On the eve of its 10th anniversary season, Ensemble ACJW has a new name—Ensemble Connect. 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. 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, Poulenc 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.