Focus 2019 Presents On the Air! A Salute to 75 Years of International Radio Commissioning, January 25 Through February 1, 2019

Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018
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Focus Opens on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 7:30pm in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater With the New Juilliard Ensemble, Led by Joel Sachs, Performing Works by Pagh-Paan, Matthews, Sciarrino, and Nishimura

Focus Closes on Friday, February 1, 2019, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall With the Juilliard Orchestra, Conducted by Gil Rose, in Works by Olivero, Ligeti, and Tippett

Chamber Music Concerts Take Place Monday, January 28, Through Thursday, January 31, 2019

NEW YORK –– The 35th annual Focus festival, On the Air: A Salute to 75 Years of International Radio Commissioning, opens on Friday, January 25, 2019 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 U-Mul (The Well) (1992) by Younghi Pagh-Paan (Korea/Germany); A Voice to Wake (2005) by Colin Matthews (U.K.); Archeologia del telefono (2005) by Salvatore Sciarrino (Italy); and Corps d’arc-en-ciel (2008) by Akira Nishimura (Japan).

The Juilliard Orchestra, led by Gil Rose, performs the closing-night concert on Friday, February 1, 2019, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall. The program features Tenuót (1990) by Betty Olivero (Israel); Lontano (1967) by György Ligeti (Hungary/Germany); and Symphony No. 2 (1956-7) by Michael Tippett (U.K.). [Please note: Anne Manson, who was originally scheduled to conduct this concert had to withdraw due to minor shoulder surgery that couldn’t be rescheduled. We are delighted to welcome Gil Rose.]

Chamber music concerts take place from Monday, January 28, through Thursday, January 31, 2019. Sachs moderates a pre-oncert roundtable on Tuesday, January 29, at 6:30pm in Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

All Focus festival events are free; tickets are available at juilliard.edu/calendar.

(The complete program for the festival follows at the end of this press release.)

About the Program

About this season’s festival, Joel Sachs writes: “I unexpectedly realized the role of radio in October 2017, while writing a program note about Argentinean-German composer Mauricio Kagel for a New Juilliard Ensemble concert. Because Kagel settled in Cologne, I began thinking about the extraordinary post- World War II new music scene that flourished there, where he and many other compositional giants, German and foreign, had settled. Being reasonably acquainted with that Rhineland city and its institutions, I immediately recalled the German letters WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk, West German Broadcasting), the radio-TV public broadcast based there. An enormous operation, WDR generally considered the most important broadcaster in German, with five radio transmissions, television, internet broadcasts, and a group of external studios in various cities around Germany’s industrial heartland. Having had a professional relationship with WDR 3, I realized that it has had a vital role as one of the most prominent of European radio stations with its decades-old commissioning program. Dots began to connect. I had performed or recorded at the BBC, Radio France, Swiss stations in Zurich and Basel, Austrian radio in Salzburg, but what had never struck me was that they all were busily commissioning composers, not just creating background music for radio dramas, but also music intended for live performance in concerts, and not just those composers who produced ‘comfortable’ music. Suddenly I had a topic for Focus 2019: ‘On the Air! A Salute to 75 Years of International Radio Commissions.’”

About Joel Sachs

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, 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, Sachs wrote the first full biography of the American composer Henry Cowell, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. Sachs often appears on radio as a commentator on recent music and has been a regular delegate to numerous international music conferences. A graduate of Harvard, Sachs received his PhD from Columbia University. In 2011, he was made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard for his work in support of new music, and he 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.

About the New Juilliard Ensemble

The New Juilliard Ensemble, led by founding director Joel Sachs and now in its 26th season, presents music by a variety of international composers who write in the most diverse styles. The ensemble appears regularly at MoMA’s Summergarden and has been a featured ensemble four times at the Lincoln Center Festival. It has given world premieres of some 100 compositions and U.S. premieres of many others. Concerts in the 2017-18 season included music by John Woolrich, Gerald Barry, Raminta Šerkšnytė, Akira Nishimura, Mauricio Kagel, Giya Kancheli, Shuci Wang, Liu Sola, Sunbin Kim, Kolbeinn Bjarnason, Alejandro Cardona, and Jonathan Dawe. 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, NJE 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: China Today: A Festival of Chinese Composition (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). It will open the 2019 Focus festival, On the Air!, a celebration of the decades-long commissioning projects of European and Canadian broadcasters.

About Gil Rose

Gil Rose is a conductor helping to shape the future of classical music. His dynamic performances and many recordings have garnered international critical praise. In 1996, Rose founded the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) and under his leadership it has earned 15 ASCAP awards for adventurous programming, the John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music, and it was named Musical America’s 2016 Ensemble of the Year. Rose is also the founder of Odyssey Opera and was the first artistic director of Opera Boston. Rose guest conducts on both opera and symphonic platforms, including the American Composers Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, and the National Orchestra of Porto. Rose is the recipient of an ASCAP Concert Music Award for his exemplary commitment to new American music and is a four-time Grammy nominee.

