The French-Swiss conductor Joseph Bastian lives in Munich and has undergone a truly astounding artistic development. Trained as a cellist, trombonist and composer, he played trombone in the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) under Claudio Abbado and Pierre Boulez before being appointed principal bass trombone in the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich in 2004. Bastian gathered his first conducting experience at the Abaco Orchestra of the Munich University. He acted as a last-minute substitute for the conductor Robin Ticciati in February 2016 and was mentored by chief conductor Mariss Jansons. He was subsequently invited to conduct orchestras all over Germany, including the RSO Berlin, but also in France and Spain and in Asia. In 2022, Bastian became principal conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra. Starting in the autumn of this year, the 41-year-old will also become chief conductor of the Munich Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Berlin and living in Madrid today, Alban Gerhardt has been one of the world’s leading cellists for three decades. Early success in competitions and a debut with the Berlin Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov in 1991 paved his way to the international top. He has performed with “old masters” such as Kurt Masur, David Zinman and Christoph von Dóhnanyi as well as Vladimir Jurowski and Kirill Petrenko, Susanna Mälkki and Klaus Mäkelä. Gerhardt’s repertoire includes more than 70 solo concertos, including classics by Schumann, Dvořák and Elgar and rarities by Eugen d’Albert, Ernö von Dohnányi and Georges Enescu, all of which he recorded for the British label Hyperion. The cellist has also given world premieres of works by Unsuk Chin, Peteris Vasks, Brett Dean, Jörg Widmann and Matthias Pintscher, to name a few. Furthermore, he is a sought-after chamber musician and dedicates himself to social projects, performing regularly in schools and hospitals. Alban Gerhardt plays a cello built by Matteo Gofriller in 1710.
Originally from Freiburg, the soprano Lydia Teuscher studied at the Mannheim Music Academy and the Royal Welsh College of Music in Cardiff. Since then, she has made a promising name for herself in the concert and opera repertoire. She has sung Pamina in Mozart’s Zauberflöte at the Berlin State Opera, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro in Dresden and at the Glyndebourne Festival and Ännchen in Weber’s Freischütz in Zurich, among others. Lydia Teuscher starred in Telemann’s Pastorelle en Musique at the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival; early music, in the form of Bach’s passions and cantatas, is an important part of her artistic work in general. In February 2021, the singer took on the soprano solo in Brahms’ Requiem at short notice in a performance in Zurich that was broadcast live on ARTE. Teuscher has also performed the solo parts in Mahler’s Second and Fourth Symphonies and in Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire.
Overture to “Ruslan and Lyudmila” (1842)
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E-minor Op. 85 (1919)
Symphony No. 4 in G-major (1899-1901)
To have outstanding soloists perform with the Bundesjugendorchester after they were members of the orchestra themselves is not a rare occurrence. This time, however, it is the conductor Clemens Schuldt, whose musical career began as a violinist. After studying conducting in Düsseldorf, Vienna and Weimar, he won the renowned Donatella Flick Competition in London in 2010, thereupon becoming assistant conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra for a year. Today, Clemens Schuldt has made a name for himself as a concert and opera conductor. In Berlin, he made his debuts with the Konzerthaus Orchestra and the DSO; further invitations have taken him to Scandinavia and France, Spain and Japan. Among the prominent soloists he has worked with are Khatia Buniatishvili, Daniil Trifonov, Frank-Peter Zimmermann, Vilde Frang, Igor Levit, Ilya Gringolts and Christian Tetzlaff. In Munich, the conductor led an unusual project celebrating the Beethoven Year at the Isarphilharmonie together with the Jazzrausch Bigband.
Martynas Levickis‘ career started deep in the forests of Lithuania, where he began imitating birdsong and the rustling of trees on the accordion when he was three years old. At the age of eight, he enrolled in the Sondeckis Music School in his hometown of Šiauliai; later he studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Levickis’ rapid rise as an ambassador of the accordion accelerated further when the 20-year-old won the casting show Lithuania’s Got Talent in 2010, becoming a superstar in his homeland. This was followed by a debut album released by Decca Classics – Levickis was the first accordionist to sign a recording contract with the label – which immediately went to the top of the British classical charts. In Lithuania, the artist founded an Academy of Accordion Music and his Mikroorkéstra, an ensemble with which he fills stadiums all over the Baltic States with the shows he conceives and produces. Other projects have led to collaboration with such diverse artists as the baritone Benjamin Appl, the cellist Kian Soltani and the mandolinist Avi Avital.
“Don Juan” Op. 20 (1887-1888)
“Ghost Machine” for Accordion and Orchestra (2023)
Symphony No. 7 in C-major Op. 105 (1918-1924)
“Helix” for Orchestra (2005)
Music and spirituality have always overlapped in the artistic vision of the trumpet player, composer, pedagogue and activist Sean Jones. Born in 1978 in Warren, Ohio, it was Miles Davis who inspired him to switch from percussion to trumpet. Only when he was 19 and already a classically trained trumpet player did he start turning increasingly to jazz. A six-month stint with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York brought him an encounter with Wynton Marsalis, who offered Jones the position of lead trumpeter in his orchestra. Ever since, he has performed with his own ensembles, but also with great jazz personalities such as Illinois Jacquet, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves and Marcus Miller. Together with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, he played a Tribute to Miles tour in 2011. A versatile and experienced teacher as well, Jones holds the Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair in Jazz Studies at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. His most recent albums are im*pro*vise: never before seen (2014) and Live From Jazz At The Bistro (2017).
