The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) was founded by Dionysis Grammenos only three years ago, during economically very difficult times for the Mediterranean country. Now the orchestra makes its Berlin debut at Young Euro Classic in 2020. Its goal is to introduce young musical talents to the symphonic and operatic repertoire through intensive rehearsal phases. Approximately 100 young Greek instrumentalists studying both in Greece and abroad have participated in the working phases so far. These have included concert performances of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni. One important aspect for the young orchestra is musical education work, in an effort to win new audiences for classical music. The GYSO is orchestra-in-residence at the cultural centre of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Athens. It also works closely with the Greek National Opera and is financed by the John S. Latsis Foundation.
Michael Müller, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, was born in Berlin in 1964. He finished secondary school in 1982, followed by a business apprenticeship and a specialized upper secondary school for business and administration. From 1986 to 2011, he worked as a self-employed printer.
Michael Müller joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1981. From 1991 to 2000, he was chair of his local SPD chapter, and from 1989 to 1996, he was a member of Berlin-Tempelhof borough assembly, finishing his time there as the head of the SPD party group. He was also a delegate to the district and state party conventions. From 2000 to 2004, he was chair of the Tempelhof-Schöneberg SPD. In 2004, Michael Müller became chair of the SPD in the federal state of Berlin, a post that he held until 2012 and to which he was re-elected in 2016.
Elected a Member of the Berlin House of Representatives in 1996, Michael Müller has served in this capacity ever since. From 2001 to 2011, he also chaired the SPD parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives.
In 2011, he was appointed Senator for Urban Development and the Environment and Mayor of Berlin. On 11 December 2014, Michael Müller became Governing Mayor of Berlin and has held this office ever since. From 2014 to 2016, he was also Senator for Culture; in 2016, he became Senator for Higher Education and Research.
Michael Müller was President of the German Federal Council from 1 November 2017 to 31 October 2018 and has been President of the international city network Metropolis since August 2018.
The Greek conductor Dionysis Grammenos originally made a name for himself as a clarinettist: as a graduate of the Music Academy “Franz Liszt” in Weimar, he was voted “European Young Musician of the Year” in 2008, which brought him an engagement as soloist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the opening of the Wiener Festwochen, drawing 50.000 listeners. In the meantime, Grammenos concentrates mostly on his conducting career. Most recently, he led a production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Canadian Opera Company and a performance of La clemenza di Tito at the Aspen Music Festival. The list of orchestras he has conducted ranges from the Festival Strings Lucerne, the German State Philharmonic of Rheinland-Pfalz and the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra to the State Symphony Orchestra of Thessaloniki and the Malta Philharmonic. Most recently, Grammenos conducted the season opening concert of the Athens Symphony Orchestra and made a guest appearance in Milan with the Cameristi della Scala for their traditional New Year’s Concert. Dionysis Grammenos is the founder and chief conductor of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra.
The Greek soprano Christina Poulitsi is currently identified mainly with one role: the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Zauberflöte. She sings this role regularly not only at the Komische Oper in Berlin, but also performed it in the Komische Oper’s spectacular production when it toured Rome and Paris, Adelaide, Australia and Lincoln Center in New York. The singer began her vocal training in her native city of Athens, later receiving a scholarship of the Maria Callas Foundation to study with Brigitte Eisenfeld and Dagmar Schellenberger at the Berlin University of the Arts. Since her 2009 debut at the Athens Opera, she has appeared there as Lucia di Lammermoor, Amina in Bellini’s La Sonnambula and most recently as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto. Further invitations have taken Christina Poulitsi, who is praised particularly for her “crystal-clear intonation” and her “warm lyrical timbre”, to Dresden’s Semper Opera and the Royal Opera House in London.
Some know her under the name Lea Singer, others as Eva Gesine Bauer – she is successful under both names. Two souls live within this versatile writer, who has won renown equally for her novels and non-fiction. The native of Munich has been well served in both fields by her foundation in art history, literature and musicology. Music plays an important role in her literary oeuvre, which is marked by intense historical research: in her biographies, Lea Singer has written not only about famous names such as Mozart and Chopin, but also about the librettist of Die Zauberflöte, Emanuel Schikaneder. Her novel Konzert für die linke Hand (2008) focuses on the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein; her most recent one, Der Klavierschüler, on the piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz, who died in 1989.
The Greek composer Eleftherios Veniadis, born in 1977, divides his time between Berlin and his home on the Greek island of Chios. After studying music theory and acting and first engagements in Greece, he moved to Germany in 2005. He studied composition at the University of the Arts in Berlin and the Music Academy “Carl Maria von Weber” in Dresden, followed by numerous scholarships and awards, for example the First Opera Award of the Neukölln Opera for Honolulu Vagamani (2012). Veniadis created further musical theatre projects such as Chemo Brother, composed in 2016 for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as Fly, an adaptation of Aristophanes which had its world premiere at the Big Bang Festival in Athens in 2017. The artist is particularly active in the Chios Music Festival, which he co-founded and which is trying to send a cultural signal amidst the catastrophic refugee situation in Greece. Chios was also the venue of the world premiere of his opera The Mastix Opera in 2018, an homage to the island’s life elixir.
Overture to "Idomeneo" K. 366 (1770/71)
New Work (German premiere, commissioned by Young Euro Classic)
Aria "Martern aller Arten" from "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" K. 384 (1782)
New Work (German premiere, commissioned by Young Euro Classic)
Concert Aria "No, che non sei capace" K. 419 (1783)
"KAIROS – Greece in Europa" (First recitation of texts commissioned by Young Euro Classic)
Symphony No. 9 in E-minor Op. 95 "From the New World" (1893)
7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Dieter Rexroth at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission with concert ticket
The opening night of Young Euro Classic in 2020 not only offers a strong starting signal in musical terms, but sets out to inspire reflection. Notes combine with words, antiquity with modernism, Greece with Central Europe. “Myth – Memory – Future” is the motto of this concert, which marks the Berlin debut of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, still a young ensemble on the international youth orchestra scene. The first half of the concert is conceived as a “cantata” with several elements: to begin with, Mozart pays homage to antiquity with his overture to the opera Idomeneo; in addition, the Greek soprano Christina Poulitsi sings two arias by the genius from Salzburg. Young Euro Classic has commissioned two German premieres by a Greek composer and a German one, and these are interwoven with the first recitation of texts by the well-known author Lea Singer on the subject of “Kairos – Greece in Europe” written especially for this occasion. The new works will have their world premiere a few days earlier in Athens and travel to Berlin with the orchestra. As a musical finale, the guests from Greece perform Dvořák’s Symphony “From the New World”, a work that has itself acquired the status of a myth.