Founded by Claudio Abbado in Vienna in 1986/87, the GMJO is today regarded as one of the world’s leading youth orchestras and is under the patronage of the Council of Europe. The GMJO was the first international youth orchestra to hold open auditions in the former Eastern Bloc. In 1992, the GMJO opened up to musicians aged up to 26 from all over Europe. At the annual auditions organized all over Europe, its members are selected from than 2000 applicants. The GMJO tour repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary music with an emphasis on symphonic works of the Romantic and late Romantic periods. Its high artistic level and international success have prompted many leading musicians to perform with the GMJO, such as conductors from Claudio Abbado to Franz Welser-Möst and soloists from Martha Argerich to Frank Peter Zimmermann. The GMJO is a regular guest at the most prestigious concert halls and festivals of the world: Musikverein Vienna, Salzburg Festival, Semperoper Dresden, and Lucerne Festival. Many former members are now members of leading European orchestras, often in principal positions. In 2012, a partnership with the Staatskapelle Dresdenwas announced, and the GMJO became Ambassador UNICEF Austria.
Erste Bank and Vienna Insurance Group – Main Sponsors of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester
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)
About the concert
The numbers speak for themselves: auditions take place in 25 European cities every year to select the best members for the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) from among 2,000 applicants. Its list of conductors is also as long as it is prominent: it ranges from Claudio Abbado, the initiator of this youth orchestra, to Pierre Boulez, Christian Thielemann and Franz Welser-Möst. On its summer tours, the GMJO has stopped in Berlin several times; its most recent appearance at Young Euro Classic was in 2017. This time, the orchestra has set its sights on a work that only truly outstanding and highly sensitive ensembles can master: Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, a work as unwieldy as it is touching, for all its 100 minutes, signalling a farewell to romanticism and a departure for modernism. Music for conscious listening – especially when it is performed by an orchestra as brilliant as the GMJO and one of the shooting stars of recent years, the Czech conductor Jakub Hrůsa.