Focus! Opens on Friday, January 19, 2018, at 7:30pm in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater With the New Juilliard Ensemble, Led by Joel Sachs, Performing Works by Wang Shuci, Ye Xiaogang, Chou Wen-chung, and Liu Sola
Focus! Closes on Friday, January 26, 2018, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall With the Juilliard Orchestra, Conducted by Chen Lin in Works by Chen Qigang, Guo Wenjing, and Zhu Jian-Er
Chamber Music Concerts Take Place Monday, January 22, Through Thursday, January 25
NEW YORK –– The 34th annual Focus! festival, “China Today: A Festival of Chinese Composition,” opens on Friday, January 19, 2018, at 7:30pm in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater with the New Juilliard Ensemble (NJE), led by founding director and conductor Joel Sachs. The ensemble will perform alumna Wang Shuci’s Bauhaus (2017, world premiere; composed for NJE); Ye Xiaogang’s Lamura Cuo, Op. 69 (2014, New York premiere of ensemble version) with Juilliard violinist Julia Glenn; Chou Wen-chung’s Twilight Colors (2007); and alumna Liu Sola’s Goose and Crane Calling (2017, world premiere of ensemble version; composed for NJE).
The Juilliard Orchestra led by Chinese conductor Chen Lin performs the closing-night concert on Friday, January 26, 2018, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall. The program features Chen Qigang’s Luan Tan (2010-15); Guo Wenjing’s Concerto for Erhu and Orchestra, Op. 44, “Wild Grass” (2006, Western hemisphere premiere) with Wei-Yang Andy Lin on erhu; and Zhu Jian-Er’s Symphony No. 5, Op. 32 (1991; rev. 2001, first performance outside China).
Chamber music concerts take place from Monday, January 22, through Thursday, January 25, 2018. Mr. Sachs moderates a preconcert roundtable on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at 6:30pm in Peter Jay Sharp Theater.
All of the composers on the festival live and work in China, with the exception of 94-year-old Chinese-born New Yorker Chou Wen-chung, whom we include to celebrate his tireless efforts that brought many young Chinese composers to the U.S. for higher education.
On devoting this season’s festival to the music of China, Mr. Sachs writes: “Early in 2017, Juilliard president Joseph W. Polisi, with whom I created the Focus! festival in 1985, asked if this year’s edition, his last as president, might explore music in China. Fortunately, I had guides for my search in Alex Brose and Wei He, whom Juilliard has selected as the executive director and dean, respectively, of The Tianjin Juilliard School. Their long experience in China was invaluable. They strongly recommended composer Qigang Chen as a primary contact because as director of several nationwide projects, he has encountered many gifted composers. Since we wanted to commission some young composers, I sought suggestions from Chen, He, Brose, and other composers I know. Gradually a list emerged of some 30 composers born after 1980, seven of whom we commissioned.”
About the Seven Commissioned Composers
Liu Yuhui was born in 1997 in Qingdao, and he studies composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Liang Nan, a freelance composer, was born in 1988 in Xi’an and has degrees from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the Hochschule für Musik and Theater in Hamburg, and the Hochschule für Musik, Theater, und Medien in Hanover. Dai Bo, a composer and pianist, was born in 1988 and is a doctoral candidate at the China Central Conservatory of Music. Shang Peilei, who was born in 1990, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He also studied in Germany. Mao Zhu, who was born in Sichuan, received her master’s at the Sichuan Conservatory, where she is now on the faculty; she also studied at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Wang A-Mao, who was born in Beijing and completed her doctoral studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, teaches at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou. Song Yang, who was born in 1985, received her bachelor’s of musicology at the University of Inner Mongolia. She also studied in Germany and received her master’s and doctorate from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
All Focus! festival events are free; tickets will be available at juilliard.edu/calendar beginning
(The complete program for the festival follows at the end of this press release.)
