Since its festival debut in 2008, the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra returns to Young Euro Classic this summer for its fourth performance. In 1996 a group of musicians led by cellist Jan Vogler founded the Moritzburg Festival, where concerts take place mainly at the baroque castle of Moritzburg near Dresden. Since 2006 the Moritzburg Festival Academy has been an essential part of the festival. Ever since, the Academy has established an outstanding reputation as an international, innovative and creative musical “workshop”. After demanding auditions, every year approximately 40 highly talented music students aged 16 to 26 are invited to Moritzburg. In addition to daily orchestral rehearsals with chief conductor Josep Caballé Domenech, the students work on a wide variety of chamber music; this programme is led by Mira Wang, violinist and Vogler’s wife.
The Catalan conductor Josep Caballé Domenech, born into a family of musicians in 1973, studied piano, percussion, violin and singing in his hometown of Barcelona before turning to conducting. Caballé Domenech has close ties to Germany; from 2013 to 2018 he was General Music Director at the Halle Opera House, where he presented a complete Ring of the Nibelung cycle in 2016. Guest concerts with the Halle Staatskapelle have also taken him to Berlin’s Konzerthaus. In addition, he has conducted a multitude of opera productions, both at the State Opera Berlin and the Komische Oper in Berlin and at the Semper Opera Dresden and the Hamburg Opera. He has been invited to conduct several German radio orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and renowned orchestras in Madrid, Stockholm, Zurich and Toulouse. Apart from being chief conductor of the Colorado Springs Orchestra, the Catalan has also been chief conductor of the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra since 2019.
At the age of only 20, violinist Kevin Zhu already looks back on an impressive number of concert performances at such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall and the concert hall of Beijing’s Forbidden City. Born in the state of Maryland, USA, Kevin Zhu received his first violin lessons at the age of three; later he became a junior student at the San Francisco Conservatory. He currently studies with Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School in New York. Winning the International Paganini Competition in Genoa, Italy, in 2018 was followed by invitations to orchestras such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Virtuosos and the China Philharmonic Orchestra. Kevin Zhu plays the Stradivari violin “Lord Wandsworth” of 1722, which is on loan to him. He recently won the Avery Fisher Career Grant for young instrumentalists (25,000 dollars) in New York City.
Born in East Berlin in 1964, Jan Vogler has been a presence on all the world’s important stages for three decades. The cellist, who lives in New York City today, has performed with all the important symphony orchestras in the USA as well as orchestras in London, Paris, Vienna and St. Petersburg. He has worked with conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Antonio Pappano, Thomas Hengelbrock, Manfred Honeck and Kent Nagano. Apart from his work as artistic director of the Dresden Music Festival and the Moritzburg Festival, Vogler also finds time for the musical and literary project “Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends – New Worlds”, which he developed jointly with the American actor. As part of his long-established collaboration with the label Sony Classical, his most recent recording in 2020 was Three Continents, featuring cello concerti by Nico Muhly (USA), Sven Helbig (Germany) and Zhou Long (China) with the WDR Symphony Orchestra under Cristian Măcelaru, as well as a recording of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2 with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev.
Born in London in 1992, pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen studied at the Guildhall School of Music and subsequently with Richard Goode and András Schiff at the Kronberg Academy in Germany. The pianist was further mentored by Schiff, who presented her in Berlin, Frankfurt, Milan, Turin and New York as part of his “Building Bridges” series. As a soloist, she has appeared with Kremerata Baltica, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg and the Neuss Chamber Academy. Mishka Rushdie Momen has also appeared at the festivals in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Kreisau and Marlboro. In 2019 her first solo album Variations was released, combining commissioned works by Nico Muhly and Vijay Iyer with piano variations by Clara Schumann, Mendelssohn and Brahms. Three duo concerts with cellist Steven Isserlis were broadcast live from London’s Wigmore Hall during the coronavirus pandemic.
Symphony No. 2 in C-major Op. 61 (1845-1846)
Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and orchestra in C-major Op. 56 (1803-1804)
Moritzburg and Jan Vogler, those two definitely go together. Ever since the world-famous cellist founded the Moritzburg Festival in 1993 with two fellow musicians, it has become an internationally renowned chamber music highlight, which has only gained in attractiveness by adding its own ensemble, the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra. More than once, the “Moritzburgers” have made guest appearances at Young Euro Classic, always bringing a decidedly classical note to their performances. This holds true in 2021, when Beethoven’s rarely-performed Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra is the focal point – of course with Jan Vogler at the cello. A romantic introduction is provided by Schumann’s energetic Second Symphony, conducted by the Catalan Josep Caballé-Domenech, who has been chief conductor of the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra since 2018.