Performance Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | 6 PM

Ensemble ACJW

Featuring musicians of 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
This energetic collective of fellows from The Academy has earned accolades for its fresh approach to wide-ranging repertoire. It’s joined here by Robert Spano, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's music director, in a performance of Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles.


  • Ensemble ACJW
    Robert Spano, Conductor
  • Juho Pohjonen, Piano
  • Laura Weiner, Horn
  • Ian Sullivan, Xylorimba
  • Jared Soldiviero, Glockenspiel


  • MESSIAEN Des canyons aux étoiles …


  • Ensemble ACJW

    Ensemble ACJW is an inspirational collective of outstanding young professional musicians from The Academy that has earned accolades from critics and audiences alike for the quality of its performances, as well as its fresh and open-minded approach to performance and programming. In a variety of venues, its members have played a wide range of music-from works written centuries ago to those completed days before-with verve and total commitment to their art.

    The group performs its own series at Carnegie Hall and regularly appears at The Juilliard School's Paul Hall and other venues throughout New York City, including a series at (Le) Poisson Rouge nightclub in Greenwich Village. 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 both in concert halls and in informal settings around town.

    All Ensemble ACJW members are alumni or current fellows of The Academy, a two-year fellowship program created in 2007 by Carnegie Hall's Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson and The Juilliard School's President Joseph W. Polisi to support the finest young professional musicians develop their careers as top-quality performers, innovative programmers, and dedicated teachers who are fully engaged with the communities in which they live and work.

    Fellows of the two-year Academy program-chosen not only 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.

    In addition to performance opportunities at the highest level, a robust program of professional development is an essential part of The Academy. Fellows partner with New York City public schools to share their artistry with-and become central resources for-music classrooms in the five boroughs. 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.

    Exemplary performers, dedicated teachers, and advocates for music throughout the community, the fellows of The Academy that make up Ensemble ACJW are redefining what it means to be a musician in the 21st century. Visit to learn more.

    Robert Spano

    Robert Spano is one of the brightest and most imaginative conductors of his generation. As music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has elevated the ensemble to new levels of international prominence. As music director of the val and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen's American Academy of Conducting.

    Under Maestro Spano's guidance, the ASO and audiences explore a creative programming mix, recordings, and visual enhancements, and the Atlanta School of Composers reflects Spano's commitment to American contemporary music. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at the Ravinia, Ojai, and Savannah music festivals. He has made guest appearances with the major orchestras of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia, as well as the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has conducted for Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera (2005 and 2009 Ring cycles), and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

    With an extensive discography of 21 recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon, and ASO Media, Mr. Spano has garnered six Grammy Awards. Dedicated to pedagogy and multidisciplinary studies, he completed a three-year residency at Emory University, is on faculty at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin. In May 2009, Mr. Spano was awarded Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award for the advancement of American music.

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  • Juho Pohjonen

    One of the brightest young instrumental talents to emerge from Finland, Juho Pohjonen has attracted great attention as one of the Nordic country's most intriguing and talented pianists. Season highlights for 2012-2013 include performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with Olari Elts, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with James MacMillan, and Iceland Symphony Orchestra with François-Xavier Roth. In the US, Mr. Pohjonen makes his debut at the Aspen Music Festival; performs with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York and Chicago; and gives recitals in New York, La Jolla, and Washington, DC.

    Mr. Pohjonen has given recitals at Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as performances in Dresden, Hamburg, Helsinki, San Francisco, Vancouver, Alicante, Warsaw, and Hong Kong. He has also given recitals at the Lucerne, Gilmore, Savonlinna, Bergen, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festivals. Mr. Pohjonen has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Symfoniorkester, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Scottish Chamber and Philharmonia orchestras, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Zagrebačke filharmonije, and Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

    Mr. Pohjonen's debut recording, Plateaux, features two works by Scandinavian composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: a piano concerto Plateaux pour piano et orchestre with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and a solo piano piece For Piano. His sensational opening recital at the 2010 Music@Menlo festival led to a recording for the Music@Menlo Live   series entitled Maps and Legends: Disc 8.

    Mr. Pohjonen began his music studies in 1989 at the Junior Academy of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He studied with Meri Louhos and Hui-Ying Liu at the Sibelius Academy, where he completed his master's degree in 2008.

