts with the Chicago and San Francisco symphony orchestras, as well as returns to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (at the Holland Festival), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mostly Mozart festival in New York, and appearances with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Gulbenkian Orchestra, and the Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Gothenburg, Swedish Radio, and Finnish Radio symphony orchestras. She returned to the 2012 BBC Proms to conduct the Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she works regularly.

In April 2011, Ms. Mälkki made her debut at La Scala, Milan – the first woman to do so in the opera house’s prestigious history – and has already been invited to return in January 2014. She made her debut with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in August 2004 with an all-Birtwistle program at the Lucerne Festival; the concert was the catalyst for her appointment as music director in 2006.

A former student at the Sibelius Academy, Ms. Mälkki studied with Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. Prior to her conducting studies, she had a successful career as a cellist, and from 1995 to 1998, she was one of the principals of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. In June 2010, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and she is also a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2001, Ms. Mälkki was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland, one of Finland’s highest honors.


One of the newest additions to Juilliard’s roster of performing ensembles is AXIOM. Led by music director Jeffrey Milarsky, AXIOM 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 rapidly 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 (recently renamed the Center for Innovation in the Arts) highlight the variety of the ensemble’s groundbreaking activities.

This season, AXIOM performed Oliver Knussen’s Coursing, Op. 17 (1979) Charles Wuorinen’s Cyclops 2000, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1 (1906) on its October 12 concert in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater; and Toru Takemitsu’s Archipelago S (1993) and John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music (1982) on its December 10 concert in Alice Tully Hall.

In the 2011-2012 season, AXIOM presented a three-concert series which featured a world premiere of American composer Elliott Carter’s Three Explorations (2011) drawn from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, and works by Babbitt, Birtwistle, Boulez, Grisey, and Lindberg. AXIOM also gave a performance of Wolfgang Rihm’s rarely-performed work, Jagden und Formen (Hunts and Forms).

Highlights from the 2010-2011 season include a three-concert series focusing on the music of Steve Reich and Magnus Lindberg with a final concert featuring Morton Feldman’s monumental Rothko Chapel -- his take on abstract expressionist painting that is also a eulogy to his friend Mark Rothko, presented by Lincoln Center as part of their inaugural Tully Scope festival.

In the 2009-2010 season, AXIOM presented three concerts at Juilliard and a program of pieces for smaller ensemble performed at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The ensemble performed works by Davidovsky, Ligeti, and Birtwistle in October 2009, an all-John Adams program in December 2009, and performed works by Finnish composers Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho in February 2010.

About the Sibelius Academy

The Sibelius Academy, founded in 1882 and since 2013 part of the University of Arts Finland, is responsible for providing the highest level of music education in Finland. The Academy trains artists skilled in independent artistic work, teachers, and other music professionals thereby developing the Finnish music culture and fostering music tradition. Approximately 90% of the university budget is funded by public means.

The Sibelius Academy is divided into two faculties, one for classical music and one for jazz, folk music, and music pedagogy. There are about 1,400 bachelor and master students in the Academy, and annually, around 170 new bachelor- and master-level students are admitted. More than a thousand students apply to the Academy each year, approximately 10% foreign students.

In addition to the Master of Music degree, licentiate and doctoral degrees are offered at the Academy. In comparison to multidisciplinary universities, doctoral studies in the art field are quite recent – the first Doctor of Music degrees were completed in 1990.

The Sibelius Academy also provides junior and adult education. The junior education brings musically gifted school children and young people from all over Finland to high-level music education. The Sibelius Academy Continuing Education is responsible for adult and updating professional education in music culture.

The Sibelius Academy annually presents some six hundred concerts in its four halls in the brand new Helsinki Music Centre. They comprise a significant part of the public concert life of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.




Thursday, March 28, 2013, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall


Susanna Mälkki, guest conductor

The Juilliard School and the Sibelius Academy collaborate on a special AXIOM concert featuring music by American and Finnish composers.



ELLIOTT CARTER Asko Concerto (1999-2000)


ANTHONY CHEUNG Dystemporal (2012)

FREE tickets will be available beginning March 14 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard, located in the lobby of the School at 155 West 65th Street. 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.