Juilliard’s “Focus” festival spotlights works commissioned by public radio stations

Posted on: January 29, 2019

“Think of the great patrons of music, and some resonant names come to mind: Nikolaus, Prince Esterhazy, for instance, who for three decades employed Joseph Haydn,” writes Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in Sunday’s (1/27) New York Times. “But cast around for their successors … and you encounter a string of initials: BBC, WDR, SWR…. This year’s Focus Festival at the Juilliard School … opened on Friday with a stimulating concert by the New Juilliard Ensemble…. Under the banner ‘On the Air! A Salute to 75 Years of International Radio Commissioning,’ the festival presents five more programs, through Feb. 1…. The conductor Joel Sachs, who designed the festival … said that in his research he had learned of a handful of new works commissioned by isolated American broadcasters…. But these numbers paled next to the statistics he gathered of radio commissions from Europe and Canada in the postwar era. The BBC supplied a list, possibly incomplete, of nearly 1,600 compositions. Radio France listed 2,300 titles…. [Through] Finnish Radio … a Modernist gem like Jouni Kaipainen’s [1981] ‘Trois Morceaux de l’Aube’ came into being. It received a superb performance on Friday by the cellist Sasha Scolnik-Brower and the pianist Michalis Boliakis.”

Posted January 29, 2019