Dee Dee Bridgewater is undoubtedly one of jazz’ world stars. Even beyond her 70th birthday, the American singer shows no signs of allowing her more than successful career to gently fade. Over the past four decades, the legendary vocalist has crossed musical bridges between different genres, shining in jazz standards as well as songs by Kurt Weill, which were featured on her albums This is new (2002) and J’ai deux amours (2005). Dee Dee Bridgewater has won no less than three Grammy awards, the first two of them a double accolade for her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Dear Ella (1997), then another for the album Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee (2010). Dee Dee Bridgewater has also pursued a career as a musical singer; as early as 1975 she won a Tony Award for her role in The Wiz. She has also appeared in productions such as Sophisticated Ladies, Black Ballad, Carmen and Cabaret, and played Billie Holiday in the Off-Broadway production Lady Day.
The Cuban conductor José Antonio Méndez Padrón was educated at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana; he received further artistic training at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Peter Gülke, at the Carnegie Mellon School of Music in Pittsburgh and in projects with Thomas Hengelbrock, András Schiff, Walter Reiter, Jorge Rotter and others. Since 2009 Méndez Padrón has himself been the director of Orquesta del Lyceum de La Habana. In 2012 he was appointed associate chief conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba; in 2018 he became the chief conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Matanzas. The conductor has also recorded works by Cuban composers from the 18th century to our present day for CD and has received the CUBADISCO award for several recordings. When he is not conducting, José Antonio Méndez Padrón is known for his bread-making skills and a popular salsa dance partner in Havana.
Since 2001 Sarah Willis has been a member of the horn group of the Berlin Philharmonic; before this, she was a member of the Staatskapelle Berlin for ten years. Born in Maryland, USA, the musician spent her childhood in Tokyo, Moscow and London, as her father was a foreign correspondent. In London, she began playing the horn at the age of 14, subsequently studying at the Guildhall School of Music. During the past years, Sarah Willis has performed widely as a soloist and has not only presented the solo album Horn Discoveries, but also recorded the Brahms Horn Trio, the Rosetti Double Horn Concerti, the CDs Opera! and Four Corners! together with her colleagues from Berlin, as well as Mozart y Mambo, recorded in Havana in 2020. She is highly active in the Berlin Philharmonic’s youth projects, especially its family concerts. Willis regularly interviews conductors and soloists for the Berlin Philharmonic’s internet presence. Sarah Willis is passionate about music education and makes full use of digital technology and social media to reach audiences worldwide. She runs a popular series of online interviews known as “Horn Hangouts”, is a regular broadcaster and interviewer on TV, radio and online and fronts the classical music programme Sarah´s Music for Deutsche Welle TV. She moderates the DG International Podcast series for Deutsche Grammophon and her latest award-winning documentary films, Mozart y Mambo and A World without Beethoven?, were broadcast worldwide on Deutsche Welle TV. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made Sarah Willis an MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire – in the Queen’s 2021 Birthday Honours List.
“El Bodeguero” (1956, arr. Jorge Aragón)
Serenade No. 6 in D-major “Serenata notturna” K. 239 (1776)
Concerto Movement for Horn in E-flat-major K. 370b (1781)
“Danza de los fugitivos”
PEPE GAVILONDO/YASEL MUÑOZ ∙ “Tamarindo Son”
YUNIET LOMBIDA ∙ “Danzón de la Medianoche”
WILMA ALBA CAL ∙ “Guaguancó Sencillo”
JORGE ARAGÓN ∙ “Un Bolero para Sarah”
ERNESTO OLIVA ∙ “Un Changüí pa´ Sari”
YUNIET LOMBIDA/ERNESTO OLIVA ∙ “Sarahchá”
“Mambo Influenciado” (1963)
“Guantanamera” (arr. Jorge Aragón)
The Greek conductor Dionysis Grammenos made his conducting debut at the age of 21 with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Since then, he has conducted the Canadian Opera Company, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Belgian National Orchestra, the Cameristi della Scala, the Malta Philharmonic, the Festival Strings Lucerne, the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the English Touring Opera, collaborating with soloists such as Khatia Buniatishvili, Renaud Capuçon, Anna Fedorova and Daniel Ottensamer. Dionysis Grammenos originally made a name for himself as a clarinettist: a graduate of the Music Academy “Franz Liszt” in Weimar, he was named “European Young Musician of the Year” by the EBU in 2008 and took part in the “Rising Star” series of the European Concert Hall Organization. In the meantime, Grammenos concentrates mostly on his conducting career. Since last year, he has been artistic director of the Corfu International Festival. Dionysis Grammenos is the founder and chief conductor of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, which was elected a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras under his leadership and has been in residence at the Megaron in Athens since 2020.