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  • Laura Weiner

    A native of Colorado Springs, French horn player Laura Weiner received her bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Northwestern University and her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a University Fellowship. She has performed with musical groups as diverse as the New World Symphony, Ensemble Dal Niente, and Madison Bach Musicians. She has also been a member of the La Crosse and Beloit Janesville symphony orchestras in Wisconsin, and has played in orchestras at the Texas Music Festival, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. As a chamber musician, she was a fellow of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Her principal teachers include Gail Williams, Douglas Hill, William Barnewitz, and Daniel Grabois.

    As an advocate for accessible and interesting performances, Ms. Weiner has co-directed the chamber music collective Classical Revolution Madison and served as the programming director for Grace Presents, an outreach concert series in Madison. For four years, she directed a weekly mentorship program for at-risk youth in Evanston, Illinois, called the Breakfast Club. As part of her Academy program, Ms. Weiner teaches in Queens at Grover Cleveland High School.

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  • Ian Sullivan

    Ian Sullivan received a master's degree from The Juilliard School in 2012, where he studied with Markus Rhoten, Greg Zuber, and Daniel Druckman. While pursuing a bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan, he studied with Michael Udow, Brian Jones, Joseph Gramley, and Ian Ding. Mr. Sullivan has performed with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, So Percussion, Sharon Isbin, Axiom, Salomé Chamber Orchestra, and Mark Morris Dance Group at such prestigious venues as Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Seiji Ozawa Hall.

    A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. Sullivan has performed in the Verbier Festival Orchestra. He was previously a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he performed with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; he was also a fellow at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. For three summers, Mr. Sullivan participated in the Aspen Music Festival, receiving the Charles Owen Fellowship in 2009. He has been awarded the Fred Hoey Memorial Scholarship and Avedis Zildjian Percussion Scholarship, and was winner of the Interlochen Arts Academy Concerto Competition. As part of his Academy program, Mr. Sullivan teaches in Queens at MS 158 Marie Curie.  

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  • Jared Soldiviero

    Percussionist Jared Soldiviero enjoys a multifaceted career in his hometown of New York City. As an orchestral musician, he served as the principal timpanist at Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado, and has performed with the symphonies of Vermont, Springfield, Stamford, and Albany, as well as the American Ballet Theatre and New York Philharmonic. With a strong interest in contemporary music, Mr. Soldiviero has taken part in numerous premieres at the Lucerne Festival under Pierre Boulez, and with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Newband, Alarm Will Sound, and Wordless Music. Ensemble XII, of which he is an original member, has premiered nearly a dozen commissions for large percussion ensemble.

    Mr. Soldiviero was an inaugural fellow of The Academy at Carnegie Hall and has toured with Ensemble ACJW around the world. He is also a founding member of The Declassified, a collective of like-minded musicians who strive to combine excellent concerts with community-based education.

    Mr. Soldiviero's compositions, available at Bachovich Music Publications, have been performed by percussion ensembles at Boston University, Rutgers, and New York University. As a conductor, he has led Ensemble ACJW, Juilliard Percussion Ensemble, ACME, and Fireworks Ensemble. Mr. Soldiviero holds bachelor's and master's degrees from The Juilliard School, where he was a student of Roland Kohloff and Gordon Gottlieb.

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At a Glance

Des canyons aux étoiles … was written to celebrate the bicentennial of the US Declaration of Independence. The work was commissioned by Alice Tully, the prolific patron of the arts in New York City. Composed between the years 1971 and 1974, Des canyons is a comment on the natural beauty found in Bryce Canyon, Utah, and the neighboring national parks of Cedar Breaks and Zion Park. Messiaen traveled to Utah in 1973 and was inspired by the vastness of the sky in the Midwest, the many different colors of red in the walls of the canyons, and songs of the birds that he heard there.

In response to Messiaen's composition and his statement that southern Utah was the most mystical landscape he had ever encountered, the citizens of Utah successfully petitioned to rename a mountain in his honor. Mt. Messiaen was dedicated on August 5, 1978; this day was also officially proclaimed "Olivier Messiaen and the Beauty of Southern Utah Day" by the governor of Utah.

Written for four soloists—piano, French horn, xylorimba, and glockenspiel—and chamber orchestra, Des canyons aux étoiles …  is a masterful tone poem that translates stunning visual beauty into raw, ecstatic sound.
Program Notes

ACJW Collaborates with Emanuel Ax
Major funding for 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–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 The Bodman Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari, The Edwin Caplin Foundation, and Leslie and Tom Maheras.

Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts.
This performance is part of Twentieth Century Sounds, and Off the Beaten Track.