New Juilliard Ensemble, Led by Joel Sachs, Concludes Its 2017-18 Season With Premieres on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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NEW YORK –– The New Juilliard Ensemble, led by founder and director Joel Sachs, concludes its 2017-18 season with four premieres in a free concert on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall. The program features Kolbeinn Bjarnason’s After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns (2018, world premiere, composed for NJE); Alejandro Cardona’s Sweet Tijuana, danzas fronterizas (2007, U.S. premiere) with Juilliard violist Stephanie Block; Salvatore Sciarrino’s Fanofanìa (2010, New York premiere); and faculty member Jonathan Dawe’s Oroborium (2018, world premiere, composed for NJE) with Juilliard singers, soprano Anneliese Klenetsky and tenor Chance Jonas-O’Toole.

Free tickets are available at

About the Composers and the Program

After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns was composed for the New Juilliard Ensemble. Written by Icelandic composer Kolbeinn Bjarnason who holds an MA degree in composition from Iceland Academy of the Arts and who studied philosophy and literature at the Icelandic University and flute at Reykjavik College of Music, provides this note: “This work is made up of 12 short contrasting sections, which are all played without a break. Even though some of these sections are more linked together than others, such as the symmetrical organization of movements 3 to 7, a logical context is of rather little importance in this piece." The work is scored for 14 instrumentalists, and the title is taken from American poet John Berryman’s "Dream Song 14.”

Sweet Tijuana, danzas fronterizas (Sweet Tijuana, Border Dances) by Alejandro Cardona is a five-movement suite for viola and chamber orchestra commissioned by Mexican violist Omar Hernández-Hidalgo to be performed with the Orquesta de Baja, California. It receives its U.S. premiere in this concert. Costa Rican composer Alejandro Cardona studied composition privately with Argentinian composer Luis Jorge González and went on to earn degrees from Harvard (where he studied with Leon Kirchner, Ivan Tcherepnin, and Curt Cacioppo, who was his mentor), the Utrecht School of the Arts, and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Mr. Cardona teaches theory and composition at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and is active as an electric guitarist. He writes: “In these dances, you will hear references to music and sounds that come together in a borderline situation, looking for meaning within the apparent chaos: Oaxacan pitero music, Mariachi music, children’s songs, the Huasteco son, the Son Montuno (of Cuban origin), blues, elements of jazz, fragments of popular songs (Mexican, Afro-American, Cuban), contemporary music, car horns, cussing…”.

Salvatore Sciarrino has won countless awards and commissions. He was awarded the 2016 Golden Lion for his life work at the Venice Biennale. His latest opera, a joint commission by La Scala and the Berlin Staatsoper, was premiered in 2017. Mr. Sciarrino has taught at the conservatories of Milan, Perugia, and Florence, and has held many master classes. He writes: “Fanofanìa–a word created by me, using the same ancient Greek word repeated, but nevertheless containing a correct and credible significance, like so many analogous expressions in the modern vocabulary–psychoanalysis, for example, or photograph, pseudopalentological. Fanofanìa means the manifesting of manifesting, the appearance of an appearance, or, otherwise stated, the beginning of becoming visible. It is a phenomenon that begins in its first instant, or rather, when it enters the sphere of consciousness.”

Composer Jonathan Dawe, a member of Juilliard’s graduate studies and doctoral faculties, studied at Oberlin Conservatory (BM '87) with Richard Hoffmann, and at Juilliard (MM '93, DMA '95) with Milton Babbitt. His major commissions have come from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Jack Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, Miró Quartet, Cygnus Ensemble, Italian Academy, Manhattan Sinfonietta, New Juilliard Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Oroborium, composed for the New Juilliard Ensemble, has its world premiere in this concert. Mr. Dawe writes: "Oroborium is inspired by an unfinished collaboration between Igor Stravinsky and Dylan Thomas. Before Thomas’s untimely death, these two men envisioned a tale about a cataclysmic event that destroys Earth, leaving behind only two Earthlings (or perhaps aliens) who re-invent language, thereby bringing the world back into being. Our interpretation is a creation myth that serves as much an inner tale as an outer one about the evolution of human consciousness. The title Oroborium derives from the Ouroboros, a mythological snake that eats its own tale/tail, symbolizing self-creation and renewal. After the destruction, the drama begins with two young children who are isolated and gripped by rage and fear. Only by connecting and comforting one another can they move through developmental stages of curiosity and play before enduring separation and grief, so that they may reconnect through the highest human emotional states of awe and love.”