It is not an understatement to call the trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos a world musician with Greek roots. Born in Athens in 1985, he moved to the USA early in life, where he graduated from such renowned institutions as Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory. Since then, Achilles Liarmakopoulos has enjoyed a two-track career: on the one hand, he has been a member of Canadian Brass since 2011, a brass ensemble that has triumphed in all kinds of styles and genres, and on the other, he is a soloist in demand in North and South America, Europe and Asia. His discography includes six solo albums reflecting his broad range of interests, including Volar (2020) with the Venezuelan group Cuatrombon featuring music from Venezuela, Obvious (2018) with the French harpist Coline-Marie Orliac, Trombone otrevido (2015) featuring choro music from Brazil, and Tango Distinto (2011) highlighting compositions by Piazzolla. The trombonist also teaches at Brooklyn College in New York and at the Longy School of Music at Bard College in Cambridge, Mass.
“Prometheus” Symphonic Poem (1850)
Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra (1924)
Symphony No. 1 in C-minor Op. 68 (1876)
Born in Albania, Desar Sulejmani began playing the piano at the age of six, soon appearing in public. From 1998 he attended the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, where he studied with Till Engel (piano), Andreas Reiner and Rainer Kussmaul (chamber music) and David de Villiers (conducting). As Andreas Reiner’s piano partner, Sulejmani recorded the complete violin sonatas by Felix Mendelssohn for CD. Conducting has been the focus of his artistic work since 2003: he has held positions with orchestras in Essen, Cologne and Düsseldorf and has been invited to conduct in Albania and Kosovo, the Czech Republic, Austria and Uzbekistan. In 2008 Sulejmani conducted the first Albanian opera Mrika by Preng Jakova in his hometown of Shkodra. In 2016 he conducted an international production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2019 he founded the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra.
Originally from Albania, but raised in North Macedonia, Hava Bekteshi moved to Germany at the age of 14 and lives in Hamburg today. Apart from studying economics, she always had a passion for Albanian music, as expressed mainly in the çifteli, a two-stringed, long-neck lute. Long a male domain, Hava Bekteshi’s efforts have made the instrument more familiar in Germany too. Since 2014 the artist has performed several times at the Deutsches Theater in Munich; she was also invited to present Albanian music from Hamburg at the German pavilion “Performing Architecture” as part of the 2016 Biennial in Venice. Hava Bekteshi performs regularly at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.
Originally from Serbia, the accordionist Nikola Komatina studied first in Vienna, then in Detmold and finally at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. In his youth, Komatina won more than 20 prizes at different competitions; these were followed by several scholarships. His repertoire includes works from the baroque to the modern era. Together with the cellist Mladen Miloradovic, he founded the duo Akkcellorando in 2012; he is also a member of the artist group FONA-Formation Neues Akkordeon. As a guest musician, the 34-year-old regularly performs with the Signum Saxophone Quartet, the Notabu Ensemble, the Ensemble S201 and the One Earth Orchestra. He works intensively with the composers Fabien Lévy, Gerhard Stäbler, Markus Stockhausen, Frank Zabel, Volker Staub, Boris Filanovsky, Thomas Neuhaus and Günter Steinke. His championing of contemporary and classical music is flanked by his passion for folk music from the Balkan, which he performs on stage in his own arrangements as a singer and accordionist.
Dances from Galánta (1930)
“Eja të vallëzojmë” (“Let’s dance”)
Orchestra Suites from the Ballets “Gayaneh” (1942) and “Spartacus” (1956) and Incidental Music for “Masquerade” (1940/44) (Selection)
“Igrajmo kolo” (“Let’s dance kolo”)
Symphony No. 1 in F-minor Op. 10 (1924-1925)
The Romanian conductor Cristian Mandeal, born in 1946, studied at the Music Academy in Bucharest before completing his training with Herbert von Karajan in Berlin and with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich. From 1987 to 2009, he was the Chief Conductor and General Music Director of the Bucharest Philharmonic, guiding its rise to an orchestra of international rank. Apart from Romanian orchestras, he has conducted renowned orchestras throughout Europe and was Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester until 2009 and the Copenhagen Philharmonic until 2013. In 2001 and 2003, Cristian Mandeal was the Artistic Director of the George Enescu International Festival. He has conducted more than 60 world premieres of Romanian and other composers and has recorded George Enescu’s complete symphonic works for CD. During recent years, the conductor has been active in building up the National Youth Orchestra of Romania, with which he has appeared at Young Euro Classic several times since its 2008 founding, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Romania.
The pianist Oxana Corjos is one of the leading musicians in her Romanian homeland. Educated at the National Music University in Bucharest, she won prizes in Barcelona (1988) and Rome (1992) which signalled the launch of a very successful concert career throughout Europe. She has performed at the Enescu Series in London and the Gustav Mahler Festival in Toblach (Southern Tyrol). For the Romanian Radio, Oxana Corjos has made many recordings of works ranging from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven via Mussorgsky and Debussy to Prokofiev. The pianist works closely not only with Cristian Mandeal and the National Youth Orchestra of Romania, but also with the George Enescu Philharmonic, with which she most recently recorded Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Richard Strauss’ Burleske – also under the baton of Cristian Mandeal.
