The National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands (NJO) is part of the extensive “Summer Festival” during which 160 young musicians – not only from the Netherlands – come together in the province of Gelderland to work with outstanding docents for several weeks in various ensembles. The highlight of the project is the NJO Music Summer (taking place this year from August 5 to 21, 2016), presenting the results of the rehearsal phase. During past years, Young Euro Classic has presented the NJO’s baroque orchestra and the opera company, and now it is the large symphony orchestra’s turn again. The NJO reflects the extremely rich musical tradition of the Netherlands, which has always had an open ear for contemporary music – as was the case 100 years ago when Gustav Mahler worked there – and still does. Thus, during recent years, composers such as Steve Reich, John Adams, Kaaja Saariaho and Wolfgang Rihm have been the NJO’s “composers in residence”.
Journalist, former Director of the ARD Studio in Brussels
Tough times in Brussels! After the British voted for Brexit, the European capital then had to survive the “Krexit” as well: Rolf-Dieter Krause, the ARD’s “Mr. Europe” for decades, retired amidst well-earned accolades. Now he is a true Berliner. Krause, born in Lüneburg, began his career as a local editor in Unna, Kamen and Hamm, moved to the WDR Studio in Düsseldorf in 1982 and became the ARD Correspondent in Bonn from 1985 to 1990. In 1990 he finally landed where he belonged: in Brussels. After an intermezzo as a Deputy Studio Director in Bonn and Head of Programming for the WDR TV in Cologne in 2000, Brussel welcomed him back in 2001 – for the rest of his professional life. His explanations of Europe were a class of its own – as is the extremely tall correspondent himself. Occasionally, he regretted having so little time for reporting from the countries which he was also responsible for in Brussels – apart from the EU and NATO: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. He always found the Netherlands particularly interesting. Why? Surely his speech as patron of the evening at Young Euro Classic will explain…
Dutch conductor Antony Hermus is currently Artistic Advisor of the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands and Principal Guest of the North Netherlands Orchestra. He has guest-conducted orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Royal Concertgebouw, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony, MDR Leipzig Symphony, and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and will soon debut with Royal Flemish Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic. He studied piano and conducting at the Tilburg Conservatory, becoming Music Director of the Theatre Hagen from 2007. From 2009 to 2015 he was Music Director of the Anhaltisches Theater in Dessau, where he was nominated for Conductor of the Year in Opernwelt magazine for three years in a row. He has guest-conducted operas in Stuttgart, Komische Oper Berlin, at the Opéra de Paris studio, Rennes and Dutch Reisopera; in 2016 he returns to the Komische Oper and makes his debut at Gothenburg Opera with Verdi’s Macbeth.
The Dutch pianist Hannes Minnaar studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and launched his career by winning prizes at the Piano Competition in Geneva (2008) and at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (2010). In the meantime, the 32-year-old has performed as a soloist under renowned conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Herbert Blomstedt, Eliahu Inbal and Edo de Waart. His second CD, Bach Variations, was widely praised by the critics; Minnaar is currently working on a recording of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos. He presents these concerts live with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (Jiří Bělohlávek), the BBC Philharmonic (Juanjo Mena) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Manfred Honeck). A member of the award-winning Dutch Van Baerle Trio, the pianist is also a passionate chamber musician; in 2015 the piano trio gave 18 concerts as part of the series “Rising Stars”, including appearances in Vienna, Paris and London.
“Chase” (2013, German Premiere)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Major Op. 83 (1881)
Suite from “Der Rosenkavalier” Op. 59 (1911/1944)
“La Valse” (1920)
This concert of the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands (NJO) will delight fans of rich orchestral sound – especially as the colours are frequently remixed! During the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Johannes Brahms, the orchestra alternates powerful waves of sound with withdrawal into tender, melancholy sounds. And while the piano part demands everything from the soloist in technical and musical terms, the cello gets to revel in a beautiful melody in the slow movement. The Rosenkavalier Suite by Richard Strauss is much more Viennese by comparison: opulent, vivid, brilliant form the first to the last measure. And then there is the sizzling swansong of the Viennese waltz, Maurice Ravel’s La Valse, ending the NJO’s concert at Young Euro Classic on a fulminant high note.