Ensemble ACJW Has A New Name: Ensemble Connect
On the eve of its 10th anniversary season, Ensemble ACJW has a new
The two-year fellowship—created in 2007 by Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School,
and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department
of Education—enters a new decade, continuing to prepare the finest young
professional classical musicians in the country for innovative careers
combining musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy,
entrepreneurship, and leadership. The program, which now has 101 alumni,
welcomes 18 new musicians this season, including graduates of such schools and
conservatories as Juilliard, Yale, Oberlin, Curtis Institute of Music, Indiana
University, and the New England Conservatory. Over the next two years, these
musicians will receive top-quality performance opportunities, intensive professional
development, and the opportunity to partner with a New York City public school.
The new name—Ensemble Connect—reflects the core values of the program and its ensemble members—musicians of the 21st century who are making new connections to schools, students, communities, and audiences through the music they perform. The ensemble’s musicians make strong connections to each other and to the ideas presented in professional development, equipping them to come out of the program ready to forge their own paths and make a difference through music. The ensemble’s new name will be effective at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season, and will be phased into program materials in the coming months. The program originally launched in January 2007 as The Academy, with Ensemble ACJW as its performing name, and was later shortened to Ensemble ACJW.
Concert highlights of Ensemble Connect’s 2016–2017 10th anniversary season will include programs at Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and other venues throughout New York City. The group’s first concert will be at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, October 16 with Perspectives artist Sir Simon Rattle leading a Zankel Hall performance of Hans Zender’s fascinating reimagining of Schubert’s Winterreise with acclaimed tenor Mark Padmore. Ensemble Connect will perform a free concert at The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall on Thursday, January 5, marking almost 10 years to the day that the program was launched. The ensemble also premieres new music by Caroline Shaw, who will join the group on violin for a performance of her new work commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of its 125 Commissions Project for the La Serenissima festival, on Monday, February 20 in Weill Recital Hall. Concerts this season also include performances of music by Schubert, Shostakovich, Copland, David Bruce, and more. In addition, for the first time, Ensemble Connect will invite local school and community audiences to Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing to participate in interactive performances, and will offer free concerts in all five boroughs as part of the ensemble’s anniversary season.
In another season highlight, Ensemble Connect takes part in a residency in Paris, France in cooperation with The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations from December 9 to 16, 2016, consisting of workshops led by Ensemble Connect fellows at local Paris schools as well as concerts at the Philharmonie de Paris and the Conservatoire de Paris. The residency concert at the Salle de répétition at the Philharmonie de Paris on December 12 includes a performance with soprano Natalie Dessay with works by Debussy and Fauré. On December 15, Ensemble Connect performs works by Boulez, Michael Jarrell, and Phillippe Leroux at the Conservatoire de Paris conducted by Jean-Christophe Vervoitte, horn player with France’s noted Ensemble intercontemporain.
Ensemble Connect is set to play a wide variety of free concerts throughout the 2016-2017 season—in its annual series at The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall and as part of Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concerts. The ensemble also continues its highly successful biannual residency at Skidmore College, continuing the commitment of bringing music and community engagement to the Saratoga Springs, New York area. During their residency in October, composer David Bruce will work with Ensemble Connect on his work Steampunk, originally composed for the ensemble in 2011.
In addition to their performances, members of Ensemble Connect will begin year-long residencies at New York City public schools this fall—including eleven public schools that are new to the program—with each musician working alongside a partner music teacher, all bringing their expert musicianship as well as a professional performer’s perspective to band, keyboard, and string programs in music classrooms in all five city boroughs. Each member of Ensemble Connect will develop and play in interactive ensemble concerts, bringing high-quality performances to their school’s audience as well to their fellow Ensemble Connect colleagues’ schools and a variety of community venues.
Introducing the 2016–2017 Ensemble Connect Fellows
Ensemble Connect is excited to welcome the following musicians who join the group for the next two seasons:
Rebecca Anderson, Violin (Portland, Oregon)
- Curtis Institute of Music (Undergraduate) / The Juilliard School (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: PS/IS 226 in Brooklyn.