The Romanian pianist Cristian Niculescu divides his time between Berlin and Bucharest. In 1986 he made his debut with the National Radio Orchestra of Romania, but moved to Berlin for further studies with Hans Leygraf at the University of the Arts in 1993, after the political changes in Romania. Since then, Niculescu has been working as a pianist, chamber musician and music manager; apart from his solo performances, he appears regularly with members of the Berlin Philharmonic. Other chamber music partners include Jeremy Menuhin, Avi Avital, Angela Denoke, Mihaela Martin, Frans Helmerson and Guy Braunstein. He has been featured on many radio and CD productions in his Romanian homeland. In 2020, Niculescu launched the project “Silvestri – Lipatti – Enescu” to pay homage to these three outstanding artist personalities. In 2022, the pianist was honoured by the Romanian President Klaus Johannis for his championing of Romanian music. Last year, he was also appointed director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin.
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D-minor (1932)
Symphony No. 8 in C-major “The Great” D. 944 (1825-1828)
A native of Vienna, Manfred Honeck is considered one of the world’s leading conductors, invited for concerts by all the great orchestras in Europe and the USA. In Berlin, the 64-year-old regularly leads the Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester (DSO). For more than 15 years, he has also been chief conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, with which he has appeared numerous times at Carnegie Hall and at major European festivals, including the BBC Proms, the Salzburg Festival, Musikfest Berlin and the Lucerne Festival. Honeck’s successful tenure in Pittsburgh is documented on numerous recordings of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and others. In 2018 their recording of Shostakovich’s Fifth won a Grammy award. Beyond the podium, the conductor, who began his career as a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic, has assembled a series of symphonic suites from operas, including Janáček’s Jenůfa, Strauss’ Elektra and Dvořák’s Rusalka.
The British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor has been considered the best pianist of his generation in his homeland since giving a breath-taking debut as a 20-year-old in 2012 at the First Night of the Proms, where he played Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Ever since, Grosvenor has been invited to the Proms every year; he also became the first British pianist to receive an exclusive recording contract from Decca Classics in 60 years. However, Grosvenor has long become a sought-after artist beyond the British Isles as well: this season, he tours South America and gives recitals at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg, in Paris and Washington DC. He also returns once again to the Berlin Piano Festival at the Konzerthaus. Conductors Grosvenor has appeared with include Paavo Järvi, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Mark Elder, Vladimir Jurowski, François-Xavier Roth and Esa-Pekka Salonen. His CD recording of Chopin’s Piano Concertos with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of Elim Chan was released recently.
Larghetto for Orchestra (2009/2017)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in C-major Op. 26 (1917/1921)
Symphony No. 5 in D-minor Op. 47 (1937)
The 47-year-old Swedish conductor Johannes Gustavsson began his musical career as a violist before choosing conducting as his main focus. Winning the Sir Georg Solti Competition in Frankfurt and the Toscanini Competition in Parma paved the way, as did the Swedish Conductor’s Prize and the Herbert Blomstedt Award. Ever since, Gustavsson has conducted all the major orchestras in Scandinavia, including the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Philharmonic Orchestras in Helsinki and Turku. He has worked with such prominent soloists as Janine Jansen, Martin Fröst, Nina Stemme, Vikingur Olafsson, Olli Mustonen and Isabelle van Keulen. Gustavsson has led world premieres of more than 50 orchestral works by Nordic composers; he also recorded many of these compositions for CD, e.g. works by Anders Eliasson, CFE Horneman, Tobias Broström, Britta Byström and Einar Englung.
The Norwegian Rolf Gupta is one of the central figures in his home country’s musical life. His career has been twofold: on the one hand, he made a name for himself as a conductor, having trained with such legendary teachers as Jorma Panula and Herbert Blomstedt. The 55-year-old has been chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Symphony Orchestra and was invited as a guest conductor by renowned orchestras in Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris and Moscow. Gupta was also active as an opera conductor, especially for contemporary stage works. In 2011, the conductor also appeared at Young Euro Classic, leading Orkester Norden. However, Gupta is also successful as a composer, especially of orchestral works. These include his first work, All my instincts – Exposition for Orchestra (1989), Chiaroscuro (1995) and Jordens sang, which he wrote to celebrate the centennial of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in 2019. In 2002, Gupta also curated the MAGMA Festival of Contemporary Nordic Music in Berlin.
