Described by the Guardian as having “gripping, exhilaratingly good orchestral playing, surging with energy, laser-sharp focus and collective daring… [and] a technical prowess that is downright terrifying”, it has provided an exceptional bridge between music colleges and the professional music world for generations of Europe’s finest musicians since its foundation in 1976. The Orchestra has worked with many of the world’s greatest musicians including Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, and particularly its three Music Directors and current Chief Conductor: founding Music Director Claudio Abbado, former Music Director Vladimir Ashkenazy, former Music Director and current Conductor Laureate Bernard Haitink, and Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko. One special recent highlight was the EUYO’s appearance in the official ceremony commemorating the end of World War I in Paris in November 2018, when it performed before 70 heads of government. The EUYO’s 3,000 alumni have all come through the Orchestra’s rigorous, annual audition process conducted in all (currently 28) EU Member States, and many are now notable conductors, soloists, teachers, and instrumentalists working with major orchestras in the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In conjunction with Brexit, the orchestra recently relocated from London to Ferrara, Italy.
Originally from St. Petersburg, Vasily Petrenko is a sought-after conductor who regularly appears with all the major orchestras in Europe and North America. Not only has he been the chief conductor of EUYO since 2015, but he is also the chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2021 he also takes on the position of music director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. The 42-year-old Russian – who is no relation of the future chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Kirill Petrenko – also made a name for himself as an opera conductor, leading performances in Glyndebourne, Zurich and Munich (Boris Godunov); at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he makes his debut this season in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades. Among his numerous CD productions, a cycle of the complete Shostakovich Symphonies stands out, completed in 2015. Petrenko has also recorded works by Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Elgar and Szymanowski, to name just a few. The most recent addition to his discography is an album with Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6.
The Swedish soprano Miah Persson originally studied law and social studies before deciding to become a singer. Since her 1998 debut in Stockholm as Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, she has performed at all the great opera houses, from Vienna to London and Paris to New York, at the Salzburg Festival, in Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne. Her repertoire ranges from Handel via Mozart and Strauss to Poulenc and Britten. A sought-after concert singer, she is often heard in Haydn’s oratorios, Mahler’s symphonies and the Brahms Requiem.
The mezzo-soprano Theresa Kronthaler is well-known in Berlin from her time as an ensemble member at the Komische Oper (2012-16). Here, she sang important roles of her fach, such as Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and Handel’s Giulio Cesare. Today the singer, who was born in Würzburg and grew up in Rome, makes guest appearances on many stages: in Bremen as Carmen, at the Theater an der Wien as Eglantine in Weber’s Euryanthe and in Antwerp as The Lady in Hindemith’s Cardillac.
Originally from Vienna, the tenor Norbert Ernst has long made an international name for himself in the German fach. For many seasons, he sang the role of Loge in Wagner‘s Rheingold at the Bayreuth Festival; in this role, the 41-year-old also makes his debut at the Met in New York this season. In addition, he sings not only the roles of David (Meistersinger) and Erik (Der fliegende Holländer), but recently celebrated successful debuts as Lohengrin and Florestan (Fidelio). His first solo CD with opera scenes by Beethoven, Weber and Wagner was released in 2016.
The Croatian bass Leon Kosavic made his debut in the role of Papageno at the National Opera of Croatia in Zagreb at the age of only 20. In 2015 he first performed in Helsinki as Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale; in 2017 the singer made his debut as Don Giovanni in Stuttgart and as Ping in Puccini’s Turandot at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. This season, the 27-year-old Kosavic appears in Halévy’s La Juive in Antwerp, in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte in Lausanne and as Figaro in Strasbourg.
Two years ago, the Ernst Senff Chor celebrated its 50-year anniversary: since 1967 it has been a fixture of Berlin’s concert life. As a semi-professional ensemble able to vary between 20 and 120 singers, it is regularly engaged by many Berlin orchestras for joint projects. Its most recent projects have taken the chorus to the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, the Kunstfest Weimar, the Staatskapelle Halle and the Anhaltische Philharmonie in Dessau. Originally founded by Ernst Senff as a chamber chorus, today its repertoire focuses on large-scale symphonic literature of the 19th and 20th century, ranging from Beethoven via Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Brahms to Mahler, Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Numerous CD recordings document the chorus’s collaboration with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Carlo Maria Giulini and Riccardo Chailly. Since 2009 its artistic director has been Steffen Schubert. In January 2019 the Ernst Senff Chor won the International Classical Music Award in the category “Choral Works” for the best recording of the year, together with the Staatskapelle Weimar and conductor Kirill Karabits.
Originally from Kiel, Steffen Schubert studied conducting at the Berlin University of the Arts and in Bloomington, Indiana, before being appointed assistant to the chorus master Karl Kamper at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1992. Starting in 1995, Schubert worked for many years as a choral vocal coach at the Bayreuth Festival under Norbert Balatsch and Eberhard Friedrich. In 1998 he became chorus master and conductor at the Salzburg State Theatre. He also guest-conducted the chorus of the Zurich Opera and the choruses of the NDR and WDR. Since 2009 Schubert has been the artistic director of the Ernst Senff Chor, which he has prepared for many performances with Berlin’s leading orchestras, at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and the Kunstfest Weimar. Schubert is also responsible for the chorus of the Berlin Opera Group, whose most recent performances at Berlin’s Konzerthaus included Puccini’s opera Edgar (2019) and Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco (2018).
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor Op. 125 (1824)
7 pm Pre-Concert Talk with Dieter Rexroth at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission with concert ticket
It is surely Beethoven’s most famous work, and since 1985 it has been the official anthem of the European Union. However, the overwhelming final movement with the “Ode to Joy” is only one part of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Already deaf at the time of its writing, the composer burst through musical boundaries and pointed far ahead to the future. Thus, the Ninth remains a cornerstone for all orchestras and conductors who dare to grapple with its monumentality, its profundity and expressivity. At Young Euro Classic, it is the EUYO who rises to this challenge – that quintessentially European orchestra which unites musicians from all the 28 countries of the European Union. The orchestra’s outstanding quality is beyond doubt, its activism and enthusiasm no less. This concert will surely be one of the absolute highlights of Young Euro Classic at Berlin’s Konzerthaus!
Sing with us!