With its 164 musicians, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYOGB) can call itself the world’s largest youth orchestra. In addition, it is one of the oldest: since its founding in 1948 it has given more than 600 concerts involving about 5000 highly talented musicians aged 13 to 19. Some of them went on to great careers: the conductor Sir Mark Elder (a former bassoonist), as well as the Berlin Philharmonic’s former chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle (a percussionist) and the composer Judith Weir (an oboist). The repertoire concentrates on large-scale symphonic works by Mahler, Elgar and Strauss, all the way to Bartók, Lutoslawski and Thomas Adès. The NYOGB’s special position is emphasized not only by its annual concert at the BBC Proms in London; in 2014 the orchestra also participated in the 60-year jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Through the trend-setting programme “NYO Inspire”, the orchestra members aim to pass on their own skills and experience to other young musicians through workshops throughout the United Kingdom. After its breath-taking performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony in 2015, NYOGB appears for the second time at Young Euro Classic in Berlin.
Something to be proud of: Dietmar Bär, who plays the character of Freddy Schenk in the Cologne Tatort crime series, was voted the most popular TV investigator in Germany in 2014. He has played the Detective Inspector in over 70 cases since 1997 and won the German Television Award in 2000. Together with Klaus J. Behrendt, he received the Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2015 from Prime Minister Hannelore Kraft.
Dietmar Bär, a native of Dortmund, considers it of extreme importance to remain close to his people. As often as he can, the ardent fan of Borussia Dortmund mixes with the fans in the stadium in his black and yellow jersey. His daily life, however, is rather different from the rough big guy with an insatiable appetite for “currywurst” he plays in the Tatort series. Dietmar Bär loves to read, listens to all kinds of music and has developed into a gourmet with vegetarian preferences: “I am too old for cheap wine and bad food.” However, he is not too old for the various social causes he supports: Bär is a founding member of “Tatort – Straßen der Welt e.V.” which supports children’s rights in the Philippines, in Swaziland and Germany. And he supports Young Euro Classic not only as an evening patron, but also as a member of the German Association of Friends of European Youth Orchestras e.V.
Originally from Sussex, the conductor Mark Wigglesworth won the renowned conducting competition Kirill Kondraschin in Amsterdam in 1989. This launched the 25-year-old artist’s career: ever since, Wigglesworth has conducted the great American orchestras in Boston, Cleveland, New York and Chicago as well as major orchestras in Great Britain and Europe. In 2002 he made his debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London and in 2005 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Wigglesworth was closely associated with the English National Opera; his 2014 contract as music director, however, was terminated in 2016 after a conflict with the ENO’s management. Among his CD productions, the cycle of the complete Shostakovich symphonies with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Radio Philharmonic of the Netherlands stands out. The conductor has also come to attention as the author of a six-part TV series Everything to Play For; in 2018 Wigglesworth also published the book The Silent Musician, Why Conducting Matters.
Alongside a stellar international career, the Russian-German violinist Alina Pogostkina has close ties to Berlin. She studied with Antje Weithaas at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy for seven years and still lives in Prenzlauer Berg. Born in 1983 in what was still called Leningrad at the time, the musician moved to Heidelberg with her parents in 1992. Even at the age of four, Alina had received her first violin lessons from her father, who remained her teacher for 15 years. Winning the Sibelius Competition in Helsinki in 2005 catapulted Alina Pogostkina into the first rank of young violinists. Ever since, she has performed in all the world’s renowned concert halls and at the most famous festivals. Among her musical partners are Vladimir Ashkenazy, Gustavo Dudamel, David Zinman, Jonathan Nott, Paavo Järvi, Michael Sanderling and Robin Ticciati. Apart from the great violin repertoire, the musician also plays baroque music on gut strings. She has also founded the project “Mindful Music Retreat”, which encourages young musicians to take a holistic approach to physical, mental and emotional health and balance.
Violin Conerto in D Major Op. 35 (1878)
"Romeo and Juliet" Op. 64 (1935-1944, excerpts)
7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Anne Kussmaul at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm
The performance of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain at Young Euro Classic in 2015 is still fresh in passionate Festival-goers minds: at the time, the youthful musicians from the British Isles played Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with a compelling earnestness which made the listeners completely forget the enormous difficulty of the work. This time, the programme is a little bit less weighty: the main work is Sergey Prokofiev’s ballet music for Romeo and Juliet, always a hit with players and audience alike, due to its brilliance and colourfulness. Piotr Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is no less demanding, combining dazzling virtuosity with a good dose of melancholy. The music of Lera Auerbach, who is celebrated worldwide for her works, often sends sparks flying: her symphonic poem Icarus was first performed in 2011, tracing the tragic flight of the Greek hero in atmospheric sounds.
This concert will be recorded and broadcast nationwide by Deutschlandfunk Kultur – via FM, DAB +, Kabel, online and app.
The concert will be streamed LIVE on arte.tv/yec