In 2019 it turned 50, but there is absolutely no sign of failing energy or creativity: when it comes to new programming ideas and intriguing concert projects, the Bundesjugendorchester (National Youth Orchestra of Germany, or BJO) is always ahead of the game. At Young Euro Classic, where the Bundesjugendorchester has been among the regulars from the first festival year onwards, its palette of unusual concerts already includes performances with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra to last year’s programme featuring film music from the silent movie era to the present. Diversity is key: following its motto “Playing. Supporting. Raising Enthusiasm”, the young musicians aged 14 to 19, most of them first prize winners of the Federal music competition “Jugend musiziert”, meet for several intense rehearsal periods per year. The orchestra presents compositions from all epochs, including contemporary works and world premieres. The Bundesjugendorchester has long become one of Germany’s most important cultural ambassadors, as its recent concert tours to Ukraine (2017), India (2018) and South Africa (2019) demonstrate. Since 2013 the Berlin Philharmonic has been the patron orchestra of the Bundesjugendorchester, holding joint rehearsals, master courses and concerts.
Boris Aljinovic shares a fate with many a gifted stage and theatre actors: the son of a German mother and a Croatian father became really well known mainly thanks to television. For 14 years he played Berlin’s inspector Felix Stark on the popular Tatort series, side by side with Dominic Raacke (aka Till Ritter). He gave that role up eight years ago – and unlike some others, Aljinovic hung up his handcuffs like a gentleman, without lamenting the fact in the yellow press. After many years of Tatort and many movies, for example with Otto Waalkes, the versatile actor, who can be as silly and playful as he is mindful and profound, is known to almost everyone in Germany. Calm and mindful describes the person Boris Aljinovic well – and gifted with a subtle sense of humour. No wonder: Aljinovic originally wanted to draw comic strips for a living. At the moment, Boris Aljinovic has taken up stage acting again, produces successful audio books – and prefers to fight wind and waves, often all alone on his sailboat for months, instead of imaginary crooks.
“Marc Albrecht makes the music flow, gush, swing in dancing rhythms, sparkle seductively and luxuriate in a Wagnerian XXL format: twelve-tone music as a sensuous sound experience.” That was a reviewer’s assessment of Albrecht’s performances of Alban Berg’s Lulu. Born in Hanover in 1964 as the son of the conductor George Alexander Albrecht, the musician began his career as a répétiteur in Vienna and Berlin, established the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra alongside Claudio Abbado, and became General Music Director in Darmstadt at the age of only 30. From 2009 to 2020 he was chief conductor of the National Opera in Amsterdam. In addition to the core repertoire, Albrecht made a name for himself with operas by such different composers such as Berlioz and Messiaen, Stravinsky, Zemlinsky, Trojahn and Henze. At the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he conducted the celebrated rediscovery of the Korngold opera Das Wunder der Heliane in 2019; in 2021 he won an Opus Classic Award as “Conductor of the Year”. In the symphonic field, Albrecht has conducted compositions by Schumann, Dvořák, Korngold, Ravel, Dukas, Koechlin, Mahler and Berg with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.
The violinist Antje Weithaas has been one of the most interesting musician personalities in Germany for 20 years. Born in Guben in Brandenburg, she studied at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin, where she has also been a renowned teacher since 2004. Furthermore, Antje Weithaas has pursued an intense career as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to the classics by Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, solo concerti by Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Othmar Schoeck, György Ligeti and Jörg Widmann are part of her repertoire. Among her discography, special mention must be made of her recording of the complete violin works by Max Bruch, next to the recordings of the complete solo sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach and Eugène Ysaÿe. The violinist regularly leads concerts from the concertmaster position, e.g. Beethoven’s symphonies.
A native of Augsburg, Maximilian Hornung has developed into one of the leading cellists of the younger generation during recent years. The 36-year-old appears regularly at the festivals in Salzburg, Verbier, Schleswig-Holstein, Ravinia and Lockenhaus. He has worked with conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons and Esa-Pekka Salonen as well as Daniel Harding, Robin Ticciati and Jonathan Nott. Among his multi-faceted discography, the cello works by Richard Strauss (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) and the concerti by Joseph Haydn (with the Kammerakademie Potsdam under Antonello Manacorda) stand out. Hornung has recorded Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto and the First Concerto by Sulkan Tsintsadze with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. His repertoire also includes such rarities as the solo concerti by Arthur Honegger, Victor Herbert and Mieczysław Weinberg. The cellist received major support from Anne-Sophie Mutter, with whom he continues to perform piano trios with pianist Lambert Orkis.
Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A-minor Op. 102 (1878-1879)
Symphony No. 1 in D-Major (1885-1888)
About the concert
The Bundesjugendorchester, or National Youth Orchestra of Germany, certainly needs no introduction to the Young Euro Classic audience! It has been an essential and regular guest since the beginning, continuously surprising with its original programmes. Sometimes these are experimental, sometimes designed to bring nations together. Then again, they offer straightforward, serious programmes, proving that brilliance in the “classical” repertoire is the young musicians’ core mission. That was the case last year, when the Bundesjugendorchester offered a brilliant interpretation of Dvořák’s Ninth at the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt. And it is likely to be the case again this summer, when the young players tackle Mahler’s First Symphony. The first half of the concert features Johannes Brahms’ Double Concerto with a fabulous duo: the esteemed violinist Antje Weithaas from Berlin and the acclaimed Bavarian cellist Maximilian Hornung. The concert is conducted by the internationally renowned Marc Albrecht.