Mari Lee, Violin (Tokyo, Japan)
- New England Conservatory (Undergraduate) / Universität der Künste Berlin (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: PS 16 in Queens
Adelya Nartadjieva, Violin (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
- Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore (Undergraduate) / Yale School of Music (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn
Andrew Gonzalez, Viola (Chesapeake, Virginia)
- The Juilliard School (Undergraduate and Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: PS/MS 7 in Manhattan
Maren Rothfritz, Viola (Paderborn, Germany)
- Hochschule für Musik Detmoldand (Undergraduate) / New England Conservatory (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: City College Academy of the Arts in Manhattan
Madeline Fayette, Cello (Wading River, New York)
- The Juilliard School (Undergraduate and Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Maspeth High School in Queens
Julia Yang, Cello (Tallahassee, Florida)
- Northwestern University (Undergraduate) / New England Conservatory (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn
Lizzie Burns, Double Bass (Maplewood, New Jersey)
- New England Conservatory (Undergraduate) / Boston University (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music
Rosie Gallagher, Flute (Sydney, Australia)
- The Juilliard School (Undergraduate) / The Royal Academy of Music (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Grover Cleveland High School in Queens
Bixby Kennedy, Clarinet (Maryville, Tennessee)
- Indiana University (Undergraduate) / Yale School of Music (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Manhattan East Middle School in Manhattan
Yoonah Kim, Clarinet (Langley, British Columbia, Canada)
- Mannes School of Music (Undergraduate) / The Juilliard School (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Wagner Middle School in Manhattan
Remy Taghavi, Bassoon (St. Paul, Minnesota)
- University of Southern California (Undergraduate) / The Juilliard School (Graduate) / Stony Brook University (Doctoral Candidate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: PS 63 in Queens
Nicolee Kuester, French Horn (Boulder, Colorado)
- Oberlin Conservatory (Undergraduate) / UCSD (Graduate and Doctoral Candidate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: High School for Public Service in Brooklyn
Brian Olson, Trumpet (Dayton, New Jersey)
- New England Conservatory (Undergraduate) / The Juilliard School (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: IS 237 in Queens
Oliver Barrett, Trombone (Houston, Texas)
- Manhattan School of Music (Undergraduate) / The Juilliard School (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: George Ryan JHS in Queens
Brandon Ilaw, Percussion (Glenwood, New Jersey)
- Boston Conservatory (Undergraduate) / The Juilliard School (Graduate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Port Richmond High School in Staten Island
Lee Dionne, Piano (Ridgefield, Connecticut)
- Yale College (Undergraduate) / Hochschule für Musik, Medien, und Theater (Artist Diploma candidate) / Yale School of Music (Graduate and Doctoral Candidate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: Fairmont Neighborhood School in the Bronx
Mika Sasaki, Piano (Demarest, New Jersey)
- Peabody Institute (Undergraduate and Graduate) / The Juilliard School (Doctoral Candidate)
- Partnered with NYC Public School: IS 25 in Queens
Ensemble Connect, 2016–2017 Concert Season
During the 2016–2017 season, Ensemble Connect performs concerts at a number of venues, including Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall; The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall; in New York City community venues as part of the free Neighborhood Concerts presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute; and at Skidmore College’s Arthur Zankel Music Center, Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall.
2016–2017 season highlights include:
- Sunday, October 16 at Zankel Hall – Conductor Sir Simon Rattle leads Ensemble Connect in a performance of Schubert’s Winterreise—A Composed Interpretation for Tenor and Small Orchestra by Hans Zender, featuring tenor Mark Padmore, as part of Maestro Rattle’s two-year Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall.
- Friday, October 21 at Skidmore College – Ensemble Connect performs a program featuring David Bruce’s Steampunk and Schubert’s Octet in F Major, D. 803.
- Tuesday, November 15 at Paul Hall – Ensemble Connect performs a free concert at Juilliard’s Paul Hall featuring Barber’s Summer Music, Op. 31, Sean Shepherd’s Octet, and Brahms’s Sextet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 36. (This program will also be performed as part of Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert series on Sunday, November 13 at Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church).
- Tuesday, December 6 at Weill Recital Hall – Ensemble Connect performs Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes, Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, and Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57.
- Thursday, January 5 at Paul Hall – Ensemble Connect performs Villa-Lobos’s Assobio a Jato, Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-flat Major, K. 452, and Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47, almost 10 years to the day that the program was founded.
- Monday, February 20 at Weill Recital Hall – Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw joins Ensemble Connect on violin for the premiere of her new work, commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of its 125 Commissions Project for the La Serenissima festival. The program also includes Rosenmüller’s Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Marcello’s Oboe Concerto in C Minor and Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (arr. Berio), and selections by Vivaldi. (This program will also be performed on Friday, February 17 at Skidmore College).
- Tuesday, March 7 at Paul Hall – Ensemble Connect performs a free concert at Juilliard’s Paul Hall that features Edgard Varése’s Octandre for Flute, Winds, and Brass, Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4, and Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor.
- Tuesday, April 25 at Weill Recital Hall – Ensemble Connect performs a program of works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Silvestre Revueltas, Ingram Marshall, and Aaron Copland.
- Tuesday, May 23 at Paul Hall – Ensemble Connect performs a free concert at Juilliard’s Paul Hall that features Mozart’s String Quintet in C Major, K. 515, and Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat Major, Op. 20. (This program will also be performed as part of Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert series on Sunday, May 21 at Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church).
2016-2017 Residencies & Special Projects
Paris Residency: Ensemble Connect takes part in a residency in Paris, France from December 9 to 16 made possible by a partnership with The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations. Reflecting the educational and performance work the ensemble does in New York City, fellows will conduct workshops in local schools and give a concert at the Paris Conservatoire for children ages 9 to 11. The residency includes a private concert for Rothschild guests at the Salle de répétition at the Philharmonie de Paris, and a public performance at the Conservatoire de Paris conducted by Jean-Christophe Vervoitte, horn player with Ensemble intercontemporain.
