Asian Youth Orchestra

One of its founders in 1990 was the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin; ever since, the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) has given almost 400 concerts throughout the world, demonstrating its extraordinary abilities. The AYO was the first foreign orchestra ever to perform in Vietnam. The 110 musicians of the Asian Youth Orchestra come from approximately ten East Asian countries, including China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Aged between 17 and 27, they meet every year in Hong Kong for six weeks of rehearsals, concluding with an international tour. The musicians are given full scholarships to work under the tutelage of outstanding orchestral musicians from Europe and the USA. During recent years, the AYO’s musical partners have included the violinists Gidon Kremer and Gil Shaham, the cellists Steven Isserlis and Alban Gerhardt and the pianists Alicia de Larrocha and Leon Fleisher. The British conductor James Judd is chief conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra.

China | Hong Kong | Indonesia | Japan | Korea | Malaysia | Philippines | Singapore | Taiwan | Thailand | Vietnam
August 30, 2017 8 pm

Konzerthaus, Berlin

Jörg Thadeusz

© Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg

How impolite! “He is a man in his prime, running slightly to fat and slowly losing his hair” – thus the Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) introduces one of its best and most high-profile moderators on its website: Jörg Thadeusz has enough self-irony to grin and bear it with good humour. After all, he recalls, he originally began in radio because in his youth “the most exciting women were interested in guitarists, javelin-throwing athletes and potheads”. If he works only with his voice, his female listeners “might think I’m a guitar-playing, stoned javelin thrower”. Actually, he isn’t anything of the kind, but one of Germany’s best moderators, now present on all wavelengths and channels in sound AND sight, recipient of many awards, “quick-witted and charming too” – that is how the introductory sentence on the rbb website ends. Jörg Thadeusz currently covers the national elections with a new journalistic format entitled “Fahrbereitschaft” (starting on August 15, Tuesdays at 10:15 pm on rbb-TV).

Patron of the Evening
James Judd

© Miguel Alonso

The British conductor James Judd is the quintessential musical cosmopolitan. At the moment, he is not only chief conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra, but also leads ensembles in New York, Israel and Korea. Starting in the autumn of 2017, the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava will be added to the list. Previously, the conductor worked for many years in New Zealand and Florida. In addition, the 67-year-old dedicates a major part of his time to pedagogical work with young musicians, whether at the Juilliard School in New York, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia or the national youth orchestras of New Zealand and Australia. Among Judd’s performances in recent years, a performance of Britten’s War Requiem in Bucharest, Orff’s Carmina Burana in the desert at Masada and two concerts opening the Opera House in Dubai stand out. Judd was also involved in three performances during the festival commemorating the 100th birthday of Yehudi Menuhin at Berlin’s Konzerthaus in the spring of 2016.

Vadim Repin

© DGKasskara

The Russian violinist Vadim Repin began his international career when he was still a teenager: at the age of eleven, he gave his debut in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1982, at the age of 13 his debuts in Berlin, Tokyo and Helsinki followed, and at 14 he first performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Ever since, Repin, a native of Novosibirsk in Siberia, has been among the elite of violinists, performing at all the world’s great concert halls, from Mexico City to Madrid, in Amsterdam, Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok. Beyond the classical violin repertoire, Repin also champions new works. Thus, he performed the world premiere of the film music for the silent movie Love (with Great Garbo) of 1927 at London’s Royal Festival Hall in February 2016, written for him by Aphrodite Raickopoulou. For the Trans-Siberian Arts Festival in Novosibirsk, which he founded in 2014, he has commissioned violin concerti from Benjamin Yussupov and Lera Auerbach. Vadim Repin plays a Stradivarius built in 1733.



"As the Heart Soars" (2017, German Premiere)


Concerto for Violin No. 1 in G-Minor Op. 26 (1868)


Symphony No. 1 in D-Major (1888)

7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Dieter Rexroth at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm


The musicians of the Asian Youth Orchestra have proved their qualities many a time over the past 25 years – not only in the Far East, but also on concert tours throughout the USA and Europe. Now they make their debut at the festival Young Euro Classic in Berlin: about 100 excellently educated students from ten East Asian countries including China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. Anyone familiar with the enormous Asian interest in classical music will not be surprised at the German-Austrian programme they are preparing to measure up to the competition: the centrepiece is Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, an hour-long musical novel in which marches, waltzes and folk songs, the trivial and the pathetic mix. In addition, the Russian world-class violinist Vadim Repin plays a much-loved romantic highlight, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The contemporary composition is from the Chinese composer Chun-Wai Wong.

Concert Partner



The concert will be streamed LIVE and ON DEMAND on ARTE CONCERT:

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