European Union Youth Orchestra

© Sebastian Phillip

Described by the Guardian as having “gripping, exhilaratingly good orchestral playing, surging with energy, laser-sharp focus and collective daring… [and] a technical prowess that is downright terrifying”, it has provided an exceptional bridge between music colleges and the professional music world for generations of Europe’s finest musicians since its foundation in 1976. The Orchestra has worked with many of the world’s greatest musicians including Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, and particularly its three Music Directors and current Chief Conductor: founding Music Director Claudio Abbado, former Music Director Vladimir Ashkenazy, former Music Director and current Conductor Laureate Bernard Haitink, and Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko. One special recent highlight was the EUYO’s appearance in the official ceremony commemorating the end of World War I in Paris in November 2018, when it performed before 70 heads of government. The EUYO’s 3,000 alumni have all come through the Orchestra’s rigorous, annual audition process conducted in all (currently 28) EU Member States, and many are now notable conductors, soloists, teachers, and instrumentalists working with major orchestras in the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In conjunction with Brexit, the orchestra recently relocated from London to Ferrara, Italy. 

August 2, 2019 20:00

Konzerthaus, Berlin

Olaf Scholz

Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor

Olaf Scholz has been Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor of Germany since March 2018. He was born in Osnabrück in 1958, grew up in Hamburg and is married to Britta Ernst. In 1975 he joined the SPD. After graduating from law school, he worked as an attorney specializing in labour law from 1985 onwards. From 1982 to 1988 he was the deputy chairman of the Jusos (the SPD’s youth organization) and a Member of Parliament from 1998 to 2001 and 2002 to 2011. He was chair of the SPD (2002-2004) and First Parliamentary Secretary of the SPD Group (2005-2007). From 2007 to 2009 he was Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and thereafter (2009-2011) deputy chair of the SPD Parliamentary Group. From 2011 to 2018 he was Mayor of the Free Hansa City of Hamburg. From February to April 2018 Olaf Scholz was acting chair of the SPD. 

Patron of the Evening

Vasily Petrenko

© Tarlova

Originally from St. Petersburg, Vasily Petrenko is a sought-after conductor who regularly appears with all the major orchestras in Europe and North America. Not only has he been the chief conductor of EUYO since 2015, but he is also the chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2021 he also takes on the position of music director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. The 42-year-old Russian – who is no relation of the future chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Kirill Petrenko – also made a name for himself as an opera conductor, leading performances in Glyndebourne, Zurich and Munich (Boris Godunov); at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he makes his debut this season in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades. Among his numerous CD productions, a cycle of the complete Shostakovich Symphonies stands out, completed in 2015. Petrenko has also recorded works by Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Elgar and Szymanowski, to name just a few. The most recent addition to his discography is an album with Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6.


Nicolas Altstaedt

The German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, born in Heidelberg in 1962, has become one of the world’s most sought-after soloists during recent years. As one of the last students of Boris Pergamenschikow, he trained at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy in Berlin, where he himself has now held a professorship since 2016. During recent years, he made his debuts at New York’s Carnegie Hall, in Brussels, Paris and Toronto and toured Australia. Furthermore, he was the artist-in-residence for 2017/18 at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; this season he holds the same position at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. In 2012 Altstaedt took over the artistic leadership of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival from Gidon Kremer. His repertoire is remarkably broad: in addition to the great cello concerti of the repertoire, the Bach Suites and chamber music works, he is a champion of contemporary music, having given world premieres of works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Jörg Widmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Thomas Adès.



Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B Minor Op. 104 (1896)


Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor (1904)

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


Even if Europe has lots of critical situations to weather these days: the European Union Youth Orchestra, bringing together young instrumentalists from all the EU states from Portugal to Estonia, from Ireland to Malta, is unimpressed by these troubles. On the contrary: with grand works and a impressive forces, the EUYO presents itself once again at Young Euro Classic. Before the interval, Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B Minor graces the programme, one of the most playable and popular works of this genre; the soloist is the internationally sought-after German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt. After the interval, the EUYO dedicates itself to Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor: marching rhythms, folk music, world-weariness and nightmare visions appear before our ears. Amidst all this orchestral vehemence, the Fifth finds its calm centre in its Adagietto movement, which enjoys a popularity extending far beyond the concert hall.


The concert will be streamed LIVE on


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