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Focus Festival 2019

On the Air! A Salute to 75 Years of International Radio Commissioning

 

Program I

Friday, January 25, 2019, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

New Juilliard Ensemble

Joel Sachs, Founding Director and Conductor

Nicolette Mavroleon, Soprano (Pre-College ’11; BM ’15; MM ’17, voice)

Younghi PAGH-PAAN (Korea/Germany): U-Mul (The Well) (1992, Western Hemisphere premiere), commissioned by WDR (Cologne)

Colin MATTHEWS (U.K.): A Voice to Wake (2005, first performance outside the U.K.), commissioned by the BBC

Salvatore SCIARRINO (Italy): Archeologia del telefono (2005), commissioned by SWR (Stuttgart and Baden-Baden) for Klangforum Wien

Akira NISHIMURA (Japan): Corps d’arc-en-ciel (2008), commissioned by Radio France

 

Program II

Monday, January 28, 2019, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Peteris VASKS (Latvia): Bass Trip (2002-03)

Toshio HOSOKAWA (Japan): Gesine (2009)

Tigran MANSURIAN (Armenia): Ode to the Lotus (2012)

Jörg WIDMANN (Germany): Toccata (2002)

Aaron Jay KERNIS (U.S.): Two Movements (with bells) (2007), commissioned by the BBC Proms

Zygmunt KRAUZE (Poland): String Quartet No. 3 (1982, Western Hemisphere premiere), commissioned by Radio France

All the pieces in the first half were commissioned by ARD, the Consortium of Public Broadcasters in the Federal Republic of Germany, for the Munich International Competition, a project of Bavarian Radio.

 

Program III

Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Free Pre-concert conversation about music and radio broadcasting, with John Schaefer and Joel Sachs at 6:30pm

John WOOLRICH (U.K.): A Singing Sky (2009)

Chaya CZERNOWIN (Israel/U.S.): Adiantum Capillus-Veneris (2015)

Stefano GERVASONI (Italy): Drei Grabschriften upon epitaphs by Nelly Sachs (2017-8, world premiere of the complete set)

All of the above works were commissioned by ARD, the Consortium of German Public Broadcasters, for the Munich International Competition, a project of Bavarian Radio.

Hans ABRAHAMSEN (Denmark): Six Pieces for French Horn, Violin, and Piano (1984)

Kati AGÓCS (Canada): Nostalgia for Arts Unheard (2007, U.S. premiere), commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Luciano BERIO (Italy): Sequenza No. 14 (2002), commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

 

Program IV

Wednesday, January 30, 2019, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

John HARBISON (U.S.): Six American Painters (2000), commissioned by WGUC-Cincinnati

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (USSR/German): String Trio (1989), commissioned by Radio France

Katie TCHEMBERDI (Russia/German): Ma-or (Light) (2003, U.S. premiere)

Commissioned by ARD, the Consortium of Public Broadcasters in the Federal Republic of Germany, for the Munich International Competition, a project of Bavarian Radio.

Esa-Pekka SALONEN (Finland): knock, breathe, shine (2010), commisioned by ARD, the Consortium of Public Broadcasters in the Federal Republic of Germany, for the Munich International Competition, a project of Bavarian Radio

György LIGETI (Hungary/Germany): From Etudes, Book 3 (1995-2001), Nos. 16 (Pour Irina), 17 (À bout de souffle), and 18 (Canon), commissioned by (No. 16) Sŭdwestfunk (now Sŭdwest Radio), Baden-Baden; (No. 17) the BBC; (No. 18) Radio France and the Wiener Konzerthaus

 

Program V

Thursday, January 31, 2019, at 7:30pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Rolf WALLIN (Norway): Sway (2010, Western Hemisphere premiere), commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk for Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik; co-commissioned by the Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway, with funding from Arts Council Norway

Philippe HERSANT (France): Piano Trio (1998), commissioned by Radio France

Mauricio KAGEL (Argentina/Germany): An Tasten (1977), commissioned by ORD (Austrian Radio)

Deidre GRIBBIN (Ireland): Merrow Sang (2008, U.S. premiere), commissioned by RTE (Irish Radio)

Paul FREHNER (Canada): Slowdown, for piano triette (2003-04), commissioned by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

 

Program VI

Friday, February 1, 2019, at 7:30pm, Alice Tully Hall

Juilliard Orchestra

Gil Rose, Conductor

Betty OLIVERO (Israel): Tenuót (1990), commissioned by WDR, Cologne

György LIGETI (Hungary/Germany): Lontano (1967), commissioned by SWF (now SWR), Stuttgart and Baden-Baden

Michael TIPPETT (U.K.): Symphony No. 2 (1956-7), commissioned by the BBC

[Please note: Anne Manson, who was originally scheduled to conduct this concert had to withdraw due to minor shoulder surgery that couldn’t be rescheduled. We are delighted to welcome Gil Rose.]

 

All events are free; tickets are available at juilliard.edu/calendar.

Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble
Focus 2019 Presents On the Air! A Salute to 75 Years of International Radio Commissioning, January 25 Through February 1, 2019 (photo by Nan Melville)