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FOCUS! 2014 Presents "Alfred Schnittke's World," Six Free Concerts January 24 - 31, 2014

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Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of Alfred Schnittke's Birth with Music by Schnittke and His Circle of Composers, Sofia Gubaidulina, Giya Kancheli, Arvo Part, and Valentin Silvestrov

Start Date

Monday, December 16, 2013

Press Release Images

Alfred Schnittke (right) with Giya Kancheli in an undated photograph by Kancheli's wife (Photo by Lula Kancheli)
Alfred Schnittke (right) with Giya Kancheli in an undated photograph by Kancheli's wife (Photo by Lula Kancheli)
Sofia Gubaidulina (Photo Courtesy of the Japan Art Association/The Sankei Shimbun)
Sofia Gubaidulina (Photo Courtesy of the Japan Art Association/The Sankei Shimbun)
Arvo Part (circa 2013) (c. Universal Edition/Eric Marinitsch)
Arvo Part (circa 2013) (c. Universal Edition/Eric Marinitsch)
Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito)
Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito)
Anne Manson (Photo by Dario Acosta)
Anne Manson (Photo by Dario Acosta)

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FOCUS! 2014, Juilliard’s 30th annual mid-winter festival presents Alfred Schnittke’s World with six free concerts from Friday, January 24 through Friday, January 31, 2014 in Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The festival commemorates what would have been the 80th birthday of Russian composer Alfred Schnittke (born November 24, 1934), who died in 1998 at age 64. The festival features works by Schnittke and his circle of composers, Sofia Gubaidulina, Giya Kancheli, Arvo Pärt, and Valentin Silvestrov. The opening concert on Friday, January 24 features the New Juilliard Ensemble, conducted by Joel Sachs, in the world premiere of the new version of Arvo Pärt’s La Sindone (2005, rev. 2013) for strings, brass, and percussion. The program also features Giya Kancheli’s Daytime Prayers (1990), for clarinet, boy soprano, and chamber orchestra; and Schnittke’s Symphony No. 4 (1984). From January 27 through January 30, there will be chamber and solo concerts, and the January 28 program features a pre-concert panel discussion at 7 PM. The closing concert on Friday, January 31 will be performed by the Juilliard Orchestra, conducted by Anne Manson, and features Sofia Gubaidulina’s Fairytale Poem (Märchenpoem) (1971, New York premiere); Giya Kancheli’s And farewell goes out sighing…(1999), for countertenor, violin, and orchestra; and Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 8 (U.S. premiere).

On programming this year’s FOCUS! festival, Joel Sachs remarked: “Devoting a FOCUS! festival to Alfred Schnittke has been on my mind since I saw an announcement of a commemoration of his 75th year at London’s Southbank Centre, a grand event that also included symposia and films with his scores. A festival at Juilliard, however, has special significance because the School owns many of Schnittke’s manuscripts in its Juilliard Manuscript Collection. To give our students broad experience in the festival, it made sense to include compositions by Schnittke’s closest friends and associates. After discussions with several people who knew him well, we narrowed it down to these superb colleagues – Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, and Valentin Silvestrov.”

FREE tickets to all concerts will be available January 10 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/focus2014.

The festival opens on Friday, January 24 at 8 PM in The Peter Jay Sharp Theater with the New Juilliard Ensemble, led by Joel Sachs. The program features the world premiere of the new version of Arvo Pärt’s La Sindone (2005, rev. 2013), for strings, brass, and percussion. The program also features Giya Kancheli’s Daytime Prayers (1990), for clarinet, boy soprano, and chamber orchestra; and Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 4 (1984).

The program on Monday, January 27 at 8 PM in The Peter Jay Sharp Theater features chamber works and includes Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, version for string quartet (1979/1989) and his Summa (1977/1991) also for string quartet; Sofia Gubaidulina’s Duo Sonata for Two Bassoons (1977); Alfred Schnittke’s Schall und Hall (1983), for trombone and organ; Giya Kancheli’s Chiaroscuro (2010), for string quartet; and Alfred Schnittke’s Epilogue (1993), adapted from his ballet score for Peer Gynt (1986), for cello, piano, and recorded sound.

