Juilliard's AXIOM, Led by Conductor Jeffrey Milarsky, Performs Works by Morton Subotnick and Jacob Druckman on Season Opener on Friday, October 11 at 8 PM in Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater


AXIOM is Joined by Singer Joan La Barbara in Subotnick's "Jacob's Room" (world premiere version 2013)

Start Date

Friday, August 23, 2013

Press Release Images

Jeffrey Milarsky (Photo by Peter Konerko)
Jeffrey Milarsky (Photo by Peter Konerko)
Morton Subotnick (Photo courtesy of Morton Subotnick)
Morton Subotnick (Photo courtesy of Morton Subotnick)
Joan La Barbara (Photo by Mark Mahaney)
Joan La Barbara (Photo by Mark Mahaney)


AXIOM, Juilliard’s critically-acclaimed contemporary music ensemble specializing in the 20th century’s ‘classic’ repertoire and led by music director Jeffrey Milarsky, performs Morton Subotnick’s Jacob’s Room (world premiere version 2013) with singer Joan La Barbara and two works by alumnus Jacob Druckman on its season opener on Friday, October 11 in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The two works by Jacob Druckman are Delizie contente che l’alme beate after Francesco Cavalli (1973) and Come Round (1992). Morton Subotnick is a living legend in the development of electronic music, and his work, Silver Apples of the Moon, has become a modern classic. His wife, singer Joan La Barbara, has collaborated with many artists and composers, including John Cage and Morton Feldman (who both wrote works for her) and Juilliard alumni Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

Tickets are FREE and available September 27 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard, located in the lobby of the School at 155 West 65th Street. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/axiom.

Morton Subotnick’s Jacob’s Room (world premiere version 2013) is a revised version of the composer’s monodrama, which was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and had its premiere on March 11, 2012 on the American Mavericks Series at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco. A two-hour chamber opera of the work was completed in 2010 from a commission by the Bregenz Festival’s Kunst aus der Zeit and had its world premiere at the Bregenz Festival in August 2010. Mr. Subotnick’s original concert version of Jacob’s Room was composed in 1985 for the Kronos Quartet with singer Joan La Barbara and received its premiere in San Francisco in 1985. The 2013 world premiere version performed on the October 11th AXIOM concert is scored for string orchestra and electronics and features singer Joan La Barbara. The new movements of the work are: Prologue; The British Museum; Mercy; Prayer; Alone: Epilogue.

Jacob's Room draws its story and libretto from a variety of texts, including the eponymous novel by Virginia Woolf, and draws the viewer into its internal narrative of loss and terror, touching on themes of personal confrontation of the Holocaust.

A leading innovator in works involving instruments and other media, Morton Subotnick’s oeuvre utilizes many of the important technological breakthroughs in the history of the genre. His work, Silver Apples of the Moon, has become a modern classic and was recently entered into the National Registry of Recorded works at the Library of Congress. Only 300 recordings throughout the entire history of recordings have been chosen.

In addition to music in the electronic medium, Subotnick has written for symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, theater, and multimedia productions.

In the early 1960s, he taught at Mills College, and with Ramon Sender, co-founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center and was music director of the Actor’s Workshop. During this period, he works with Don Buchla on what may have been the first analog synthesizer (now at the Library of Congress).

He moved to New York with the Actor’s Workshop to become the first music director of the Lincoln Center Repertory Company in the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. He became an artist-in-residence at the newly-formed Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. During this period, he helped develop and become an artistic director of the Electric Circus and the Electric Ear. In 1969, Subotnick was invited to be part of a team of artists to move to Los Angeles to plan a new school of the arts. With Mel Powell as Dean and Subotnick as Associate Dean, and a team of four other artists, he carved out a new path of music education and created the now famous California Institute of the Arts. Subotnick remained Associate Dean for four years and after resigning, became head of the new composition program where, a few years later, he created a new media program that introduced interactive technology and multi-media into the curriculum.

Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Grants (3), Meet the Composer (2), American Academy of Arts and Letters Composer Award, Brandeis Award, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Composer in Residence in Berlin, Lifetime Achievement Award (SEAMUS at Dartmouth), ASCAP: John Cage Award, ACO: Lifetime Achievement, and an Honorary Doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts.  

Jacob Druckman’s Delizie contente che l’alme beate after Francesco Cavalli was written in 1973 and is scored for woodwind quintet and tape. Druckman’s Come Round was composed for the New York New Music Ensemble (co-commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music, Ravinia, and Saratoga Performing Arts festivals) and was premiered in 1992. It is scored for flute (doubling on alto flute), clarinet (doubling on bass clarinet), violin, cello, piano, and percussion.

