Juilliard's AXIOM, Led by Jeffrey Milarsky, Presents Four Free Concerts in the 2016-17 Season


Season Honors Composers John Adams, Steve Reich, and Kaija Saariaho

Start Date

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Press Release Images

Conductor Jeffrey Milarsky and AXIOM (photo by Richard Termine)
Conductor Jeffrey Milarsky and AXIOM (photo by Richard Termine)
Jeffrey Milarsky (photo by Peter Konerko Photography)
Jeffrey Milarsky (photo by Peter Konerko Photography)


Juilliard Presents in Association With the Rolex Mentorship Program the Music of

Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Vasco Mendonça”

on October 12, at 5pm in Peter Jay Sharp Theater


Steve Reich 80th Birthday Celebration on October 29, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall


All-Kaija Saariaho Program on December 12, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall


John Adams’s 70th Birthday Celebration on February 23, at 7:30pm in Peter Jay Sharp Theater


NEW YORK –– Juilliard presents AXIOM, the school’s critically acclaimed contemporary music ensemble specializing in masterworks and classics of contemporary music, in four free concerts during the 2016-17 season. The concerts are led by the ensemble’s founding director, Juilliard faculty member and alumnus Jeffrey Milarsky, the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Ditson Conductor’s Award. Mr. Milarsky incorporates a spectrum of mostly 20th century and early 21st century compositions each season. Tracing the roster of composers throughout a four-year arc ensures that AXIOM members gain knowledge and performing experience of those masterworks and their creators.

The series kicks off on Wednesday, October 12, at 5pm in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater when Juilliard in association with the Rolex Mentorship Program presents the music of Finnish composers Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho and her mentee, Portuguese composer Vasco Mendonça. Mr. Mendonça’s music has been performed all over Europe, by groups such as the Asko/Schoenberg Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Remix Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and others. Mendonça’s works have been commissioned by and featured in music festivals, such as Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh Music, Verbier Festival, Musica Nova Helsinki, Musica Strasbourg, and Gaudeamus Music Week. The AXIOM program features Mendonça’s Fight/Flight/Freeze (2014); Saariaho’s Light and Matter (2014); and Salonen’s Homunculus (2007). All three composers will be present at the concert and will join Provost and Dean Ara Guzelimian in a panel discussion.

AXIOM celebrates alumnus Steve Reich’s 80th birthday on Saturday, October 29, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall. The all-Reich program features his early work Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (1973); Double Sextet (2007) for 12 players (performed live without a pre-recorded tape); Mallet Quartet (2009); and City Life (1995). AXIOM will be joined on this concert by the Juilliard Percussion Ensemble, led by Daniel Druckman.

The series continues on Monday, December 12, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall with a program devoted to the music of Kaija Saariaho. AXIOM performs her Lichtbogen (1986); Solar (1993); and Notes on Light (2006). This event is part of a series of programs in New York City around the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de Loin.

The final concert in the series celebrates composer John Adams’s 70th birthday, and AXIOM performs his Grand Pianola Music (1982) which features 21 players and two piano soloists (tba), paired with Pierre Boulez’s Dérive 1 (1984) and Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee, Canons 1a and 1b (2006).


AXIOM, Conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky

2016-17 Calendar of Events


Wednesday, October 12, at 5pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Juilliard in Association with the Rolex Mentorship Program Presents

The Music of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho, and Vasco Mendonça


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor


Vasco MENDONÇA: Fight/Flight/Freeze (2014)

Kaija SAARIAHO: Light and Matter (2014)

Esa-Pekka SALONEN: Homunculus (2007)


Saturday, October 29, at 7:30pm, Alice Tully Hall


80th Birthday Celebration


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Juilliard Percussion Ensemble

Daniel Druckman, conductor


All-Steve Reich Program:

Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (1973)

Double Sextet (2007)

Mallet Quartet (2009)

City Life (1995)


Monday, December 12, at 7:30pm, Alice Tully Hall

The Music of Kaija Saariaho (1952-)


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor


All-Kaija Saariaho Program:

Lichtbogen (1986)

Solar (1993)

Notes on Light (2006)


Thursday, February 23, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

JOHN ADAMS (1947-)

70th Birthday Celebration


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor


Pierre BOULEZ: Dérive 1 (1984)

Hans ABRAHAMSEN: Schnee, Canons 1a & 1b (2006)

John ADAMS: Grand Pianola Music (1982)


Ticket and Box Office Information

Tickets for AXIOM concerts are FREE and will be available beginning September 19 at events.juilliard.edu.


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 (now David Geffen 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.

AXIOM is grounded in Juilliard’s curriculum. Students receive a credit in chamber music for performing in the ensemble, and during any four-year period, AXIOM members will have the opportunity to perform works by Adams, Birtwistle, Druckman, Lindberg, and Schoenberg, among other composers. Guest conductors of AXIOM have included Alan Gilbert, Susanna Mälkki, and David Robertson.

Last season, AXIOM performed works by George Benjamin, Thomas Adès, Harrison Birtwistle, Gerard Grisey, Oliver Knussen, Kaija Saariaho, Giacinto Scelsi, and John Zorn.

In the 2014-15 season, the group performed works by John Adams, Harrison Birtwistle, Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Conlon Nancarrow, and György Ligeti; and in the 2013-14 season, AXIOM collaborated with Carnegie Hall on Vienna: City of Dreams, presenting a work by Austrian composer George Friedrich Haas; gave the world premiere of Morton Subotnick’s Jacob’s Room (2013 version) with singer Joan La Barbara; and the critically-praised NY PHIL BIENNIAL production of HK Gruber’s Gloria – A Pig Tale at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

About Jeffrey Milarsky

American conductor Jeffrey Milarsky is the founding music director of AXIOM. Known for his innovative programming, he has been hailed for his interpretation of a wide range of repertoire, which spans from Bach to Xenakis. In recent seasons he has worked with such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, MET Chamber Ensemble, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New World Symphony, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic chamber music series. In the United States and abroad, he has premiered and recorded works by many groundbreaking contemporary composers, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and at IRCAM in Paris. 

In June of 2015 Mr. Milarsky made his New York Philharmonic debut conducting the CONTACT! series, a Japanese based program including music of Takemitsu, Messiaen, Fujikura, and Mochizuki. 

Mr. Milarsky has a long history of premiering, recording and performing American composers and in keeping with that he was presented the prestigious Ditson Conductor's Award in 2013. He has collaborated with such composers as Adams, Babbitt, Cage, Carter, Corigliano, Crumb, Davidovsky, Druckman, Gordon, Lang, Mackey, Rouse, Shapey, Subotnick, Wuorinen, and an entire generation of young and developing composers.

A dedicated teacher, Mr. Milarsky serves on the conducting faculty at Juilliard and is a senior lecturer in music at Columbia University, where he is the music director and conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra.

An in-demand timpanist and percussionist, Mr.Milarsky has been the principal timpanist for the Santa Fe Opera since 2005. In addition, he has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has recorded extensively for Angel, Bridge, Teldec, Telarc, New World, CRI, MusicMasters, EMI, Koch, and London records.

At Juilliard, Mr. Milarsky received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts.

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