Jeffrey Milarsky Conducts the Juilliard Orchestra in Works by Adams, Barber, R. Strauss, and Ives on Friday, November 15 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall


Juilliard Pianist Kevin Ahfat is Soloist in the Barber Concerto for Piano, Op. 38

Start Date

Friday, October 25, 2013

Press Release Images

Jeffrey Milarsky (Photo by Peter Konerko Photography)
Jeffrey Milarsky (Photo by Peter Konerko Photography)
Kevin Ahfat (Photo by Arthur Moeller)
Kevin Ahfat (Photo by Arthur Moeller)


Juilliard faculty member, conductor Jeffrey Milarsky, leads the Juilliard Orchestra in John Adams’ Tromba Iontana (Distant Trumpet); Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Piano, Op. 38 with Juilliard pianist Kevin Ahfat; R. Strauss’ Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils; and Charles Ives’ Three Places in New England on Friday, November 15 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall.

John Adams describes how his work came about: “Tromba Iontana (Distant Trumpet) was written at the request of the Houston Symphony, part of a fanfare commissioning project initiated by the composer Tobias Picker, who wrote his own well-known Old and Lost Rivers for the same series. Taking a subversive point-of-view on the idea of the generic, loud, extrovert archetype of the fanfare, I composed a four-minute work that barely rises above mezzo piano and that features two stereophonically-placed solo trumpets (to the back of the stage or on separate balconies), who intone gently insistent calls, each marked by a sustained note followed by a soft staccato tattoo. The orchestra provides a pulsing continuum of serene ticking in the pianos, harps, and percussion. In the furthest background is a long, almost disembodied melody for strings that passes by almost unnoticed like nocturnal clouds.”

Samuel Barber composed his Piano Concerto with pianist John Browning in mind. Barber’s publisher, G. Schirmer, Inc., commissioned the Piano Concerto in 1959 for its 100th anniversary occurring in 1962, and the work was to be premiered at Lincoln Center’s Opening Gala Concert that same year. The first two movements were completed before the end of 1960. The death of Samuel Barber’s sister in July 1961 and an invitation to attend the Congress of Soviet Composers in March the following year delayed his work. The final movement wasn’t completed until September 9, 1962. Pianist John Browning was joined by conductor Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) for the premiere. Barber received the Pulitzer Prize in 1963 for the work, and the Music Critics’ Circle Award in 1964.

The Juilliard Orchestra performs Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils, Op. 54 from Richard Strauss’ opera, Salome, which was composed in 1904-5 and had its premiere in 1905. Strauss saw Oscar Wilde’s Salome in Berlin in a German translation in November 1902 and adapted his own libretto from that translation. Salome, one of Strauss’ most celebrated operas, scandalized Europe and America when it first premiered.

Charles Ives’ Three Places in New England was completed in sections between 1903 and 1923 (and revised in 1929) , but wasn’t given a reading until Nicolas Slominsky conducted it with the Chamber Orchestra of Boston in 1931. The three sections are entitled: ‘St. Gaudens’ in Boston Common (Col. Shaw and his Colored Regiment); Putnam’s Camp, Redding, Connecticut; and The Housatonic at Stockbridge. ‘St. Gaudens’ in Boston Common is a tribute to the Civil War monument by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Boston Common. Putnam’s Camp, Redding, Connecticut is an upbeat movement and brings to mind a town square band concert. In The Housatonic at Stockbridge, a hymn tune is heard over chromatic strings, with percussion and winds underneath.

Mr. Milarsky returns later in the season to conduct the Juilliard Orchestra in four world premiere works by Juilliard student composers on Friday, February 14 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall.

Tickets for the Juilliard Orchestra’s November 15 concert are $20 and available online at www.juilliard.edu/fallorch, by calling CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office. Senior/student tickets at $10 are available only at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office.

