Juilliard Announces New Student-Run Chamber Ensemble
The JUILLIARD SCHOOL has unveiled AXIOM, a new student-run chamber ensemble that will only focus on playing 20th-century works. At the ensemble’s debut in April at Juilliard’s Lincoln Center campus, the program featured Toru Takemitsu’s Tree Line; Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Tragoedia; Anton Webern’s Konzert, Opus 24; and Steve Reich’s City Life.
“To not experience these pieces is a crime, especially for young students about to graduate,” says Juilliard alum JEFFREY MILARSKY, pictured here, the ensemble’s music director. He adds that the group will focus on “playing classics of the 20th century—not new works or commissioned works, but recent works.”
Playing contemporary works for public performance continues to be an expensive endeavor, leaving the works primarily in the domain of larger, state-funded ensembles in Europe, where arts funding is more plentiful than in the United States. Besides experiencing an expanded chamber-ensemble repertoire, Axiom’s members can also expect to be challenged on technique. “Playing this style of music is so important to string playing styles,” Milarsky says. “It will stretch the boundaries of string playing [that] this music will absolutely call for. You can’t play Birstwistle the way you play Tchaikovsky.”