For the second time since its 2011 Young Euro Classic debut, Orkester Norden (ON) performs at the festival in Berlin. Founded in 1993 in Stockholm at the initiative of the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the ensemble has long become one of the established youth orchestras in Europe. It reflects the extraordinarily rich Nordic culture, incorporating not only great orchestral works of the romantic era and the 20th century, but also electronic music, rock and film scores. The orchestra also commissions contemporary composers to write new works for the orchestra. Occasionally, ON moves headquarters: for example, after several years in Denmark, it moved to Lahti in Finland in 2019, where the Lahti Symphony Orchestra hosts the summer working phases of Orkester Norden. During recent years, the orchestra has also incorporated more and more musicians from the three Baltic States.
The Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen has made an international name for himself both in the opera house and the concert podium. After studying violin in Trondheim, the moved to Stockholm to join the conducting class of the legendary Finnish conducting teacher Jorma Panula; later he took further lessons from Leopold Hager in Vienna. From 2009 to 2013 Gullberg Jensen was chief conductor of the NDR Radio Philharmonic in Hanover; there he also leads a classic open-air concert this summer featuring Bizet’s opera Carmen. The 48-year-old is regularly invited as a guest conductor to the Vienna State Opera, the Zurich Opera, the English National Opera in London and Den Norske Opera in Oslo, where he has conducted Dvořák’s Rusalka, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Puccini’s La Bohème. In Berlin, the Norwegian has conducted at the Komische Oper as well as the Deutsches Symphonieorchester (DSO) and Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSB) several times. Starting in 2021, Gullberg Jensen takes up the position of artistic director of the Bergen Opera in Norway.
The Finnish-Dutch cellist Jonathan Roozeman, who is only 23 years old, currently studies with Frans Helmerson at the Kronberg Academy near Frankfurt. However, the doors to his international career were opened wide in 2015, when he won prizes at the International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Naumburg Cello Competition. This season, he performs with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon and the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra. During the past season, Roozeman appeared several times at Berlin’s Konzerthaus in the young artist series curated by the pianist András Schiff. In Roozeman’s repertoire, a predilection for lesser-known concerti is notable, for example those by Dmitri Kabalevsky, Aulis Salinnen, Joonas Kokkonen, Henri Vieuxtemps and Alexei Shor. The cellist plays an instrument built in 1707 by the German-Italian luthier David Tecchler, on loan to him from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
The Finnish composer Sauli Zinovjev, born in Lahti in 1988, switched from rock guitar to composition at the age of 16. He first studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, then with Wolfgang Rihm at the Karlsruhe Music Academy from 2010 to 2015. Apart from several chamber music and vocal works, Zinovjev has focused his output mainly on orchestral music. His first work Gryf (2013) was followed by Batteria, a commission from the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (2016), and the cello concerto Die Welt – ein Tor, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Finland (2017). In 2018 the Tapiola Sinfonietta commissioned him to write Un Grande Sospiro, the success of which has carried Zinovjev’s name beyond the Finnish borders. In April 2020 his latest work, a piano concerto written for Vikingur Olafsson, will be premiered in Helsinki. Zinovjev’s orchestral works are marked by strong emotions. “A composition must have everything,” thus the composer, “the entire life in a single moment.”
“Un Grande Sospiro” (2018, German premiere)
Concerto for Cello und Orchester (1969)
Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable" Op. 29 (1914-1916)
7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Anne Kussmaul at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm
Nordic by nature: Orkester Norden does its name honour when it returns to Young Euro Classic after an absence of nine years. Of course the young musicians are from the Nordic and Baltic countries, and their conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen is also Norwegian. Their entire concert programme is an invitation to experience the impressive musical tradition of this region. The centrepiece is the Fourth Symphony by the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, a panegyric musical drama written during World War I and given the sobriquet “The Inextinguishable”. The evocative, expressive Cello Concerto by Joonas Kokkonen, the symphonic grandmaster of the generation after Jean Sibelius, takes us to Finland. Nor is there a lack of contemporary music: the young Finn Sauli Zinovjev contributes the German premiere of an orchestral work with the beautiful (un-Nordic) title Un Grande Sospiro – “A Great Sigh”.