For more information about the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, please visit http://www.edrfoundations.org.
Skidmore College: For the 10th consecutive year, Ensemble Connect returns to Saratoga Springs, New York, for two five-day residencies at Skidmore College from October 17–21, and from February 13–17. During these residencies, the fellows engage with Skidmore College students, as well as the broader Saratoga Springs community. While on campus, they work with music department faculty and students, offering master classes, lessons, and class demonstrations. The fellows also play side by side with the students of the Skidmore College Orchestra and read student composers’ new works. Ensemble Connect performs in the Arthur Zankel Music Center, this season presenting concerts that include David Bruce’s Steampunk in October and the world premiere of a Carnegie Hall–commissioned piece by Caroline Shaw in February. In addition, the fellows offer collaborative demonstrations and informal performances beyond the music department in classes, dormitories, and libraries, as well as in schools and other community venues in the Saratoga Springs area.
Musical Connections: Throughout the season, fellows participate in community-based performances across New York City through Musical Connections, a program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. This program is designed to bring live music to people coping with challenging circumstances in correctional facilities, senior care facilities, as well as for special needs populations and those without access to live music. Fellows also perform several times per year as part of the Weill Music Institute’s free Neighborhood Concerts.
Over the past 10 years, Carnegie Hall has maintained close relationships with the program’s 101 alumni. As the reputation of the ensemble has grown, demand for work by its alumni has developed as well. In 2011, Decoda—a group exclusively made up of program alumni—was formed and later named as an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall. Program alums have also co-founded music ensembles, festivals, and non-profit organizations such as Third Coast Percussion, Genghis Barbie, New Docta International Music Festival, Scrag Mountain Music, Miami Chamber Music Society, Las Vegas Wine and Music Festival, and Musicambia. They are members of world-renowned orchestras and ensembles, such as the New York Philharmonic, Ensemble intercontemporain, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, The Knights, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Canadian Brass. Many alumni also hold faculty and guest artist teaching positions at US universities and colleges.
Additionally, alumni regularly perform with current fellows in Ensemble Connect, lead professional development sessions, serve as advisors for current fellows, and perform as part of the Weill Music Institute’s Family Concerts series and Musical Connections program.
About Ensemble Connect
Celebrating its 10th anniversary during the 2016-2017 season, Ensemble Connect—formerly known as Ensemble ACJW—was created in 2007 by Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson and The Juilliard School’s President Joseph W. Polisi. Ensemble Connect is a two-year fellowship program for the finest young professional classical musicians in the United States that prepares them for careers combining musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership. It offers them top-quality performance opportunities, intensive professional development, and the opportunity to partner throughout the fellowship with a New York City public school.
Ensemble Connect fellows—chosen for their musicianship, but also for their leadership qualities and commitment to music education—come from some of the best music schools in the country, including the Curtis Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Peabody Institute, Stony Brook University, University of Southern California, and Yale School of Music.
Ensemble Connect has earned accolades from critics and audiences alike for the quality of its performances as well as its fresh and open-minded approach, performing a wide range of music—from centuries past to works written days before an event—in a variety of performance venues. The group performs its own series at Carnegie Hall and has regularly appeared at The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall and other venues throughout New York City, including National Sawdust, (Le) Poisson Rouge nightclub in Greenwich Village, Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, and SubCulture in NoHo. As part of a partnership with Skidmore College that began in 2007, Ensemble Connect gives master classes for university students and performs for the Saratoga Springs community in both concert halls and in informal settings around town.
Along with performance opportunities at premier venues in New York City and beyond, Ensemble Connect fellows each partner with a New York City public school to share their artistry with—and become central resources for—music classrooms in the five boroughs. Ensemble Connect fellows also take part in community work through the Weill Music Institute’s Musical Connections program, in which they perform at multiple non-traditional music venues across New York City, including healthcare settings, correctional facilities, and senior-service organizations. Throughout the two-year program, Ensemble Connect fellows participate in rigorous, ongoing professional development to ensure that they gain the necessary skills to be successful in all areas of the program and to become leaders in their field. Areas of emphasis include artistic excellence, engagement strategies on and off the stage, entrepreneurship, leadership, advocacy, and preparation for their in-school work.
Exemplary performers, dedicated teachers, and advocates for music throughout the community, the forward-looking musicians of Ensemble Connect are redefining what it means to be a musician in the 21st century.
Major funding has been provided by The Diller–von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Susan and Edward C. Forst and Goldman Sachs Gives, the Max H. Gluck Foundation, the Irving Harris Foundation, The Kovner Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Lester S. Morse Jr., Phyllis and Charles Rosenthal, The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, and Ernst & Young LLP.
Additional support has been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari, Leslie and Tom Maheras, Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, and Trust for Mutual Understanding.
Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Education, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Ensemble Connect is also supported, in part, by an endowment grant from The Kovner Foundation.
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