“Wie ein Kondukt” (Commemorating the Victims of Utøya) (2023, German Premiere) 🏆
Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp-minor (1901-1903)
The many professional triumphs of the conductor, composer and arranger Chris Walden can hardly be summarized in a few words: he was nominated for seven Grammy Awards, has composed the soundtracks to more than 40 films and television series, and has approximately 1,500 arrangements for orchestra or big band to his name as well. The palette of stars he has collaborated with ranges from Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney and Seal to Stevie Wonder, Rihanna and Barbra Streisand. As an arranger and bandleader, he has worked with jazz luminaries such as Diana Krall, Herb Alpert, Michael Brecker and Arturo Sandoval. Born Christian Waldemar Schulz in Hamburg, as a 16-year-old he wrote his first arrangements for his high school’s band, later joining the newly-founded Bundesjazzorchester as a trumpet player. Assisting Peter Herbolzheimer, Walden arranged the music for the movie Schtonk before moving to Los Angeles for good at the age of 29. There, he most recently composed the film music for The Terror of Hallow’s Eve (2017) and King of Herrings (2013); since 2019 he has been responsible for music at the annual Oscar Awards Ceremony.
Bernard van Rossum is a tenor and soprano saxophone player, composer, arranger and educator. He leads the Bernard van Rossum Quartet, recently releasing the album Trampoline, alongside longstanding bandmates Xavi Torres (piano), Marco Zenini (bass) and Joan Terol (drums). He also leads, directs, composes and arranges for the award-winning BvR Flamenco Big Band. Bernard van Rossum teaches at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and Codarts in Rotterdam. He is an arranger for other ensembles such as the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble and the Ricciotti Ensemble. He is also a versatile sideman, playing in acclaimed projects like the Vuma Levin Quintet, Sam Newbould Quintet or Vernon Chatlein Group. His composing and arranging have earned him various accolades, among the most recent the Rogier van Otterloo Award 2022, Concurso de arreglos de big band SGAE 2022 and the Canarias Big Band Composition Contest 2021. Bernard van Rossum grew up in a multicultural setting, born and raised in Spain by an English mother and Dutch father. After completing a biology degree at the University of Edinburgh, he studied saxophone in Barcelona, at the University of North Texas and at the Amsterdam Conservatory.
The Georgian conductor Mirian Khukhunaishvili began his musical training at the Tbilisi State Conservatory, supported by several scholarships from the President of Georgia and the Ministry of Culture. Starting in 2012, Khukhunaishvili continued his studies at the Cracow Music Academy in Poland, graduating in 2020. The conductor has appeared with all the major ensembles of his country, including the National Philharmonic of Georgia, the Tbilisi State Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra of the Tbilisi Opera. He has also been invited to conduct in Amsterdam, Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen and by the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, where he made his debut in October 2022. During the Conductor’s Academy of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Khukhunaishvili won the Paavo Järvi Fellowship and the audience prize in November 2022. The Georgian conductor lives in Iceland today, where he teaches conducting at the Academy of the Arts and directs the University Chorus. In 2019, Mirian Khukhunaishvili co-founded the Tbilisi Youth Orchestra.
Describing her as the “breath of the future”, the jury chairman Andrzej Wituski praised Veriko Tchumburidze when she won the International Henrik Wieniawski Competition in Póznan in 2016 at the age of only 20. Raised in a Georgian family in Adana in Southern Turkey, Veriko Tchumburidze received her first music lessons at the conservatory in Mersin. In 2010, she began studying with Dora Schwarzenberg in Vienna, then in 2015 with Ana Chumachenko in Munich, where she completed her master’s degree in 2022. Today the violinist is studying chamber music there, but also giving a multitude of concerts, most recently at the Beethoven Easter Festival, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, the Olympus Musical Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. There, she performed with Leif Ove Andsnes, Lisa Batiashvili, Sol Gabetta, the Quatuor Ebène, Maxim Vengerov and Tabea Zimmermann. Together with the Brandenburg State Orchestra Frankfurt under Howard Griffiths, Veriko Tchumburidze recorded John Williams’ score for Schindler’s List. She plays a 1756 Guadagnini violin on loan to her from the Stiftung Deutsches Musikleben.
Kordz, whose civilian name is Alexandre Kordzaia, loves crossing the boundaries between composing and performing. He has won special acclaim for his live performances with such diverse artists as the Philharmonic Orchestra of Georgia, the violist Georgi Zagareli and the rapper DRO. Kordz has contributed significantly to the vibrant club scene in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi during the past five years. His performances include piano, keyboards and synthesizers, helping him deliver extremely danceable and atmospheric performances. Invitations have taken Kordz to Germany and the Netherlands several times, where he has performed with the Asko Schoenberg Ensemble, Slagwerk Den Haag, the Residentie Orkest Den Haag, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and the Dortmund Philharmonic.
Mika Mdinaradze pursues a multi-faceted career as a composer, arranger and producer. Together with the conductor Mirian Khukhunaishvili, he founded the Tbilisi Youth Orchestra in 2019. His oeuvre includes music of different genres; thus, Mdinaradze has written not only symphonic works and songs, but also scores for film and theatre, television and advertising. Recently, the Georgian composer has devoted himself entirely to “serious” music: thus, he wrote a Kirye Eleison for soprano and orchestra, which was given its world premiere in November 2022 by the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin under Christoph Eschenbach’s baton. In July 2022 his composition 145 Christ for flute and orchestra was premiered in Tbilisi, commemorating the children killed in Ukraine, and performed by the Tbilisi Youth Orchestra with flutist Stathis Karapanos.
