The National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands (NJO) is part of the extensive musical organization dedicated to supporting musical talent in various genres, from a baroque orchestra to an opera company. The highlight of its many activities every year is the NJO Music Summer in Gelderland, which also features the Symphony Orchestra in numerous performances before it embarks upon an international tour. The NJO’s winter tour, on the other hand, is reserved for concerts in the most important cities of the Netherlands. The NJO reflects the extremely rich musical tradition of the Netherlands, which has always had an open ear for contemporary music and still does. The conductor Antony Hermus, with whom the NJO has appeared previously at Young Euro Classic, is the current artistic advisor. Prominent guest conductors include Philippe Herreweghe, Jaap van Zweden, Iván Fischer and Oliver Knussen. Furthermore, composers such as Steve Reich, John Adams, Kaaja Saariaho and Wolfgang Rihm have been the NJO’s “composers in residence”.
Sascha Hingst was born in Berlin in 1971 and grew up in Berlin and Leipzig. After graduating from school in 1990, he studied law in Heidelberg, taking his state examinations in law in 1998. While still a student, Hingst worked for the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) in Leipzig, the Südwestrundfunk (SWR) in Mainz and the German-French cultural TV channel ARTE in Strasbourg. From 2001 to 2007 he presented the “Hessenschau” on Hessischer Rundfunk (HR). Since September 2007 Sascha Hingst has presented the “Abendschau” on Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb). On November 20, 2015 Sascha Hingst won the Bremen Television Award in the category “Best Presenter”. Starting in January 2017, he has also presented the quiz show “Jede Antwort zählt” and the new ARD feature “Mittagsmagazin” from Berlin, the latter together with Jessy Wellmer.
Alexander Shelley, now 42 years of age, will be remembered by the Young Euro Classic audience from his appearance with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. The British conductor who originally trained as a cellist began his conducting career in 2005 by winning the renowned Leeds Conducting Competition. Ever since, he has led many orchestras in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia; since 2015 he has been the chief conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. He made a name for himself in Germany as the chief conductor of the Nürnberg Symphoniker (2009-2017), where his classical open-air concerts reached more than half a million enthusiastic listeners. One of Shelley’s special concerns is classical music education via interviews and podcasts; at the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, he is also in charge of the project “Zukunftslabor” (Future Lab). Among his collaborations with the Bundesjugendorchester, the joint tour with Campino of the band Die Toten Hosen in 2016 stands out. He also recorded the CD Gipfeltreffen with the Bundesjugendorchester, featuring works by Haydn, Dukas, B. A. Zimmermann and Bernstein.
The young Dutch violinist Coraline Groen, born in 1996, is Artist in residence this summer at the NJO Music Summer. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the Den Haag Conservatory before moving on to the Royal College of Music in London for further studies. Her master’s degree came from Den Haag again, where she received top marks for “her versatility, creativity, and her musical and inspiring personality”. Since February 1, 2020 the violinist has been a member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam; on the same day she won the Dutch Oskar Back Violin Competition, where she also took the audience award. Coraline Groen also has a duo with the bayan player Robbrecht Van Cauwenberghe and appears in recitals with pianist Rik Kuppen.
The young Dutch soprano Laetitia Gerards has performed with all the renowned Dutch orchestras, e.g. the Concertgebouw Orkest, the Residentie Orkest and the Orchestra of the 18th Century. She also won the Concertgebouw Young Talent Award and the first prize at the Princess Christina Vocal Competition. Laetitia Gerards has a special affinity for the American repertoire, performing composers such as Kurt Weill, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein, in whose musical A Wonderful Town she sang the role of Eileen. She has also appeared as Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème and Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio; this season she makes her debut as Marenka in Smetana’s Bartered Bride at the Nederlands Reisoper. The soprano regularly appears on Dutch television, e.g. in the reality series “Wie is de mol?” (Who is the Mole?). In 2021 she also performed during the live broadcasts for the National Day of Remembrance.
”Don Juan” Op. 20 (1887-1888)
Violin Concerto in D-minor Op. 15 (1939)
Symphony No. 4 in G-major (1899-1901)
European Composition Award for artful new sounds 2022
At the beginning of the concert, the European Composition Award will be granted for the best world premiere or German premiere presented in the festival. Sascha Hingst, television presenter at Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, will moderate the award ceremony.
About the concert
Concerts by the NJO, the Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands, have long been dependable highlights at the festival Young Euro Classic. After all, the outstanding music education system in our neighbouring country means that the NJO offers exceptional orchestral quality. Not to mention its ambitious, intriguing programmes and promising young musicians. Two of them also present themselves this summer at the Konzerthaus as soloists: violinist Coraline Groen plays Britten’s Violin Concerto, a work with which the 26-year-old composer proved his outstanding talent as early as 1939. The young soprano Laetitia Gerards, on the other hand, takes on the solo part in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, a welcome challenge for the orchestra as well due to its many different atmospheres and moods. The British conductor Alexander Shelley – a familiar face at the Konzerthaus – guarantees optimal communication with his young performers.