A pre-concert discussion takes place on Tuesday, January 28 at 7 PM and will look at Alfred Schnittke’s world. Joel Sachs will moderate the panel, which includes Laura Fay, musicologist and advisor to G. Schirmer Inc. on Soviet and post-Soviet composers; Hans-Ulrich Duffek, director of Hans Sikorski Verlag, the Hamburg publisher of Schnittke, Gubaidulina, and Kancheli; distinguished pianist Vladimir Feltsman; and Eleanor Sutter, U.S. Foreign Service (retired). The concert at 8 PM in The Peter Jay Sharp Theater includes Valentin Silvestrov’s Epitaph (L.B.) (1999), for viola and piano; Alfred Schnittke’s 5 Aphorisms (1990), for piano; Sofia Gubaidulina’s In Croce, for cello and organ (1979); Arvo Pärt’s For Alina (1976), For Anna Maria (2006),  and Variations for the Recuperation of Arinushka (1977), for piano; Giya Kancheli’s Caris mere (1994), for soprano and viola; and Alfred Schnittke’s Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano, “Quasi una Sonata” (1968).

The program on Wednesday, January 29 at 8 PM in The Peter Jay Sharp Theater features Alfred Schnittke’s Serenade (1968), for quintet; Giya Kancheli’s Time…and again (1996), for violin and piano; Sofia Gubaidulina’s String Quartet No. 4 (1993); Arvo Pärt’s Annum per annum (1980), for organ; and Alfred Schnittke’s Piano Sonata No. 3 (1992).

Chamber music works are also featured on Thursday, January 30 at 8 PM in The Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The program includes Alfred Schnittke’s Homage to Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and Dmitri Shostakovich (1979), for one piano six-hands; Sofia Gubaidulina’s Trio for Three Trumpets (1976); Valentin Silvestrov’s Elegy (1976) and Hymn (2001), for piano; Arvo Pärt’s Es sang vor langen Jahren (1984), for countertenor and organ and Pärt’s My Heart’s in the Highlands (2000), for countertenor, violin, and viola; and Alfred Schnittke’s String Quartet No. 4 (1989).

FOCUS! 2014 concludes on Friday, January 31 at 8 PM in The Peter Jay Sharp Theater with conductor Anne Manson leading the Juilliard Orchestra in Sofia Gubaidulina’s Fairytale Poem (Märchenpoem) (1971, New York premiere); Giya Kancheli’s And farewell goes out sighing…(1999) with countertenor John Holiday and violinist Ken Hamao; and Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 8 (1993).

 

About Alfred Schnittke

(November 24, 1934 – August 3, 1998)

 

Alfred Schnittke was born on November 24, 1934 in Engels, on the Volga River in the former Soviet Union. Schnittke’s musical education began in Vienna in 1946, where his father, originally from Frankfurt/Main, worked for a newspaper for two years. A resident of Moscow from 1948 onwards, from 1953 to 1958 he studied composition and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory. He was influenced by Webern’s pupil Philipp Hershkovich, who lived in Moscow. After a three-year period as an “aspirant,” Schnittke taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1962 until 1972 and was thereafter a freelance composer. The composer moved his permanent residence to Hamburg in 1991, where he taught a composition class at the Music Academy.

Schnittke composed 9 symphonies, 6 concerti grossi, 4 violin concertos, 2 cello concertos, concertos for piano, and a triple concerto for violin, viola, and cello, as well as 4 string quartets, and much other chamber music, ballet scores, choral and vocal works, and film scores. His opera, Life with an Idiot premiered in Amsterdam in April 1992. His other two operas, Gesualdo and Historia von D. Johann Fausten premiered in Vienna in May 1995 and Hamburg June 1995 respectively.

From the 1980s, Schnittke’s music gained increasing exposure and international acclaim. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Austrian State Prize in 1991, Japan’s Imperial Prize in 1992, and the Slava-Gloria-Prize in Moscow in June 1998. His music has been celebrated with retrospectives and major festivals worldwide. More than 50 CDs devoted exclusively to his music have been released.

