When founding the orchestra in Vienna in 1986, Claudio Abbado was still guided by the idea of overcoming the Iron Curtain with the help of music. 30 years later, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra has long become a pan-European orchestra – with 2000 young musicians applying every year in 25 cities for a place in the orchestra. The level is proportionately high, and the list of conductors reads like an international Who is Who: from Herbert Blomstedt, Peter Eötvös, Bernard Haitink and Mariss Jansons among the older generation to younger stars like Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Ingo Metzmacher, Jonathan Nott and David Afkham. The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra has performed at the great halls in London, Amsterdam, Vienna and New York as well as the festivals in Salzburg and Lucerne, in Edinburgh and at the BBC Proms. The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra returns to Young Euro Classic for the first time since 2003.
Ulrich Deppendorf is a doyen of public television in Germany, whose appearance signalled important information on current world events – he moderated the Report from Berlin no less than 289 times. Berlin is the adopted home of this child of the Ruhr area, the place the 66-year-old feels at home. After studying law in Münster, he interned at the WDR, whose television programme director he ultimately became, after many successful years as an editor responsible for multiple features and programming areas, including “ARD aktuell” and its signature shows Tagesschau and Tagesthemen. That job interrupted his position as the head and chief editor of the ARD Capital Studio, which he then took up again from 2007 to 2015. To many, perhaps himself included, he thereby “returned home”. After all, he kept his apartment in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district the entire time – he says he finds it easy to deal with the gruff nature of the Berliners. Perhaps it is also the city’s cultural riches that attract him. After all, the self-confessed classical music fan originally harboured quite a different dream profession: “I never regretted my decision to become a journalist, not even for one day. But in my next life, I would like to be a conductor.” Deppendorf is one of the regulars at the Philharmonie, and as one of the founding fathers of Young Euro Classic, he has actively accompanied the festival from the very first minute. We hope this will remain the case for many years!
The Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan dedicates himself to opera and concerts with equal intensity. This is reflected by his positions as chief conductor as well: the 41-year-old is music director of the Paris Opera with its two houses and chief conductor of the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, the latter since 2015. Jordan has a close connection with Berlin: his career began here in 1998 as Daniel Barenboim’s assistant at the State Opera Unter den Linden; today he is a regular guest conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester. Jordan has conducted at the opera houses of London, New York and Milan and at the festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne and Bayreuth (Parsifal, 2012). At the Paris Opera he recently led such different operas as La Damnation de Faust (Berlioz), Le Roi Arthus (Chausson) and Moses und Aron (Schoenberg). Together with the Orchestra of the Paris Opera he has performed the complete symphonies of Beethoven and the complete Schubert symphonies with the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra.
The baritone Christian Gerhaher, born in Straubing in Bavaria in 1969, is one of the most sought-after song recitalists of our times and performs on all the major concert stages in Germany and abroad. His recordings with his regular piano partner Gerold Huber range from Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann to Mahler, Wolf and Alban Berg. He has recorded Bach’s Passions and Schumann’s oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri and Szenen aus Goethes Faust. At the Berlin Philharmonic, Gerhaher became the first singer ever to be named “Artist in Residence” during the 2013/14 season. In December 2015 he appeared in a semi-staged production of Debussy’s Pelleas et Mélisande under Sir Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic. Apart from the role of Pelleas, Gerhaher, who consciously limits his opera appearances, has won great acclaim in the roles of Papageno, Don Giovanni, Wolfram and most recently Wozzeck. His second opera recital on CD appeared last autumn: entitled Mozart Arias and featuring the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the baritone also toured it in live performances which included Barcelona, Stockholm, Vienna, Budapest and New York.
Solo Cantata für Baritone „Ich habe genug“ BWV 82 (1727)
Symphony Nr. 9 in D-Major (1910)
The contrast within the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra’s programme could hardly be greater: first Bach’s solo cantata Ich habe genug, then Mahler’s last completed Symphony No. 9. Or could it? Leaving aside the huge differences in orchestration, one realizes that these are two sides of the same coin. The theme is bidding farewell to the world – first in the god-fearing manner natural to the baroque era, then full of doubt and struggle, before the finale brings great inner peace. With the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, one of the world’s greatest youth orchestras rises to these enormous challenges. It is joined by two outstanding comrades-in-arms: Philippe Jordan, equally successful as an opera and concert conductor, and the unique baritone Christian Gerhaher for the Bach cantata.
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.