Inaugural Season of Juilliard's The New Series Continues This Spring

Each concert in The New Series includes preconcert talks and Q&As with Ludwig and collaborating guest artists.     

Inaugural Season of Juilliard's The New Series Continues This Spring

The New Series continues this spring with two performances spotlighting composer Reena Esmail and Juilliard faculty member Amy Beth Kirsten. Juilliard's new contemporary performance series is an organically evolving festival that explores music of our time through multidisciplinary collaborations with some of today's leading artistic voices. The New Series also aims to bring together Juilliard students from different disciplines. The program was founded by David Serkin Ludwig, the dean and director of the Music Division, who also serves as the series' artistic director.

The March 30 concert features five works by Reena Esmail (BM '05, composition), one of today's most sought-after composers, whose practice merges Hindustani (North Indian) and Western classical music traditions. Esmail is also known for bringing communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces. The concert features Juilliard music students as well as Indian classical music performers. Among the works to be performed are Blaze, The light is the same, Saans, Who makes a clearing, and Meri Sakhi Ki Avaaz (My sister's voice). This performance is presented in collaboration with Carnegie Hall's season-long exploration of women's contributions to the world of music.

"I remember being a student at Juilliard two decades ago, and just beginning to explore the connections between Hindustani and Western classical music," Esmail says. "I am excited to work with these incredibly talented students at a time when they are making important decisions about the kind of artists they want to be in this world. I cannot wait to explore and learn alongside these young musicians and to see what unique perspectives they bring to our work together."

The New Series concludes its first season on April 13 with a workshop showcasing the culmination of the Théâtre Etudes class led by Juilliard composition faculty member Amy Beth Kirsten. As a composer, Kirsten is known for her multiyear, multimedia theatrical collaborations, which consider musicians' instruments, bodies, and voices as equal vehicles of expression. Her Théâtre Etudes class at Juilliard combines theatrical elements, movement, music, and multimedia to create a new musical performance practice. The performance is presented in the round and spotlights new and exploratory works by Juilliard composition students. Their new works bring together students from the school's music, dance, and drama divisions, creating unique collaborative pieces that incorporate movement and multimedia.

"The composers and performers in Théâtre Etudes have been learning to approach a creative practice that involves collaborative experiment and play," Kirsten says. "One of the prerequisites for making 'composed theater' is that sections of the piece get workshopped in front of an audience before they are finished. The value of this experience is immeasurable and can reveal openings to explore, cracks to fill, and unexplored questions. The 'materials' that we will present in The New Series are not finished, but they are headed toward something. We celebrate this moment for what it might reveal."

The New Series debuted in January with a program called A Fiddler's Tale. Students from the music, drama, and dance divisions performed two takes on the classic Faustian story: Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale and Wynton Marsalis' jazz "reaction" to the piece, A Fiddler's Tale. In February, The New Series presented Terry Riley's minimalist masterpiece In C through the first-ever live performance between students at Juilliard's two campuses in New York City and Tianjin, China, in collaboration with Juilliard's Center for Innovation in the Arts. Musicians in each city bridged the distance of 7,000 miles to create a simultaneous performance that included projections of prerecorded choreography by Juilliard dance students. The full performance is now available to view on and Juilliard's YouTube channel.

Each concert in The New Series includes preconcert talks and Q&As with Ludwig and collaborating guest artists.


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