Afflicted by recurrent strokes during his final years, Schnittke died on August 3, 1998.

Meet the Artists

The New Juilliard Ensemble, led by founding director Joel Sachs, celebrates the liveliness of today’s music, focusing primarily on repertory of the last decade. Now in its 21st season, the New Juilliard Ensemble presents music by international composers writing in the most diverse styles. Its members are current students at Juilliard, all volunteers who are admitted to the ensemble by audition. The Ensemble takes its name from an unofficial student group of the 1960s that specialized in the performance of new music. It is modeled on new-music chamber orchestras common in Europe, such as Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, and London Sinfonietta, which have cultivated a repertory for chamber orchestra that is all too rarely performed in the United States. The New Juilliard Ensemble brings many of these works to New York, presents American compositions for similar ensembles, and has commissioned many pieces. Although its primary goal is to train performers, the Ensemble offers opportunities for students in Juilliard’s composition program through an annual audition from which one or two composers are selected to write for the group. Altogether, NJE has premiered nearly 100 compositions written for it by composers all over the world.

The Ensemble appears regularly at MoMA’s Summergarden and has been a featured ensemble four times at the Lincoln Center Festival. NJE has collaborated with Carnegie Hall on Voices from Latin America (2012) Japan/NYC (2011), and Ancient Paths, Modern Voices (2009) festivals. In 2008 New Juilliard Ensemble members joined members of the Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble with conductor Pierre Boulez for performances at the FOCUS! festival, which celebrated composer Elliott Carter’s 100th year, and at the Lucerne Festival. Over its history, the Ensemble has also performed in France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Poland, Russia, the U.K., and several locations outside New York, including the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. where it played aleatory music in conjunction with a Smithsonian exhibition of Persian and Turkish “divining” manuscripts.

In addition to playing very new music, the Ensemble also plays older works and 20th-century classics in the concerts that open the annual FOCUS! festival. In recent years those concerts explored the themes California: A Century of New Music (2009), which showcased West Coast composers; Music at the Center: Composing an American Mainstream (2010); Polish Modern: New Directions in Polish Music Since 1945 (2011); Sounds Re-Imagined: John Cage at 100 (2012); and The British Renaissance (2013) featuring British music since World War II with a tribute to the centenary of Benjamin Britten. It will open the 2014 festival, Alfred Schnittke’s World.

The NJE recording of Virko Baley’s Violin Concerto, with violinist Tom Chiu, can be found on the TNC label (www.TNCmusic.net). The repertory for a joint project with the Royal Academy of Music was recorded for the Academy’s own label.

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).

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 the national Gloria Artis medal of the Polish Government for his service to Polish music.

Known for its versatility and vitality, the Juilliard Orchestra performs to consistently full houses in almost a dozen New York City appearances each season, and as a strong partner to Juilliard’s operatic and dance performances. Led by a roster of esteemed guest conductors and distinguished faculty, the Juilliard Orchestra performs in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Avery Fisher halls, legendary Carnegie Hall, and the School’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Most orchestral evenings also feature a concerto performance by a Juilliard instrumentalist; major works for orchestra and voice are frequently programmed as well, and each season, one concert is dedicated to the performance of selected world premiere orchestral works submitted by Juilliard composers. The Juilliard Orchestra has toured across the United States, and to Europe, South America, and Asia, where they were the first Western conservatory ensemble allowed to visit and perform at the opening of the People's Republic of China in 1987, and returning two decades later, in 2008.