Meet the Artists
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, he 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, Canada, China, El Salvador, Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Switzerland, and Ukraine, and has held new music residencies in Berlin, Shanghai, London, Salzburg, Curitiba (Brazil), Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (U.K.), Helsinki, and the Banff Centre (Canadian Rockies). One of the most active presenters of new music in New York, Mr. Sachs founded the New Juilliard Ensemble in 1993. He produces and directs Juilliard’s annual Focus! festival and has been artistic director of Juilliard’s concerts at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) since 1993. A member of Juilliard's music history faculty, Mr. Sachs wrote the first full biography of the American composer
Henry Cowell, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. He often appears on radio as a commentator on recent music and has been a regular delegate to Netherlands Music Days and other international music conferences. A graduate of Harvard, Mr. Sachs received his PhD from Columbia University. 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. In 2002, he was given Columbia University’s Alice M. Ditson Award for his service to American music.
New Juilliard Ensemble (NJE), led by founding director Joel Sachs and in its 25th season, presents music by a variety of international composers who write in the most diverse styles. Its members are current students at Juilliard who are admitted to the ensemble by audition. 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. The New Juilliard Ensemble performs in Juilliard’s Focus! festival. Recent editions have been: “Our Southern Neighbors: The Music of Latin America” (2017); “Milton Babbitt’s World: A Centennial Celebration” (2016); and “Nippon Gendai Ongaku: Japanese Music Since 1945” (2015). The season’s final NJE concert takes place on April 28 in Alice Tully Hall with music by Kolbeinn Bjarnason (Iceland), Alejandro Cardona (Costa Rica), Jonathan Dawe (U.S.), and Sunbin Kevin Kim (Korea/U.S.).
Chen Lin (b. Heilongjiang, 1978) is one of China’s leading female conductors. Originally trained as a pianist, at the age of 13 she won the grand prize in the young children’s category in the Heilongjang Youth Piano Competition. At the age of 15 she was admitted to the junior high school of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and started studying composition. In 1996 she entered the Central Conservatory, where she is currently a member of the faculty, to study conducting under Yu Feng. Following her graduation with a master’s degree in 2004, she was appointed assistant field service professor of ensembles and conducting of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and music director of the CCM Concert Orchestra. Three times a finalist in the Besançon International Conductors Competition, she has appeared at the Tanglewood Festival many times since 2000 at the recommendation of Seiji Ozawa, and she was appointed Fellowship Conductor of the festival in 2002. Thanks to Ozawa’s support she has also been very active in Japan where she has participated in the Ozawa Academy Opera Project as an associate conductor for productions of Die Fledermaus, La bohème, and Il barbiere di Siviglia and making her Japanese debut conducting the Century Orchestra Osaka. In 2006 she appeared in the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan conducting Opera for Young People and a children’s concert. The following year she won second prize at Poland’s Fitelberg International Competition. Chen Lin has guest-conducted the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, China Youth Symphony Orchestra, Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, Harbin Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony Orchestra, Hebei Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Philharmonic Orchestra, Indiana University Symphony Orchestra, Silesian Philharmonic, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Juilliard’s largest and most visible student performing ensemble, the Juilliard Orchestra, is known for delivering polished and passionate performances of works spanning the repertoire. Comprising more than 350 students in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, the orchestra appears throughout the season in concerts on the stages of Alice Tully Hall, David Geffen Hall, Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater, and Carnegie Hall. The orchestra is a strong partner to Juilliard’s other divisions, appearing in opera and dance productions as well as presenting an annual concert of world premieres by Juilliard student composers. Under the musical leadership of Alan Gilbert, the director of conducting and orchestral studies, the Juilliard Orchestra welcomes an impressive roster of world renowned conductors this season, including Mr. Gilbert, Joseph Colaneri,
Jeffrey Milarsky, David Robertson, and Speranza Scappucci. The Juilliard Orchestra has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, South America, and Asia, where it was the first Western conservatory ensemble allowed to visit and perform following the opening of the People’s Republic of China in 1987, returning two decades later, in 2008. Other ensembles under the Juilliard Orchestra umbrella include the conductorless Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, the Juilliard Wind Orchestra, and the new-music groups AXIOM and New Juilliard Ensemble.