Composer Jacob Druckman (1928-1996) studied at Juilliard with Bernard Wagenaar, Vincent Persichetti, and Peter Mennin, and with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. He devoted himself to the exploration of sound and color, both instrumental and electronic. His orchestral works included commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Radio France. As the New York Philharmonic’s composer-in-residence (1982-85), Druckman explored the emerging New Romanticism in the programming of three Horizon Festivals. He taught at Juilliard, Bard College, Tanglewood, and Yale (where he was chair of the music department). Druckman’s 1972 work, Windows, earned him the Pulitzer Prize.

About Joan La Barbara

Joan La Barbara’s career as a composer/performer/sound artist explores the human voice as a multi-faceted instrument expanding traditional boundaries, creating works for a wide array of media, developing a unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques (multiphonics, circular singing, ululation, and glottal clicks that have become her “signature sounds”), which has garnered awards in the United States and Europe and numerous commissions. She has collaborated with artists, including Lita Albuquerque, Judy Chicago, Ed Emshwiller, Kenneth Goldsmith, Peter Gordon, Bruce Nauman, Steina, Woody Vasulka, and Lawrence Weiner. She has premiered landmark compositions by noted American composers, including Morton Subotnick’s chamber opera Jacob’s Room, his Hungers, and Intimate Immensity; the title role in Robert Ashley’s opera Now Eleanor’s Idea, his Balseros, and Dust; Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach; Morton Feldman’s Three Voices; Steve Reich’s Drumming; and John Cage’s Solo for Voice 45 from Song Books. In addition to her internationally acclaimed discs of Feldman and Cage (New Albion), Sound Paintings, and the reissue of La Barbara’s seminal works from the 1970s Voice is the Original Instrument (Lovely Music) and Shaman-Song (New World Records), she has recorded for A&M Horizon, Centaur, Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, Mode, Music & Arts, MusicMasters, Musical Heritage, Newport Classic, Sony, Virgin, Voyager, and Wergo.


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.

AXIOM, led by Jeffrey Milarsky, presents a three-concert series in the 2013-2014 season. On Friday, October 11 at 8 PM in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater, the ensemble performs works by Jacob Druckman and Morton Subotnick. AXIOM collaborates with Carnegie Hall on the Vienna: City of Dreams festival on Thursday, February 27 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas’ Monodie will be performed, as well as works by Oliver Knussen, Louis Andriessen, and David Lang on the program. The concert series concludes on Thursday. April 17 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall with two works by Karlheinz Stockhausen and a work by Pierre Boulez. A fourth appearance by AXIOM takes place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, led by Alan Gilbert, as part of the New York Philharmonic’s 1st Biennial. Alan Gilbert conducts HK Gruber’s Gloria – a pigtale on Thursday, May 29 and Friday, May 30 at 7 PM, and Sunday, June 1 at 2 PM.

Highlights from the 2012-2013 season included a concert featuring Oliver Knussen’s Coursing, Charles Wuorinen’s Cyclops 2000, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1; a concert with Toru Takemitsu’s Archipelago S and John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music; and a collaboration with the Sibelius Academy conducted by Susanna Mälkki and featuring works by American and Finnish composers including Elliott Carter, Anthony Cheung, Vali-Matti Puumala, Sean Shepherd, and Jukka Tiensuu.

In the 2011-2012 season, AXIOM presented a three-concert series which featured the 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 included 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’s 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 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.

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AXIOM, Led by Jeffrey Milarsky

2013-14 Calendar of Events


Friday, October 11, 2013, 8 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theater


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Joan La Barbara, singer

JACOB DRUCKMAN Delizie contente che l’alme beate after Francesco Cavalli (1973)

JACOB DRUCKMAN Come Round (1992)

MORTON SUBOTNICK Jacob’s Room (world premiere version 2013)

FREE tickets will be available beginning September 27 at the Juilliard Box Office.


Thursday, February 27, 2014, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Presented as part of Carnegie Hall’s festival, Vienna: City of Dreams

OLIVER KNUSSEN Two Organa, Op. 27 (1995)


DAVID LANG cheating, lying, stealing (1993, revised 1995)

GEORG FRIEDRICH HAAS Monodie (1998-1999)

FREE tickets will be available beginning February 13 at the Juilliard Box Office.


Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN Fünf Sternzeichen (2004)


PIERRE BOULEZ Derive 2 (1988/2006)

FREE tickets will be available beginning April 3 at the Juilliard Box Office.

Tickets will be available 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 – 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/axiom.


Thursday, May 29, 2014, 7 PM / Friday, May 30, 2014, 7 PM/ Sunday, June 1, 2014, 2 PM

Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alan Gilbert Conducts HK Gruber’s Gloria – a pigtale


Vocalists affiliated with The Juilliard School

Doug Fitch, Designer, Director

Edouard Getaz, producer

A co-presentation of the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Juilliard School.

For further information, go to New York Philharmonic.