The Vienna Philharmonic is behind this youth orchestra: in 1994 a member of the venerable orchestra founded the International Orchestra Institute Attergau (IOIA) in order to give young music students from all over the world insights into the tradition of orchestral playing as practiced by the Vienna Philharmonic. To this day, all instrumental sections are coached exclusively by members of the Vienna Philharmonic, and the conductors of the summer academy, which takes place in St. Georgen in the Attergau district of Austria, have a special connection and appear regularly with the Vienna Philharmonic. Therefore, the IOIA has appeared at the Salzburg Festival and at other major Austrian festivals in recent years under such eminent conductors as Thomas Hengelbrock, Riccardo Muti, Mariss Jansons, Bertrand de Billy and Christoph Eschenbach. This performance is its debut at Young Euro Classic.
For more than ten years, Axel Kober has been general music director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, where he commands a broad repertoire, from Handel and Mozart to Wagner, Strauss, Puccini, Verdi and all the way to Berg and Widmann. One special highlight of recent years was a new production of the Ring des Nibelungen in 2017/18 (director: Dietrich Hilsdorf). Before, Kober held positions in Mannheim and Leipzig. Furthermore, the conductor, born in Kronach in Franconia in 1970, is a frequent guest at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he often conducts the great Wagner operas, taking turns with Donald Runnicles. At the Vienna State Opera, Kober has conducted the Ring, Arabella and Hänsel und Gretel, among others. In 2013 the conductor was first invited to Bayreuth, where he led performances of Tannhäuser; from 2015 onwards he took on Der fliegende Holländer there. This summer, Kober conducts performances of Tannhäuser and Lohengrin on the “Green Hill” in Bayreuth.
The Austrian mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Kulman stands out for her great versatility and many interests that go far beyond singing. After a successful international opera career, she decided in 2015 to appear almost exclusively on the concert stage. Thus, she appears as the soloist in the Berlin Philharmonic’s European Concert under Kirill Petrenko in Tel Aviv this year. In her music show La femme c’est moi, Elisabeth Kulman merges many different musical styles, from opera and classical art song to musical and pop. Together with the Viennese arranger Tscho Theissing, she has presented arrangements of Zarah Leander songs, Mussorgsky Dis-Covered with an international jazz quartet and Hungaro Tune with symphony orchestra and jazz soloists. Furthermore, the singer makes use of her status to fight for more equitable relations in the world of classical music. She is a co-founder of the association “art but fair”, runs the YouTube channel What’s Opera Doc and is one of the initiators of #voiceit für eine Kultur der Würde (#voiceit – for a culture of dignity).
Overture to “Egmont” Op. 84 (1810)
Songs with Orchestra:
"Ging heut' morgen übers Feld" from "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" (1884/1896)
"Liebst du um Schönheit" from "Rückert-Lieder" (1902/1905)
"Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder" from "Rückert-Lieder" (1901/1905)
"Urlicht" from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" resp. Symphony No. 2 (1894)
"Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" from "Rückert-Lieder" (1901/1905)
Symphony No. 7 A-Major Op. 92 (1812)
A more quintessentially Viennese programme is truly hard to imagine! That, however, is hardly surprising in the case of the International Orchestra Institute Attergau, as the ensemble is international, but coached exclusively by members of the Vienna Philharmonic. Thus, that orchestra’s venerable tradition is likely to animate all the works performed on this evening at Berlin’s Konzerthaus: the concert opens with Beethoven’s gripping overture to Goethe’s play Egmont, first performed in Vienna in 1810. The crowning finale is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, a work of overwhelming energy – its impressive technical challenges should be in the best hands with IOIA. The calm at the eye of the storm is offered by the songs by Gustav Mahler which form the centre of the concert. Elisabeth Kulman, an Austrian singer renowned for having and knowing her own mind, joins the orchestra for these. One of these songs’ titles states: “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder“ – “Do not look into my songs” – that is an injunction best left unheeded: better to attend the concert and listen to these exquisite songs!