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Ensemble du Monde Opens Season with NIGHT PRAYERS, 10/2

Ensemble du Monde, led by Marlon Daniel, celebrates the opening of its 2010/11 season on Saturday October 2, 2010 at 8:00 pm in Merkin Concert Hall, Kaufmann Center for the Arts. This first concert of the year, entitled "Night Prayers", features clarinet virtuoso Julian Milkis as soloist and renowned musicologist and author Solomon Volkov as guest host. The program will feature Schoeck's Sommernacht, Op. 58, Mendelssohn's Andante for Clarinet and Orchestra, Mozart's Concerto for Clarinet in A Major, K. 622, and the American Premiere of composer Giya Kancheli's sublime new work Night Prayers for Clarinet, Strings, and Tape.
Composer Giya Kancheli is one of Georgia's most distinguished living composers and a leading figure in the world of contemporary music. His music, deeply spiritual in nature, draws inspiration from Georgian folklore and sings with a heartfelt, yet refined emotion; it is conceived dramaturgically with a strong linear flow and an expansive sense of musical time. This work-Night Prayers for Clarinet, Strings, and Tape-received its world premiere with Julian Milkis in Russia in 2009.
Julian Milkis, clarinet
Julian Milkis, the only student of Benny Goodman, has been described as a dazzling soloist, chamber musician and jazz clarinetist. His unique interpretations and captivating sound have earned him critical acclaim throughout the world. He has performed at some of the world's most prestigious venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Salle Pleyel, Salle Gaveau, The Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, and with orchestras that include Toronto Symphony, CBC Vancouver Orchestra, State Symphony Orchestra of Russia, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, L'Orchestre Nationale de Lyon and Edmonton Symphony.
Milkis has had the honor of working with iconic music masters such as Valeri Afanasiev, Yuri Bashmet, Misha Maisky, Alexander Kniazev, Gerard Causse, Dick Hayman, the Borodin String Quartet, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Giya Kancheli and Olivier Messiaen. Currently, he is a recording artist for Melodiya, Warner Classics Lontano, Suoni e Colori and Sony/CEAUX music labels and is a Yamaha sponsored artist.
Marlon Daniel, conductor
One of the most dynamic conductors of his generation, conductor Marlon Daniel has been described as "a natural and enormous talent" (Chicago Sun-Times) and his artistry has been hailed as "fabulous and exceptional" (Pravda - Moscow).  The winner of the 2009 John and Mary Virginia Foncannon Conducting Award, he has performed in some of the most prestigious venues in Europe and the United States that range from Carnegie Hall to the Rudolfinum in Prague and several international music festivals. He has also appeared alongside several internationally renowned artists that have included Deborah Voigt, Julian Milkis, Kalin Ivanov, Koh Gabriel Kameda and Magali Léger to name a few.
He has received numerous prizes and awards including the Mabel Henderson Memorial Grant for Foreign Experience, a Rose Hanus Fellowship, an Honorary Key to the City of Chicago for Outstanding Musical Achievement bestowed by the late Mayor Harold Washington and most recently the 2008 'Voice of the Artist' Award from the United Nations in recognition of his charitable work of bringing awareness to the crisis in Darfur. Most recently he was the recipient of the 2010 Dove Award from National Association of Women for the Arts for Outstanding Artistic Contributions to Cultural and Humanitarian Causes.
Educated in both the United States and Europe, he has received degrees from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world including Manhattan School of Music, Le Conservatoire Américain (France), Centro de Estudios Musicales Isaac Albéniz (Spain) and both the Prague Academy and Conservatory. One of the foremost exponents of music by composers of African descent, Daniel is Music Director and Conductor of Ensemble du Monde (chamber orchestra), Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Saint-Georges International Festival in Guadeloupe and Principal Conductor of the Festival of African and African American Music, where he collaborates with some of today's most prolific Black composers.
Solomon Volkov, host
Solomon Volkov is the award-winning author of several notable books about Russian culture, including St. Petersburg: A Cultural History and Shostakovich and Stalin, published worldwide. After moving to the US from the Soviet Union, he became a cultural commentator at the Voice of America and then Radio Liberty broadcasting to the USSR (and later, Russia), discussing contemporary artistic developments in his former homeland. He lives in New York City with his wife, Marianna, a pianist and photographer.
He is best known for Testimony, a memoir of Dmitri Shostakovich, which was published in 1979 following his emigration from the Soviet Union in 1976. Volkov is a friend of Giya Kancheli and a great admirer of the composer's works; he joins Ensemble du Monde on the occasion of the U.S. premiere of Kancheli's Night Prayers for Clarinet, Strings and Tape, and will provide commentary on the work, as spoken to him by the composer.
Praised in 2010 as "... the future of classical music on stage" by Time Out New York, Ensemble du Monde is one of the most dynamic and innovative chamber orchestras on the classical music scene today. Founded in New York City in 2000 and named to reflect the diversity of its members, the group performs throughout the New York area, the United States and abroad.
In 2000, the ensemble was selected by Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes Benz to perform at the unveiling of the new MAYBACH Car, an event that received worldwide multimedia press coverage. A Lincoln Center début followed in 2002, and in 2004 the ensemble made its Carnegie Hall début with renowned soprano Deborah Voigt and the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. Radio broadcasts have included Radio Free Europe, which featured selections from the ensemble's popular 'Baroquen Promises' Series at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York. In 2007, the ensemble performed the music for the live world premiere of the "Save the Goldfish" episode of Nickelodeon's Emmy Award winning 'Wonder Pets' show at New York's Javits Center.
Led by its Music Director and Conductor, Marlon Daniel, the ensemble performs music from the Baroque to the Avant-Garde, in addition to the standard classical repertoire. Programs are usually thematic in nature and based on the concept of presenting a variety of great music not limited by cultural, musical or stylistic boundaries. To encompass this vast repertoire, the orchestra expands and contracts, which allows the group maximum "flexibility" to perform as a small chamber group or a full-scale symphony orchestra.
The orchestra currently resides at Merkin Concert Hall, Kaufman Center in New York, where it performs a series of innovative concerts throughout the year, and serves as Ensemble-in-Residence for the Saint-Georges International Festival in Guadeloupe.
Tickets for Ensemble du Monde's Opening Night concert are $50 for VIP seating with access to a Meet-the-Artist Reception, $40 for general admission, and $20 for Seniors and Students. Purchase by visiting the Kaufman Center for the Arts Box office (129 West 67th Street), or calling 212.501.3330, or ordering online at

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