“Die Hebrides” Overture Op. 26 (1829-1830)
“Blue Horses” (World Premiere) 🏆
“Chiaroscuro” for Solo Violin and Chamber Orchestra (2010)
“Piano Concertino” (World Premiere) 🏆
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat-major Op. 55 “Eroica” (1803-1804)
The 37-year old Uzbek conductor Kamoliddin Urinbayev received his musical training at the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan in Tashkent and went on to study conducting at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. At the same time, he was invited to participate in numerous festivals and competitions, such as the Great Silk Road (South Korea), New Names (Russia) and the Forum Conducting (Germany). Urinbayev conducts both concerts and operas. Thus, he has conducted the State Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the State Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan as well as the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra. At the Academic State Theatre in Tashkent, he has conducted Beethoven’s Fidelio. In 2014 Urinbayev founded the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan. That same year, the Uzbek President awarded him the title “Distinguished Artist of Uzbekistan”. In 2020 the conductor was also appointed rector of the State Conservatory in Tashkent.
Originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the pianist Eleonora Kotlibulatova received her first piano lessons from her mother when she was five years old. In 1996, the ten-year-old made her solo debut. She won numerous prizes at international piano competitions, e.g. at the Grand Prix “Art of the 21st Century” in Kiev (Ukraine) in 2001, at the International Chopin Competition in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and at the 7th International Rubinstein Competition in Paris in 2004. In 2010 Eleonora Kotlibulatova began studying with Matthias Kirschnereit at the Rostock Music Academy, from which she graduated with distinction in 2014. The artist has undertaken concert tours from America to Asia; she currently lives in Berlin as a pianist and teacher. Apart from her solo appearances, she works regularly with the guitarist Evgeny Beleninov in order to make this unusual duo formation more well-known through original works and transcriptions.
Originally from Kuwait, the composer Amer Jaafar began his training in the USA at the Portland State University and at Oregon University and then completed his composition studies at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw. At the moment, the 61-year-old composer is a professor in Kuwait. In 2008 Jaafar won the first prize at a composition competition in Sanaa (Yemen) for his work Secrets. He has come to particular renown for his work Impatience of a Captive (2000), which was originally written as a piano sextet and then arranged for orchestra. In addition, Jaafar has composed piano works such as Dance of Peace and the Devil and Dance of the Gazelle. In 2020 the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan performed his work Silk Road. In his works, Jaafar aims to interweave western and Arabic music: “The main reason I’ve always sought to study international music was that I wanted to merge international music with Kuwaiti folk music and Arabic music in order to develop it, present it to the whole world and eventually reach internationalism.”
Overture to “Oberon” J.306 (1826)
“Sogdian Frescoes” (1997)
“Voice of the Desert” (2022, German Premiere) 🏆
Variations on a Theme from Mozart‘s “Don Giovanni” B-flat-major Op. 2 (1827)
Symphony No. 2 in E-minor Op. 27 (1906-1907)
The Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv, herself the daughter of two musicians, received her musical education at the music academy of her hometown in Lviv. In 2017 she became chief conductor of the Graz Opera; in 2022 she was appointed general music director at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, where she led new productions of Verdi’s I vespri siciliani and Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer this spring. Oksana Lyniv also celebrated her successful debut as the first female conductor in the history of the Bayreuth Festival with this opera in 2021. Since the Russian assault on Ukraine, Lyniv has come to symbolize the fight against the war in her homeland throughout the international music world. The 45-year-old is also a passionate advocate for classical music in Ukraine: she founded the international festival LvivMozArt in Lviv in 2017, which was inspired by the historical work of Mozart’s son Franz Xaver in Lviv. In 2016 she initiated the founding of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, whose artistic director she has been ever since.
Born in Lviv in the millennium year of 2000, Daryna Bachynska received her first piano lessons at the age of six before taking up the flute at age eleven. In 2018, she graduated from the Special Music School Solomiia Krushelnytska and transferred to the Music Academy in Cracow, Poland. After successfully completing her bachelor’s degree, the flutist is currently continuing her studies at the Conservatory in Liege, Belgium. Daryna Bachynska has appeared as a soloist at renowned venues such as the Benslow Music Centre (England), the Flauti di Toscana (Italy) and Foliamusica Festivals (France). In 2020 she was also awarded a scholarship from the renowned flute maker Powell Flutes, which included a sterling silver headjoint as a special prize. Since 2019, Daryna Bachynska has been the principal flutist of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.
Chamber Symphony for Flute and Orchestra No. 3 (1982)
Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra Op. 45 (1954)
“The Way” for Symphony Orchestra (2023)
Symphony No. 5 in C-minor Op. 67 (1804-1808)
Toomas Vavilov has been pursuing a two-pronged career for many years. On the one hand, the 53-year-old is one of the leading clarinettists of his country, with a repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary music – and a special focus on Estonian works. Several composers have written pieces especially for him, including Urmas Sisask, Eino Tamberg, Ester Mägi, Lepo Sumera and Raimo Kangro. As a conductor, Vavilov made his debut with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 1998, followed by performances with other important orchestras and choruses in Estonia. From 2006 to 2008, he was chief conductor of the tradition-steeped Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu. Furthermore, the conductor is active in music education for children; he has also staged the choreographic show Schoenberg and Circus and conceived a rock opera for the Estonian band Ruja.
