Performance Friday, December 16, 2011 | 7:30 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


  • Ensemble ACJW
  • Pablo Heras-Casado, Conductor
  • Isabel Leonard, Mezzo-Soprano


  • BACH Orchestral Suite No. 1
  • HANDEL "Sta nell' Ircana" from Alcina
  • VIVALDI Sinfonia from Griselda
  • VIVALDI "Agitata da due venti" from Griselda
  • VIVALDI "Ombre Vane" from Griselda
  • RAVEL Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
  • SCHOENBERG Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38


  • 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, they 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. As part of a partnership with Skidmore College that began in 2007, Ensemble ACJW gives master classes to 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 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 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, Mannes College The New School for Music, New England Conservatory, 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. In their second year, the fellows take part in community work through the Weill Music Institute's Musical Connections program, in which they perform at multiple nontraditional music venues across New York City. In past years, they participated in community-based group projects, including a collaboration with residents of a Bronx family apartment complex, a pen-pal program that paired young students with professional musicians, and a performance of George Crumb's Voice of the Whale in the American Museum of Natural History's Millstein Hall of Ocean Life.

    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.

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  • Pablo Heras-Casado

    During the 2011-2012 season, conductor Pablo Heras-Casado makes his debuts with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdams Philharmonisch, Göteborgs Symfoniker, and Mariinsky Orchestra. In the US, he returns to the San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Houston symphony orchestras; Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Orchestra of St. Luke's. In October 2011, he returned to the Canadian Opera Company with Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride. Other highlights include his debut at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore and a tour with Freiburger Barockorchester in March 2012.

    Last season, Mr. Heras-Casado's operatic projects included Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonnywith Teatro Real and La Fura dels Baus, and Nixon in China with the Canadian Opera Company. In May 2011, he conducted world premiere performances of Hosokawa's Matsukaze at La Monnaie, a production that also travelled to Warsaw, Luxembourg, and to the Staatsoper Berlin. In past seasons, he conducted the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras, The Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra.

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  • Isabel Leonard

    Highly acclaimed for her passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty, Isabel Leonard continues to make waves in the classical music world at home in the US and abroad.

    Ms. Leonard opened the 2011-2012 season as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera, where she will return to sing Zerlina in a new production of Don Giovanni with conductor Sir Andrew Davis in the spring of 2012. She will also appear as Rosina at the Vienna Staatsoper and will perform the role of Ruggiero in the new David Alden production of Handel's Alcina at Opéra National de Bordeaux. Ms. Leonard closes the season as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Glyndebourne Festival and the BBC Proms.

    Past season highlights for Ms. Leonard include her performance as Costanza in Peter Sellars's production of Vivaldi's Griselda at Santa Fe Opera, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Vienna Staatsoper and Opéra national de Paris, Dorabella in Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera, and Sesto in Laurent Pelly's production of Giulio Cesare with conductor Emmanuelle Haïm at Opéra national de Paris. Ms. Leonard was the featured soloist in performances of Mozart's concert arias with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as in a concert of works by Igor Stravinsky and Manuel de Falla with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

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At a Glance

Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 is a rare example of a suite written for chamber orchestra, as opposed to a solo instrument. Stemming from a rich dance tradition, the work includes dances and instruments that are unusual for the composer.

The program includes other Baroque-era works from around Europe: arias from Handel’s Alcina and Vivaldi’s Griselda. All three arias on the program showcase virtuosic writing for voice: Both “Sta nell’ Ircana” and “Agitata da due venti” lay emphasis on speed and range, while “Ombre vane” demands long, lyrical phrases on pure tones.

Ravel’s impressionist Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé combines the incredible vocal challenges of Handel’s and Vivaldi’s arias with Bach’s chamber writing. Ravel draws his signature colorful, rich textures out of only a handful of instruments, while referencing Stravinsky’s and Schoenberg’s influence in this work.

The program concludes with Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 2, which took 33 years for him to finish. Having been composed across a vast stretch of his compositional life, the piece is an archeological work that explores Schoenberg’s changing musical beliefs and compositional techniques over time.
Program Notes

ACJW Collaborates with Emanuel Ax
Goldman Sachs Gives 48x37
Lead Support of The Academy is provided by Goldman Sachs Gives.

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 Susan and Edward C. Forst and Goldman Sachs Gives, The Diller–von Furstenberg Family Foundation, the Maxwell H. Gluck Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, The Kovner Foundation, Martha and Bob Lipp, Judith and Burton Resnick, and the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation.

Additional support has been provided by The Arnow Family Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari, The Edwin Caplin Foundation, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Mrs. Nancy A. Marks, Mr. and Mrs. Lester S. Morse Jr., the Edward John Noble Foundation, The Joe Plumeri Foundation, and Suki Sandler.

Additional funding provided by Breguet, in partnership with Henry and Elizabeth Segerstrom.

The Academy is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State.