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Focus! Festival 2018
“China Today: A Festival of Chinese Composition”
Friday, January 19, 2018, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater
New Juilliard Ensemble
Joel Sachs, founding director and conductor
Julia Glenn, violin
Liu Sola, virtual soprano
WANG SHUCI Bauhaus (2017, world premiere; composed for NJE)
YE XIAOGANG Lamura Cuo, Op. 69 (2014, New York premiere of ensemble version)
CHOU WEN-CHUNG Twilight Colors (2007)
LIU SOLA Goose and Crane Calling (2017, world premiere of ensemble version; composed for NJE)
Monday, January 22, 2018, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater
JIA GUOPING Schweben über grenzenlosem Feld (Suspended Over the Limitless Field) (2001-02, Western Hemisphere premiere
LIANG NAN You Asleep, I Awake (text by Sai Yang) (2015,Western Hemisphere) and Song Feng (2017, world premiere; commissioned by The Juilliard School for Focus! 2018)
LIU YUHUI Song of the Tie-Dyeing (2017, world premiere; commissioned by The Juilliard School for Focus! 2018)
PAN KAINE Semi-Cursive Script (2014, world premiere)
ZHOU JUAN Chaconne Arirang (2013, Western Hemisphere premiere)
YANG LIQING Four Poems From the Tang Dynasty (1981-82, presumed Western Hemisphere premiere)
Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at 6:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Preconcert roundtable with Chen Yao (Beijing), Qin Wenchen (Beijing), Wang A-Mao (Guangzhou), Zeng Yan (Shanghai), and Julia Glenn (Juilliard)
Moderated by Joel Sachs
Concert Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater
EHESUMA [SONG GE] Yemo’s Vertical Pipe (2001, Western Hemisphere premiere)
HE XUNTIAN Whirling Papaver (2014, Western Hemisphere premiere)
ZHAO XI The Soundscape That I Saw and You Heard (2007, Western Hemisphere premiere)
LI SHAOSHENG The Streaming World (2017, world premiere; composed for Focus! 2018)
WANG DELONG L’Uccisione de Cesare (2017)
QIN WENCHEN The Sun Shadow VIII (2009, Western Hemisphere premiere)
DAI BO Differences and Repetition (2017, world premiere; commissioned by The Juilliard School for Focus! 2018)
Wednesday, January 24, 2018, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater
SHANG PEILEI Monologue (2017, world premiere; commissioned by The Juilliard School for Focus! 2018)
GAO PING Legend (2014, Western Hemisphere premiere)
MAO ZHU The Island (2017, world premiere; commissioned by The Juilliard School for Focus! 2018)
[YU] BAOYU Lost in the Moon, Op. 6 (2003, Western Hemisphere premiere)
WANG A-MAO The Colloquy of Strings and Air (2017, world premiere; commissioned by The Juilliard School for Focus! 2018)
CHEN QIANGBIN Recital for Qiuzi (1995, Western Hemisphere premiere)
LUO ZHONGRONG Sonata for French Horn and Piano (1987, world premiere)
Thursday, January 25, 2018, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater
SANG TONG Night Scenery (1947, presumed Western Hemisphere premiere)
JIN PING Xipi: Themes From Peking Opera (1995, New York premiere)
YAO CHEN Cinq stades de l’existence (2015, Western Hemisphere premiere)
GAO WEIJIE Si Shu (Longing for Shu) (2017, New York premiere)
SONG YANG Whale Fall (2017, world premiere; commissioned by The Juilliard School for Focus! 2018)
JIA DAQUN String Quartet No. 2, “The Landscape of Cloud” (2016, world premiere)
Friday, January 26, 2018, at 7:30pm, Alice Tully Hall
Chen Lin, conductor
Wei-Yang Andy Lin, erhu
CHEN QIGANG Luan Tan (2010-15)
GUO WENJING Concerto for Erhu and Orchestra, Op. 44, “Wild Grass” (2006, Western Hemisphere premiere)
ZHU JIAN-ER Symphony No. 5, Op. 32 (1991; rev. 2001, first performance outside China)
All events are free; tickets are available at events.juilliard.edu.