The pianist Sten Heinoja is one of the most promising talents of the Estonian younger generation. At the age of four, he received his first piano lessons, and as a teenager, he enrolled as a student at the music academy in Tallinn. In 2014, Heinoja won the Estonian Piano Competition (including five special prizes); 2016 he was the winner of the Classical TV show Klassikatähed. In 2018, he won the Kendall Taylor Beethoven Competition in London. Ever since, the pianist has performed with all the important Estonian orchestras; he has also been invited to perform in many European countries, India and China, Israel and the USA. His repertoire focuses on the First Viennese School and 20th-century piano music. Heinoja also forms a regular duo with the cellist Marcel Johannes Kits and is a member of the piano trio Hämarik.
Born in Pärnu in 1992, Alisson Kruusmaa studied at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, where she graduated in composition in 2017. She has been noted both for orchestral as well as choral and chamber music works. In her music, she loves to create fragile sonic landscapes, marked by delicate orchestration. Kruusmaa’s most significant compositions include Mesmerism for clarinet and piano and the piano concerto Piece (both 2015) as well as Songs of Silver Light for mezzo-soprano, trumpet and piano (2017). The same year, Kruusmaa’s orchestral piece Circles, which was inspired by the crystalline patterns of the rings of Saturn, was premiered in Tallinn. Among her most recent compositions are And the Great Winds Come and Go for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, premiered at the Andriessen Festival in the Netherlands, and the major choral work Under Evening Sky. 2021 saw the premiere of her expansive piano concerto As if a River Were Singing…; last year Kruusmaa’s new Accordion Concerto was premiered in Pärnu.
“Wenn Bach Bienen gezüchtet hätte” (1994/2019)
“Five Arabesques” (2021/22, German Premiere) 🏆
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in D-Major Op. 21 Hob. XVIII:11 (1782)
“In spe” for Wind Quintet and String Orchestra (2010)
Symphony No. 7 (1958)
Diehard fans of Young Euro Classic may remember Jakub Hrůsa, as he performed once before at the festival in 2003, exactly 20 years ago – conducting the Czech Students’ Orchestra. In the meantime, the artist who was a student then has enjoyed a meteoric career: since 2016, Hrůsa has been chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1946 by exiled Czechs, and in 2026 he will become chief conductor of London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden, taking over from Sir Antonio Pappano. He is also principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic in Prague. 42 years old today, Hrůsa has conducted all the great orchestras in Europe and overseas, including the Berlin Philharmonic. Opera productions have taken him to Vienna and Zurich, London and Paris. In the summer of 2022, he made a successful debut at the Salzburg Festival, leading Leoš Janáček’s Kátja Kabanová. The conductor is a great champion of less-performed compatriots such as Josef Suk and Bohuslav Martinů. He is president of the International Martinů Circle and the Dvořák Society.
Symphony No. 9 in D-major (1908-1910)
Originally from Colombia, the conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada is at home on all the world’s major concert stages. He has conducted the Berlin and the Vienna Philharmonic, the great orchestras in Amsterdam, London and Paris, in Chicago and Philadelphia, as well as the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic. In the summer of 2021 he concluded his seven years as the chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, with which he recorded works by Wagner, Strauss and Stravinsky, among others. From 2014 to 2022 he was also music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Orozco-Estrada has also made a name for himself as an opera conductor; thus he returns to Berlin’s State Opera Unter den Linden this spring for a series of performances of La Traviata, following Puccini’s Tosca in February 2022. Together with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, whose chief conductor the 45-year-old was from 2020 to 2022, he most recently performed Catalani’s opera La Wally at the Theater an der Wien. Orozco-Estrada also lives in Vienna, where he was appointed professor of conducting at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts in October 2022.
It was not only by winning the Yehudi Menuhin Competition in 2021, where she was awarded the First Prize, the Audience Prize and the loan of a Stradivari violin, that María Dueñas catapulted herself into the first league of highly promising young violinists. In 2018 she won the International Violin Competition Vladimir Spivakov; in 2021 this was followed by first prizes at the “Getting to Carnegie” Competition and the International Violin Competition Victor Tretyakov. Born in 2022 in Granada, Spain, the 12-year-old won a scholarship to the Dresden Music Academy; later she studied with Boris Kushnir in Vienna. In July 2022, María Dueñas was the soloist in the summer concert of the Staatskapelle Berlin; during this season she has performed with the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi, the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Gustavo Gimeno. In the spring of 2023 the violinist’s first CD will be released on Deutsche Grammophon, on which she plays Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with her own cadenzas.
