Jeffrey Milarsky Conducts AXIOM in Contemporary Works by John Zorn and Harrison Birtwistle

Mike Lawson • News • April 4, 2016

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Jeffrey MilarskyNEW YORK —  Jeffrey Milarsky conducts AXIOM, the acclaimed contemporary music ensemble, in works by American composer John Zorn and British composer Harrison Birtwistle in a free concert on Monday, April 11, 2016, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall.

The program features John Zorn’s Cat O’Nine Tails,performed by Juilliard’s graduate resident string quartet, the Verona Quartet (violinists Jonathan Ong, Dorothy Ro, violist Abigail Rojansky; and cellist Warren Hagerty), and Missa sine voces (2002); and Harrison Birtwistle’s Secret Theatre for chamber ensemble (1984).

Free tickets are available at the Juilliard or Alice Tully Hall box offices.


AXIOMAXIOM, 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 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, the group performed works by John Adams, Harrison Birtwistle, Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Conlon Nancarrow, and György Ligeti.

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.

Previous season highlights included works by Oliver Knussen, Charles Wuorinen, Arnold Schoenberg, Toru Takemitsu, Anthony Cheung, Veli-Matti Puumala, Sean Shepherd, Jukka Tiensuu, Wolfgang Rihm, Morton Feldman, and others.

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.

About the Verona Quartet

Hailed by critics as “thoughtful, impressive musicians” (Cleveland Classical), the Verona Quartet, formed in 2013, are winners of the 2015 Victor Elmaleh Concert Artists Guild Competition. Until 2015, the quartet was in residence at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is currently the graduate resident string quartet at The Juilliard School. They have been top prizewinners at competitions in the United States and around the world including First Prize and Audience Prize at the Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition, Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, Silver Medal and ProQuartet-CEMC Prize at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, Bronze Medal at the 7th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, Silver Medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, First Prize in the Kuttner String Quartet Competition and Bronze Medal at the 8th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition where critics lauded their “sensational, powerhouse performance” (Classical Voice America).

The Verona Quartet’s work as both performers and strong proponents of music education and outreach has taken them to Europe, the U.K., Asia, the Middle East and across North America where they have been featured at venues including the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, the Beethoven-Haus, the Melbourne Recital Centre and on both NPR and PBS. Upcoming projects include concerts at Alice Tully Hall, the La Jolla SummerFest, teaching and performances at the Indiana University String Academy and their Carnegie Hall debut in February of 2017.

The Verona Quartet play instruments generously loaned through the Juilliard School Rare Instrument Collection.

Program Listing:

Monday, April 11, 2016, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall


Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Verona Quartet

John ZORN Cat O’Nine Tails (1988) 

ZORN: Missa sine voces (2012)

Harrison BIRTWISTLE Secret Theatre for chamber ensemble (1984)

Free tickets are available at the Juilliard or Alice Tully Hall box offices.

AXIOM, conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky (photo by Richard Termine) 

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