Anne Manson is music director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, with whom she has led two hugely successful tours with soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. She is conductor for, and one of three mentors (with Jake Heggie and Mark Campbell) for, Washington National Opera’s new American Opera Initiative. Ms. Manson has had successful appearances at Juilliard conducting the orchestra in FOCUS! festival concerts in 2004 and 2006 and in Orpheus in the Underworld in November 2006; a Juilliard Orchestra concert in October 2007; Ned Rorem’s Our Town in April 2008; Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites in April 2010; Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen! in November 2011; and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in April and May 2013. Her recording with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra of Philip Glass’ Third Symphony and piano concerto based on Glass’ Oscar-nominated soundtrack for The Hours was recently released on the Orange Mountain Music label. Their newest release, Troubadour and the Nightingale, features Ms. Bayrakdarian singing Ravel’s Kaddish and works of Serouj Kradjian. Ms. Manson came to prominence early in her career as music director of London’s Mecklenburgh Opera (from 1988 to 1996), programming operas ranging from Mozart to 20th-century rarities and new commissions. She was also the first woman to conduct at the Salzburg Festival – where she led the Vienna Philharmonic in Boris Godunov in 1994 – and served as music director of the Kansas City Symphony from 1999-2003.

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FOCUS! FESTIVAL 2014

ALFRED SCHNITTKE’S WORLD

Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of his birth with music by Alfred Schnittke and his circle of composers, Sofia Gubaidulina, Giya Kancheli, Arvo Pärt, and Valentin Silvestrov

 

Friday, January 24, 2014, 8 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

New Juilliard Ensemble

Joel Sachs, founding director and conductor

ARVO PÄRT La Sindone (2005, rev. 2013) (World Premiere of new version), for strings, brass, and percussion

GIYA KANCHELI Daytime Prayers (1990), for clarinet, boy soprano, and chamber orchestra

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Symphony No. 4 (1984)

 

Monday, January 27, 2014, 8 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

ARVO PÄRT Fratres, version for string quartet (1979/1989)

ARVO PÄRT Summa, for string quartet (1977/1991)

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA Duo Sonata for Two Bassoons (1977)

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Schall und Hall (1983), for trombone and organ

GIYA KANCHELI Chiaroscuro (2010) for string quartet

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Epilogue (1993) adapted from his ballet score for Peer Gynt (1986) for cello, piano, and recorded sound

 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 7 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Pre-concert discussion of Alfred Schnittke’s World, with Laurel Fay, musicologist and advisor to G. Schirmer Inc. on Soviet and post-Soviet composers to G. Schirmer; Hans-Ulrich Duffek, director of Hans Sikorski Verlag, the Hamburg publisher of Schnittke, Gubaidulina, and Kancheli; pianist Vladimir Feltsman; and Eleanor Sutter, U.S. Foreign Service retired. Joel Sachs will moderate.

8 PM Concert, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

VALENTIN SILVESTROV Epitaph (L.B.) (1999), for viola and piano

ALFRED SCHNITTKE 5 Aphorisms (1990), for piano

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA In Croce, for cello and organ (1979)

ARVO PÄRT For Alina (1976), For Anna Maria (2006), and Variations for the Recuperation of Arinushka (1977), for piano

GIYA KANCHELI Caris mere (1994), for soprano and viola

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano, “Quasi una Sonata” (1968)

 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 8 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Serenade (1968), for quintet

GIYA KANCHELI Time…and again (1996), for violin and piano

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA String Quartet No. 4 (1993)

ARVO PÄRT Annum per annum (1980), for organ

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Piano Sonata No. 3 (1992)

 

Thursday, January 30, 2014, 8 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Homage to Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and Dmitri Shostakovich (1979), for one piano six-hands

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA Trio for Three Trumpets (1976)

VALENTIN SILVESTROV Elegy (1976), Hymn (2001), for piano

ARVO PÄRT Es sang vor langen Jahren (1984), for countertenor and organ

ARVO PÄRT My Heart’s in the Highlands (2000) for countertenor, violin, and viola

ALFRED SCHNITTKE String Quartet No. 4 (1989)

 

Friday, January 31, 2014, 8 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Juilliard Orchestra

Anne Manson, conductor

John Holiday, countertenor

Ken Hamao, violin

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA Fairytale Poem (Märchenpoem) (1971, New York premiere)

GIYA KANCHELI And farewell goes out sighing… (1999)

ALFRED SCHNITTKE Symphony No. 8 (1993, U.S. premiere)

 

TICKETS AND BOX OFFICE INFORMATION:

FREE tickets to all concerts will be available January 10 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/focus2014.