It is one of the youngest youth orchestras worldwide: in 2017 the National Youth Orchestra of China – or NYO-China – was founded, giving about 100 highly talented young musicians of that country the chance to gain high-level orchestral playing experience. The musicians, aged 14 to 21, work together for one month each summer, coached by selected professionals from the best Chinese orchestras. In 2017, the National Youth Orchestra of China gave concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, but also at Carnegie Hall in New York; the concert was broadcast worldwide via livestream. The conductor was Ludovic Morlot, and the soloists were Yuja Wang and Olga Kern, both pianists. In 2018 a series of chamber concerts by an ensemble of 21 members followed within China. On its first grand European tour, the large orchestra makes its debut at Young Euro Classic 2019.
Chief Presenter, Klassik Radio
Fans of Klassik Radio would recognize his voice instantly: for more than 20 years, Holger Wemhoff has been chief presenter at the station. Born in Ibbenbüren in Westphalia, Holger Wemhoff studied theatre studies, Italian literature and modern German literary history in Munich. He is one of the most popular German stage presenters at the biggest classical music events and hosts the Deutsche Grammophon podcast “Let’s talk about classical music”. Among the numerous stars Holger Wemhoff has interviewed in his show are Sir Peter Ustinov, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ennio Morricone, Rolando Villazón, Montserrat Caballé and Anna Netrebko. His expert yet amusing presentations have entertained audiences in the concert halls of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. His first book, an autobiography, appeared in German in the fall of 2011. The Vienna Philharmonic invites him regularly as the backstage moderator for its legendary “Summer Night Concert”.
Born in Lyon in 1973, Ludovic Morlot originally studied violin, moving on to the Royal College of Music in London, where he added conducting to his curriculum. He attended further conducting courses in the USA. Ever since winning the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship in Tanglewood in 2001, Morlot has had a particularly close relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Further invitations have taken him to the great orchestras of the USA, but also to Berlin, Dresden, London, Amsterdam and Tokyo. This season the Frenchman, who has been music director of the Seattle Symphony since 2011, makes his debut in Houston, Detroit, Rotterdam and with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. His recording of orchestral works of his compatriot Henri Dutilleux with the Seattle Symphony was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2016. In the USA, Morlot has also led premieres of works by Tristan Murail, Elliott Carter and Augusta Read Thomas.
At the age of 22, Garrick Ohlsson won the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1970, vaulting into the top league of pianists overnight. Ever since, the American, who was a student of Claudio Arrau and of Rosa Lhevinne at the Juilliard School in New York, has performed with all the notable orchestras in the USA. He has toured Poland no less than ten times; in November 2018 he performed Ignaz Paderewski’s Piano Concerto in Warsaw, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Polish independence. Ohlsson’s concert repertoire is enormously broad, including more than 80 works, e.g. the piano concerti by Scriabin, Busoni, Barber and Lutoslawski. Among his CD productions, the recordings of the complete Beethoven sonatas and the complete works of Frédéric Chopin stand out. In addition, his discography also features works by Weber, Grieg, Granados, Gershwin and Stefan Wolpe. Starting in this season, Ohlsson dedicates himself to the complete piano works of Johannes Brahms, which he performs as cycles in several cities in the USA and Europe.
"Sunlight" and "Twilight" from "The Tianjin Suite" (2016, German Premiere)
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major Op. 73 (1809)
Symphony No. 5 in D Minor Op. 47 (1937)
The National Youth Orchestra of China has only existed for two years – but for their first European tour, the young Chinese musicians have set themselves high goals! The 100 young instrumentalists undergo an extensive application process with video submissions and auditions in order to join their national youth orchestra. Therefore, the “heavy lifting” required by this programme should be just their thing: on the one hand, the Chinese orchestra performs Beethoven’s majestic Piano Concerto No. 5 with the American pianist Garrick Ohlsson as the soloist – a perfect fit for this festival’s Beethoven focus. Its counterpart is Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, a fascinatingly ambivalent work, oscillating between depression and resistance, sorrow and eloquence. And of course, the Chinese orchestra has also chosen a current work from its homeland: Ye Xiaogang composed his Tianjin-Suite in 2016.
The concert will be streamed LIVE on arte.tv/yec