Performance Saturday, December 14, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Ensemble ACJW

The Academy—a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education

Zankel Hall
“Both as an experienced and persuasive new-music conductor and as an insightful interpreter of the standard canon” (The New York Times), conductor David Robertson captures the attention of audiences whenever he stands at the podium. Few maestros are as energetic, vital, or riveting as Robertson, who has served as a champion of young musicians throughout his career. He returns to Carnegie Hall to lead an inventive program of music by Steve Reich, Bartók, and Berio with soprano Dawn Upshaw and Ensemble ACJW, a remarkable group of young professional musicians.

The contemporary work on this program is part of My Time, My Music.


  • Ensemble ACJW
    David Robertson, Conductor
  • Dawn Upshaw, Soprano


  • BERIO Folk Songs
  • STEVE REICH City Life
  • BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Ensemble ACJW

    Created in 2007 by Carnegie Hall's Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson and The Juilliard School's President Joseph W. Polisi, Ensemble ACJW is an inspirational collective of young professional musicians who are fellows in a two-year program that supports them in building careers as top-quality performers, innovative programmers, and dedicated teachers who fully engage with the communities in which they live and work.

    Ensemble ACJW 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 Colburn School , Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Rice University, University of Southern California, and Yale School of Music.

    Ensemble ACJW 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 (Le) Poisson Rouge nightclub in Greenwich Village, Subculture in NoHo, and Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn. As part of a partnership with Skidmore College that began in 2007, Ensemble ACJW 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 ACJW 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 ACJW 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 ACJW 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, advocacy, professional skills, and preparation for their in-school work.

    Exemplary performers, dedicated teachers, and advocates for music throughout the community, the forward-looking musicians of Ensemble ACJW are redefining what it means to be a musician in the 21st century. Visit to learn more.

    David Robertson

    A consummate musician, masterful programmer, and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today's most sought-after American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive knowledge of orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music making and stimulating ideas. In fall 2013, Mr. Robertson launched his ninth season as music director of the 134-year-old St. Louis Symphony. In January 2014, he assumes the post of chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

    In 2012-2013, Mr. Robertson led the St. Louis Symphony on two major tours: his first European tour with the orchestra-its first European engagements since 1998-in fall 2012, which included critically acclaimed appearances at London's BBC Proms, at the Berlin and Lucerne festivals, and at Paris's Salle Pleyel; and a spring 2013 California tour that included a three-day residency at the University of California, Davis, and performances at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and venues in Costa Mesa, Palm Desert, and Santa Barbara.

    Mr. Robertson is a frequent guest conductor with major orchestras and opera houses around the world. In the 2013-2014 season, he conducts the new production of Nico Muhly's Two Boys at the Metropolitan Opera and appears with orchestras that include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He also leads the summer 2014 US tour of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, a project of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. In past seasons, he has appeared nationally with the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras, Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras; and internationally with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Sydney and Melbourne symphony orchestras, among others.

    With more than 45 operas in his repertoire, Mr. Robertson has appeared at many of the world's most prestigious opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Opéra de Lyon, Bavarian State Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet, Hamburg State Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and San Francisco Opera.

    Born in Santa Monica, California, Mr. Robertson was educated at London's Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. Mr. Robertson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

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  • Dawn Upshaw

    Combining a rare, natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the communicative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire, ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. In 2007, she was awarded a fellowship by the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year "genius" grant, and in 2008 she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    From Salzburg, Paris, and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera (where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances), Ms. Upshaw has championed numerous new works created for her, including John Harbison's The Great Gatsby; Kaija Saariaho's Grawemeyer Award-winning opera L'amour de loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone; John Adams's nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov's chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre.

    Ms. Upshaw is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Ms. Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade. From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world, she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, unusual contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is the artistic director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center. Ms. Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale University, the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University.

     A four-time Grammy Award winner, Ms. Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki. Her most recent release on Deutsche Grammophon is Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, the third in a series of acclaimed recordings of Osvaldo Golijov's music.

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At a Glance

This evening's program presents a range of works written in the 20th century that draw influence from music and sounds from different parts of the world. Performed with soprano Dawn Upshaw, Berio's Folk Songs filters 11 popular melodies from around the world through the composer's avant-garde lens, including tunes from Armenia, Sicily, and Azerbaijan. Reich's City Life depicts the sounds and energy of New York City, featuring sounds that the composer recorded throughout the city, such as speech, car horns, police sirens, door slams, and subway chimes. The program concludes with one of Bartók's best-known works, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, which pulls elements found in his ethnomusicology research. Noted for its odd instrumentation, unique staging, and large emotional range, the piece has entered popular culture as part of the film soundtracks for Being John Malkovich and The Shining.
Program Notes
Lead funding for Ensemble ACJW is provided by the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund.

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, and Mr. and Mrs. Lester S. Morse Jr.

Additional support has been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari, The Edwin Caplin Foundation, Leslie and Tom Maheras, Phyllis and Charles Rosenthal, and Park Hyatt hotels.

Public support is provided, in part, by the New York City Department of Education.
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions I.

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