The Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (AYPO) was founded after many years of planning in 2006 by Dr. Fawzy El-Shamy, then Dean of the Cairo Conservatory. For Dr. Fawzy El-Shamy, Germany became an important place in his life next to his Egyptian homeland, since he studied bassoon at the Frankfurt am Main Music Academy and completed his doctoral degree in musicology at the University of Marburg. Unique throughout the Arab world, AYPO has the declared goal of improving the technical and artistic abilities of the young musicians involved. However, the project is equally keen to create opportunities for encounters through music – developing a dialogue between young people beyond territorial and religious boundaries. AYPO undertook its first tour to Germany in 2007; in 2013 the orchestra made its Young Euro Classic debut. In 2016, the orchestra includes 65 musicians from eight Arab countries (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Kuwait, the Palestinian Territories, United Arab Emirates and Syria). This year, in cooperation with Young Euro Classic, the musicians assemble in Berlin for their rehearsal phase before their performance at the Konzerthaus. The project is supported financially by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Born in 1979, Constantin Schreiber has one of the most extraordinary journalistic profiles in Germany. Apart from his work as moderator and correspondent for the TV stations n-tv and RTL, he also moderates and produces several successful TV formats in Arabic in the Middle East. He edited the international bestseller 1000 Peitschenhiebe (1000 Lashes), featuring texts by the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. His show Marhaba – Ankommen in Deutschland (Marhaba – Arriving in Germany), which addresses refugees in Germany in Arabic, has caused a massive stir in Germany and abroad. In 2016 he won the prestigious Grimme Prize for his moderation of this feature. The Süddeutsche Zeitung subsequently called him the “German Minister of Integration”.
Constantin Schreiber has a law degree, interned at the Deutsche Welle and was a Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford. For three years he worked as a TV journalist in Dubai and from 2009 to 2011 at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He speaks Arabic fluently.
Originally from Bremen, Heiner Buhlmann (b. 1947) studied piano, organ, oboe, composition and conducting. After completing his studies, he decided to dedicate himself to supporting young musicians, becoming the director of the Bremen Music School. In 1980 he founded the Bremen Youth Symphony Orchestra, which he conducted for 32 years, until his retirement in 2012. In 1982 the Oldenburg University Orchestra and the Bremen Youth Sinfonietta followed, and in 1999 the International Youth Symphony Orchestra Bremen, uniting 200 young musicians from 23 countries. Buhlmann undertook numerous concert tours through Europe and other continents with these ensembles. The conductor has had a close working relationship with Fawzy El-Shamy and the Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra for many years. Furthermore, he has given school and family concerts with the Bremen Philharmonic and, together with his wife Helga Warner-Buhlmann, school concerts with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.
The mezzo-soprano Gala El Hadidi is a native of Cairo, where she also attended the German School. Directly after graduating from high school, she was engaged by the Cairo Opera House, where she appeared in smaller roles in operas including Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Menotti’s The Medium and Weill’s Threepenny Opera. In addition to singing, she studied philosophy, English and comparative literature at the American University. Later, she moved on to Yale University in the USA and also attended master classes with Marilyn Horne, Teresa Berganza and Francisco Araiza. In the meantime, the 33-year-old singer can look back on a highly successful career: since 2010 she has been an ensemble member at the Semper Opera in Dresden, first as part of the Young Ensemble, now in the regular ensemble. Here, Gala El Hadidi has performed very different roles, such as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro. She was particularly acclaimed for her portrayal of Bizet’s Carmen, a role which was also the subject of her Master’s degree thesis.
“Sacrifice for Orchestra” (World Premiere)
“Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix” from “Samson et Delilah” (1877)
“Fusion” (2007, German Premiere)
“Habanera” and “Seguidilla” from “Carmen” (1875)
Symphony No. 2 in D-Major Op. 73 (1877)
7 pm: Pre-concert Lecture with Anne Kussmaul in the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free for ticket holders (admission at 6:45 pm)
The Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra already performed at Young Euro Classic in 2013. Even at that time, the fact that an orchestra with young musicians, male and female, dared to travel to Berlin from the crisis-ravaged Arab region caused quite a stir. Now the Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra returns – at a time where the Middle East is once again in the throes of unrest and terror. The Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, its artistic director and founder Fawzy El Shamy from Egypt and its German conductor Heiner Buhlmann want to set a signal against all that: an orchestra made up of young musicians, bearers of hope in a hopelessly antagonistic world. The programme covers a great variety of styles, from brand-new orchestral music by Arab composers to French opera arias and Johannes Brahms’ light-filled Symphony No. 2.
This concert will be broadcast via live stream on ARTE Concert and will be available online for 30 days. A production by EuroArts Music and ZDF in cooperation with ARTE.