National Youth Orchestra of Germany

© Selina Pfruener

At the age of 50, it has lost none of its curiosity: when it comes to new programming ideas and intriguing concert projects, the Bundesjugendorchester (National Youth Orchestra of Germany, or BJO) is always ahead of the game. At Young Euro Classic, where the BJO has been among the regulars from the first festival year onwards, its palette of unusual concerts already includes performances with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra to last year’s programme featuring film music from the silent movie era to the present. Diversity is key: following its motto “Playing. Supporting. Raising Enthusiasm”, the young musicians aged 14 to 19, most of them first prize winners of the Federal music competition “Jugend musiziert”, meet for several intense rehearsal periods per year. The orchestra presents compositions from all epochs, including contemporary works and world premieres. The BJO has long become one of Germany’s most important cultural ambassadors, as its recent concert tours to Mexico (2016), the Ukraine (2017) and India (2018) demonstrate. Since 2013 the Berlin Philharmonic has been the patron orchestra of the Bundesjugendorchester, holding joint rehearsals, master courses and concerts.

August 3, 2019 20:00

Konzerthaus, Berlin

Ramona Pop

Ramona Pop, Mayor and Senator for Economy, Energy and Enterprises in Berlin’s Senate

Born in Timișoara in Romania, Ramona Pop has lived in Germany since the age of ten. After graduating from high school in Münster, she studied political sciences at the University of Münster and the Free University Berlin. In 1997 Ramona Pop joined the party Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen. In 2001 she was elected to Berlin’s Abgeordnetenhaus (parliament) on the Green Party’s ticket. Here, she began her career as the spokesperson for youth and labour policy before being elected chairperson of the Green Party group in 2009. Since 2016 Ramona Pop has been Mayor and Senator for Economy, Energy and Enterprises and was elected to the Abgeordnetenhaus on a direct mandate for the district Mitte-1. She is ex-officio chairwoman of the Berliner Stadtreinigung, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe and Berliner Wasserbetriebe (Berlin’s agencies for city cleaning, public transport and water). She is Chairwoman of the Board of the Investitionsbank Berlin, member of the supervisory board of Messe Berlin (Berlin’s trade fair) and a Berlin Partner for Economy and Technology. She is also a member of the board of trustees of the Lette-Verein in Berlin.

Patron of the Evening

Alexander Shelley

© Thomas Dagg

Shelley, now 39 years of age, returns for a fourth tour 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 BJO, the joint tour with Campino of the band “Die Toten Hosen” in 2016 stands out. Last year, Shelley invited 46 BJO musicians to join a performance of Britten’s War Requiem in Ottawa. 



©Masimba Sasa

The South African composer and singer Msaki (Asanda Lusaseni-Mvanage) grew up in a musical family: her father worked as a DJ and choir conductor, her grandfather was a well-known composer. Msaki initially studied graphic design, founding the first band of her own in 2009. One decisive step was moving to North Carolina, USA, in 2012, where she continued her studies together with 30 other South African artists. After returning to South Africa, she focused on her musical career, founding her own independent label, One Shushu Day Artistry. In 2013 Msaki recorded her CD Nal’ithemb. In 2016 his was followed by her debut album on her own label, Zeneliza: How the Water Moves, for which she collaborated with the award-winning jazz pianist Nduduzo Makhatini. Msaki’s sound combines soulful folk with symphonic movements, Xhosa poetry and African polyrhythms as well as passages of profound improvisation.



"Johannesburg Festival Overture" (1958)


"Three African Songs" (World Premiere)


Symphonic Picture from the opera "Porgy and Bess" (1942, arr. Robert Russell Bennett)


Symphony No. 2 in D Major Op. 73 (1878)

7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Anne Kussmaul at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm


The National Youth Orchestra of Germany (BJO) loves surprises and contrasts. The orchestra, which unites the best young instrumentalists from Germany aged 14 to 19, has proven this many times at Young Euro Classic. Last year it offered profound Central European musical fare; in 2019 the orchestra’s gaze moves further afield. There has been a close connection between the BJO and South Africa for many years – the fruit of this friendship is a brand-new composition by the South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr, which has its world premiere at Young Euro Classic. Before, there is the effective Johannesburg Festival Overture, which William Walton composed in 1956 for the 70-year-anniversary of the South African metropolis. This forms a perfect combination with the symphonic portrait from Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. And the contrast? That comes after the interval – with the sun-filled Symphony No. 2 by Johannes Brahms.


The concert will be recorded by kulturradio vom rbb (USW 92.4 and Cable 95.35); it will be broadcast as part of the ARD Radio Festival on August 23, 2019.

The concert will be streamed LIVE on


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