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, Dr. Sachs founded 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, Dr. 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, Dr. 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.

Born in Barrington, Illinois, violist Stephanie Block is pursuing her MM at Juilliard as a student of Cynthia Phelps and Misha Amory. She has performed as a soloist with several Chicago area symphonies and has been widely recognized as a chamber musician. Ms. Block also holds a BM from Juilliard as a student of Heidi Castleman and Hsin-Yun Huang. A survivor of the rare cancer Langerhans cell histiocytosis, she is committed to fundraising for research through her music. She holds the Nancy A. Marks Chamber Music Scholarship, and the Edith A. Sagul Scholarship, and she is supported by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fund.

Soprano Anneliese Klenetsky, from Edison, NJ,, is a first-year master’s degree student at Juilliard, studying with Sanford Sylvan. Her recent opera repertoire includes the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at the Chautauqua Institute, Amaranta in Juilliard’s production of Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata, and La Bergère in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges with the Juilliard Orchestra under Emmanuel Villaume. In February Ms. Klenetsky sang Handel’s Laudate pueri dominum HWV 237 with Juilliard415 and Vox Luminis. Numerous world premieres include Theo Chandler’s Songs for Brooches with the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall, Jake Landau’s Les danseuses de Pigalle at New York Live Arts and his song cycle Streetlight with text by Joni Mitchell. Ms. Klenetsky received her BM at Juilliard in 2017. She holds the Allen and Judy Brick Freedman Scholarship, and a Juilliard Scholarship.

Chance Jonas-O’Toole, from Dallas, Tex., is a fourth-year undergraduate studying with Sanford Sylvan. At Juilliard, he is singing the role of Mercure in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie and sang Nebuchadnezzar in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace. Past Juilliard credits and covers include Lindoro in Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata, Spärlich in Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, and Pozdichodec in Janáček’s Katya Kabanova. Credits elsewhere include Paolino in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonial segreto, and a fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Festival last summer. He returns to Tanglewood this summer for a 2018 fellowship. He holds the Janet Southwick Norwood Scholarship, the Bertha Melnik Scholarship, and the Anna Case Mackay Scholarship.

About the New Juilliard Ensemble

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. More than 100 students participate each year, although the 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 2016-17 season included music by Andrew Ford, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, Tansy Davies, and Scott Wheeler; a program celebrating composer Sofia Gubaidulina’s 85th birthday year; and a closing concert with works by Juilliard composers Jonathan Cziner and Theo Chandler and composers Farangis Nurulla-Khoja; and Unsuk Chin.

The New Juilliard Ensemble performs in Juilliard’s Focus! festival. Recent editions have been: "China Today: A Festival of Chinese Compositions" (2018); “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).

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Program Listing:

Saturday, April 28, 2018, 7:30pm, Alice Tully Hall

New Juilliard Ensemble

Joel Sachs, conductor

Stephanie Block, viola

Anneliese Klenetsky, soprano

Chance Jonas-O’Toole, tenor


Kolbeinn BJARNASON (Iceland) After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns (2018, world premiere, composed for NJE)

Alejandro CARDONA (Costa Rica) Sweet Tijuana, danzas fronterizas (2007, US premiere)

Salvatore SCIARRINO (Italy) Fanofanìa (2010, New York premiere)

Jonathan DAWE (US) Orborium (2018, world premiere, composed for NJE)


Free tickets are available at

Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble
New Juilliard Ensemble, Led by Joel Sachs, Concludes Its Series With Premieres in Free Concert on Monday, April 28, 2018, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall (photo by Hiroyuki Ito)