In the United States and abroad, he has premiered and recorded works of many contemporary composers, including Charles Wuorinen, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Lasse Thoresen, Gerard Grisey, Jonathan Dawe, Tristan Murail, Ralph Shapey, Luigi Nono, Mario Davidovsky, and Wolfgang Rihm. His wide-ranging repertoire, which spans Bach to Xenakis, has enabled him to lead such accomplished groups as the American Composers Orchestra, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Columbia Sinfonietta, Speculum Musicae, Cygnus Ensemble, the Fromm Players at Harvard University, the Composers' Ensemble at Princeton University, and the New York Philharmonic chamber music series. Most recently, he has joined the conducting faculty of The Juilliard School as artistic director of the AXIOM Ensemble, and serves also as artistic director and conductor of the Manhattan School of Music Percussion Ensemble, as well as the percussion faculty in their new program for Contemporary Music Performance.
A much-in-demand percussionist who has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic among many ensembles, Mr. Milarsky is professor of music at Columbia University, where he is the music director–conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. Also at Columbia University, Mr. Milarsky has just been named Music Director and Conductor of the newly formed Columbia Sinfonietta which will concentrate on 20th and 21st century scores. This ensemble, one of the United States' finest instrumental groups, will perform, tour and record throughout the United States.
In May 2006 Mr. Milarsky substituted for James Levine at Carnegie Hall, where he conducted an all-Milton Babbitt program with the MET Chamber Ensemble. Recent highlights of Milarsky's work include returning to Europe to open the ULTIMA Festival in Oslo in the autumn of 2004. That season also included conducting dates in Norway, Italy, Paris, and Austria. In August 2003, Milarsky made his debut with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway. Just recently,[when?] he made his debut at IRCAM in Paris, where he recorded and performed music of Tristan Murail and Joshua Fineberg with the ENSEMBLE FA. In 2007 he conducted the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Milarsky made his European debut conducting the BIT20 Ensemble in a tour of Norway and the Baltic states. Other recent highlights include conducting the Cygnus Ensemble in the world premiere of Milton Babbitt's Swansong, conducting the world premiere and recording Mario Davidovsky’s Flashbacks, and several area premieres of the music of Gerard Grisey: Les Espaces acoustiques (New York premiere) for Columbia University's “Music for a New Century” series and Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (American premiere) with Speculum Musicae. With the Ensemble Sospeso, he has conducted three United States premieres by Wolfgang Rihm and two by Tristan Murail.
Milarsky received his bachelor and master of music degrees from the Juilliard School. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts. He regularly conducts the Juilliard Orchestra, with whom he has premiered over 70 works of Juilliard student composers over the past fifteen years. He is also on the Pre-College Percussion Faculty at Juilliard, and has been, until recently, director of the Composition Forum.
As an active chamber and orchestral musician, Mr. Milarsky performs and records regularly with the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the American Composers Orchestra, the Stamford Symphony, and Concordia. He has recorded extensively for Angel, Bridge, Teldec, Telarc, New World, CRI, MusicMasters, EMI, Koch, and London records.
He is a 1984 graduate of Central High School (Philadelphia).
- Tiffany Martini. State of the Art, Strings Magazine, August/September 2006, No. 141