New Juilliard Ensemble (N.J.E.), led by founding director Joel Sachs and in its 24th season, presents music by a variety of international composers writing in the most diverse styles. Its members are current students at Juilliard, who are admitted to the ensemble by audition. More than 100 students participate each year, though most compositions normally call for 13-18 players. The ensemble appears regularly at MoMA’s Summergarden and has been a featured ensemble four times at the Lincoln Center Festival. It has premiered some 100 compositions.
Highlights of the 2015-16 season included works by Áskell Másson, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Stefano Gervasoni, Zygmunt Krauze, Anthony Brandt; Elliott Sharp, Michael Zev Gordon, György Kurtág, James Primosch, Du Yun; the 2016 Focus! festival, “Milton Babbitt’s World: A Centennial Celebration,” which included the world premiere of Babbitt’s long-lost Concerti for violin and orchestra; and a closing concert in April with works by student composers Joshua Cerdenia and Saad Haddad as well as works by Valentin Bibik, Agustín Fernández, and Rica Narimoto.
In 2014, the New Juilliard Ensemble collaborated with Carnegie Hall on “UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa.” A highlight of the 2013-14 season was a collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Bicentennial Celebration with the U.S. premieres of works by Magnus Lindberg and Judith Weir. In 2012, N.J.E. collaborated with Carnegie Hall on “Voices from Latin America”; in 2011, with Carnegie Hall’s “Japan/NYC” festival; and in 2009, with Carnegie Hall’s “Ancient Paths, Modern Voices” festival.
The New Juilliard Ensemble performs in Juilliard’s Focus! festival. Recent Focus! festivals have included: “California: A Century of New Music” (2009); “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); “The British Renaissance” (2013); “Alfred Schnittke and His World” (2014); and “Nippon Gendai Ongaku: Japanese Music Since 1945” (2015).