About Jeffrey Milarsky

American conductor Jeffrey Milarsky is music director of AXIOM. Known for his innovative programming and a command of wide-ranging repertoire, spanning from Bach to Xenakis, Mr. Milarsky has led groups such as the American Composers Orchestra, MET Chamber Ensemble, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New World Symphony, New York Philharmonic chamber music series, and the San Francisco Symphony. In the United States and abroad, Mr. Milarsky has premiered and recorded works by groundbreaking contemporary composers, including Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Mario Davidovsky, Jonathan Dawe, Gerard Grisey, Fred Lerdahl, Tristan Murail, Luigi Nono, Wolfgang Rihm, Ralph Shapey, and Charles Wuorinen. 

In September of 2008, Mr. Milarsky was named to the conducting faculty of Juilliard. He also is senior lecturer of music at Columbia University, where he is the music director and conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra.

Mr. Milarsky made his conducting debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during the 2011-12 season and returned last season. He is scheduled to conduct concerts again with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2013-2014. This past season Mr. Milarsky conducted the San Francisco Symphony in San Francisco, Michigan, and at Carnegie Hall in New York. He also led orchestras in Norway, Italy, and Paris. Mr. Milarsky also appears regularly at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra, and also recently performed at IRCAM in Paris, conducting and recording compositions by Joshua Fineberg and Tristan Murail.

A highly sought-after timpanist and percussionist, Mr. Milarsky has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, among other ensembles.  In addition, Mr. Milarsky has been principal timpanist for the Santa Fe Opera since 2005. He has recorded extensively for Angel, Bridge, Teldec, Telarc, New World, CRI, MusicMasters, EMI, Koch, and London records. Mr. Milarsky received his bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts.

About Kevin Ahfat

Canadian-born pianist Kevin Ahfat, a resident of Denver, Colorado, has performed both as solo and chamber artist in numerous venues across the United States, including the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center in Arizona, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center in New York, and Boettcher Concert Hall and Newman Center in Colorado.

Mr. Ahfat has appeared as soloist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Symphony in the Valley. He has also appeared at the Breckenridge Music Festival and Colorado International Piano Festival, and his performances have been featured on CPR'S Classical KVOD, Kansas Public Radio, and Colorado 9NEWS.

Mr. Ahfat has garnered numerous awards in many national and international competitions, among those being the Silver Medal at the 5th Schimmel USASU International Piano Competition, First Prize in the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, First Prize in the Steinway & Sons Piano Concerto Competition, and top prizes at the IIYM (Finalist), Arthur Fraser (Second Prize) and Eastman (Best Performance of a Contemporary Work) International Piano Competitions.

Currently, Mr. Ahfat is pursuing his bachelor of music degree at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Choong-Mo Kang, having previously studied with Dr. Lei Weng of the University of Northern Colorado. He has spent summers working with world-renowned artists such as Arie Vardi, Andrea Bonatta, Tamás Ungár, Bernd Goetzke, and Meng-Chieh Liu at the Bowdoin International, PianoTexas, and Colorado International festivals, and has performed for numerous world-renowned artists including Leon Fleisher, Olga Kern, Richard Goode, and Dmitri Alexeev.

Mr. Ahfat is a 2013-14 Artist of the Young Musicians Foundation of Colorado, and is especially grateful for their support. At Juilliard, he holds the Alton Jones Memorial Scholarship and the Rhea Cloe and Carl Cloe Memorial Scholarship.

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Friday, November 15, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall

Juilliard Orchestra

Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Kevin Ahfat, piano


JOHN ADAMS Tromba Iontana (Distant Trumpet)

SAMUEL BARBER Concerto for Piano, Op. 38

RICHARD STRAUSS Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome, Op. 54

CHARLES IVES Three Places in New England


Tickets for the Juilliard Orchestra’s November 15 concert are $20 and available online at www.juilliard.edu/fallorch, by calling CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office. Senior/student tickets at $10 are available only at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office.