Carlijn Metselaar (b. 1989) is a Dutch composer currently living in Edinburgh. She is especially interested in creative collaboration and has worked with choreographers, directors, librettists and visual artists. In 2017, Carlijn Metselaar completed a postgraduate degree in composition with distinction at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, studying with Lynne Plowman. She graduated from Utrecht Conservatoire with a Bachelor in Composition, and from Utrecht University with a Master of Musicology, including a music education qualification. Carlijn Metselaar has taught music privately and in secondary schools in the Netherlands and in the UK. She also studied choral conducting as a one-year course at the Utrecht Conservatoire. She is currently doing a PhD in composition at Cardiff University, supported by a Young Talent Award (Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the Netherlands) and a Cardiff University School of Music scholarship.
Fantasy Overture to “Romeo and Juliet” (1869-1870)
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in G-minor Op. 26 (1864-1868)
“the muscle that raises the wing” (2023, German Premiere) 🏆
“Pictures at an Exhibition” (1874/orchestrated by Maurice Ravel 1924)
“With its own repertoire reflecting the feeling, conscience and ideas of the younger generation in a creative manner, the National Youth Ballet seems ideally poised to combine and amalgamate youth culture, high culture and the general public. It also has an important social aspect, which will radiate positively.” John Neumeier, Artistic Director
Since 1973 John Neumeier has been Director and Chief Choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet; in 1996 he also became the Ballet’s Artistic Director and in 2005 one of the managing directors of the Hamburg State Opera. He received his first ballet lessons in his hometown of Milwaukee/Wisconsin (USA) and then trained in Copenhagen (Denmark) and at the Royal Ballet School in London (Great Britain). In 1963 he was engaged as a dancer at the Stuttgart Ballet; in 1969 he moved on to Frankfurt, where he was appointed as ballet director. John Neumeier has received numerous awards and his choreographies are part of the repertoire of many renowned ballet companies worldwide – his oeuvre comprises more than 150 ballets of different genres. In 1978 John Neumeier founded the Hamburg Ballet’s Ballet School. In 2006 he initiated the John Neumeier Foundation and in 2011 founded the National Youth Ballet , whose Director-General and Intendant he is.
“Our goal with the National Youth Ballet is to make the dancers instruments for living choreographers. To be involved physically and emotionally in a choreographer’s creative process, to join in this creativity, that is what was important to me as a dancer, and that, I believe, is what makes our profession as dancers special.”
Kevin Haigen Artistic and Pedagogical Director
Kevin Haigen, born in Miami, trained at the School of American Ballet. After dancing with the American Ballet Theatre and the Stuttgart Ballet, he joined the Hamburg Ballet in 1976 to work with John Neumeier. Starting in 1984 he danced with the Nederlands Dans Theater; in 1985 he moved on to the Ballets de Monte Carlo as principal soloist, ballet master, teacher and choreographer, then in 1986 to the London Festival Ballet, in1988 to the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, and in 1991 he returned to Hamburg. As principal ballet master of the Hamburg Ballet and teacher at its School, he teaches internationally and also oversees productions of John Neumeier’s ballets all over the world. Since 2011 he has also been Artistic and Pedagogical Director of the Bundesjugendballett. However, he is inspired mainly by the current development of his work: teaching creative thinkers and makers, conveying that the art of ballet is a journey that never ends. In 2019 Kevin Haigen won the Hamburg Theatre Prize – Rolf Mares in the category “Outstanding Production”.
The Danish conductor Michael Schønwandt is a sought-after artist all over Europe and has held numerous leading positions during the course of his career spanning more than 40 years. At the moment, he is chief conductor at the Opera in Montpellier and was appointed associate conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra in 2022. He took on the chief conductorship of the French Youth Orchestra in 2021. Before that, Schønwandt was at the head of the Copenhagen Opera House (2000-2011), where he led a much-acclaimed Ring cycle at the newly constructed Opera House, among other productions. Nor is the conductor an unknown entity in Berlin: from 1992 to 1998 he led the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, known today as the Konzerthaus Orchestra. His opera engagements have taken him not only to London, Brussels, Paris and Vienna, but also to Bayreuth, where Schønwandt conducted Die Meistersänger von Nürnberg in 1987/88. The conductor has a special interest in his Danish compatriots Carl Nielsen and Niels Wilhelm Gade as well as contemporary Danish composers, whose works he has conducted in numerous world premieres.
The number of 25 solo albums alone which he has recorded over the past decades speaks for Alexandre Tharaud’s artistic qualities. They cover the full range from baroque masters such as Couperin, Bach and Scarlatti via Mozart and Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninov to the most important French composers of the 20th century. Together with soprano Sabine Devieilhe, he recorded his latest CD, Chanson d’Amour; he has enjoyed an artistic partnership with cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras for 20 years. Repeatedly, Tharaud has given world premieres of works by contemporary composers. As a soloist, the 55-year-old performs with all the major orchestras and at all the leading concert halls of the USA, Europe and Asia. In 2017 Tharaud presented the film Montrez-moi vos mains (Show me your hands), a very personal insight into the life of a pianist. In 2012 he also took on a supporting role as a pianist in Michael Haneke’s film Amour (Love), recording all the Schubert pieces featured in the film.
Symphony No. 5 “Symphonie concertante” (1949)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G-major (1929-1931)
Symphony No. 4 in F-minor Op. 36 (1877)