The NJO Symphony Orchestra is part of the NJO Summer Academy, which has become an internationally sought-after meeting place for young musicians ever since its founding by conductor Reinbert de Leeuw in 2001. Every year, about 140 students participate in the academy, recruited via auditions all over Europe (and beyond). Apart from the NJO Symphony Orchestra, they also have the opportunity to participate in special projects on contemporary music or historical performance practice. Chamber music ensembles enrich the spectrum, as do opera projects. During past years, the Academy was able to engage famous names such as Steve Reich, Kaija Saariaho, John Adams, Mauricio Kagel and Wolfgang Rihm as composers in residence. The results of the intense rehearsal phase with renowned teachers are presented at the NJO’s own festival, the NJO Muziekzomer in the province of Gelderland, and also on an NJO Winter Tour. Reinbert de Leeuw was succeeded as artistic director of the NJO Music Academy by the Chinese-American conductor Xian Zhang in 2010.
Antony Hermus’ international conducting career began during his tenure as Music Director of the Theatre Hagen from 2007. From 2009 to 2015 he was Music Director of the Anhaltisches Theater in Dessau. As of this season he will be Principal Guest Conductor of the Noord Nederlands Orkest. The Dutch conductor has collaborated with orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, MDR Leipzig Symphony, Bamberg Symphony and Norrköping Symphony. Further to his successful debuts during the last season, 2015/16 forges new relationships with the BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de Bordeaux and Royal Flemish Philharmonic, as well as return visits to the Philharmonia Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, Essen Philharmonic and to the Komische Oper Berlin. Widely recognised for his commitment to contemporary music, Hermus conducted various world premieres of Unsuk Chin, Jonathan Harvey, Wim Laman, Marijn Simons and Rob Zuidam. His passion for distinctive programming has earned him much praise on the music scene.
The 25-year-old Dutch trombonist Sebastiaan Kemner studied at the conservatories in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. After completing his concert degree in 2012, he continued his education as a member of the Berlin Philharmonic’s Orchestra Academy. In 2012 Kemner was also named “Best Dutch Young Musician of the Year” by the Society for Young Musical Talent. In 2013 Kemner won the first prize and the audience award of the Aeolus Competition for Winds in Düsseldorf. As a soloist, the trombonist has already performed on many stages in Europe, Asia and the USA. Since 2012 he has been a member of the New Trombone Collective; he has also played as a substitute with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam as well as the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne and the Radio Orchestra of the Netherlands.
«On the Town – Three Dance Episodes» (1945)
Concerto for Trombone (1991)
«A Hero’s Life» Op. 40 (1898)
The Dutch have never suffered from musical reticence! That is why the programmes they bring to Berlin are always full of surprises and rarities. And this holds true again in 2015, when the Nationaal Jeugd Orkest (NJO) returns to Young Euro Classic with its large symphony orchestra. The very beginning of the concert is already marked by verve, for the Three Dance Episodes from Leonard Bernstein’s first Broadway musical On the Town take us into the midst of swinging 1940s New York. This is followed by an absolute rarity: in his half-hour Trombone Concerto, the American composer Christopher Rouse demonstrates all the many facets of this important instrument. And the NJO Symphony Orchestra’s main work is a case of instrumental fireworks per se: Richard Strauss composed his Heldenleben, or Hero’s Life, as a self-portrait in sound – as musically unsparing with self-aggrandising as he was with poison darts against his foes.