Only nine years ago, in 2011, the Orquesta Nacional Juvenil de Uruguay – Sodre (ONS), the National Youth Orchestra of Uruguay – Sodre, was founded by Ariel Britos; it has its headquarters at the Auditorio Nacional del Sodre in Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo. About 100 young musicians are members of the orchestra, which offers not only musical training, but also emphasizes the intellectual and cultural development of its members and keeping contact with new audiences. On the occasion of the ONS’ five-year anniversary, the orchestra undertook a tour with 20 performances within Uruguay and the surrounding regions. In addition, the orchestra has completed many other tours as well: in 2013 a first tour abroad took it to the USA and to Panama; in 2014 it toured Germany, Italy and Spain. The orchestra played in 2015 in Washington DC on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the USA. In 2017 it celebrated the 100-year anniversary of La Cumparsita, the “tango of tangos”, with a multitude of concerts.
Born in Montevideo in 1969, the conductor Ariel Britos is the founder and director of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Uruguay, the Orquesta Nacional Juvenil de Uruguay – Sodre. He originally studied piano, then also viola performance in his homeland, in Mexico and Brazil. In 1996 Britos moved to Venezuela, where he worked intensively with “El Sistema”, the network of children’s and youth orchestras founded by José Antonio Abreu. After his return to Uruguay, the musician initiated a similar project there with the motto “Un niño, un instrumento” (An instrument for every child). Ever since, Britos has been dedicated to expanding the youth orchestra scene in Central and South America; thus, he has worked with orchestras in Panama, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico and Brazil. In 2005 he coordinated the “Orquesta Juvenil Latinoamericana” conducted by Claudio Abbado. For his artistic and social work, the Ariel Britos has won multiple awards, including the title “UNESCO Artist for Peace”.
The Uruguayan Héctor Ulises Passarella is one of the world’s most sought-after bandoneon virtuosos; he has also made a name for himself as a composer and arranger for this instrument. Born in Florida, Uruguay, in 1955, young Héctor began playing in a bandoneon orchestra at the age of 13 and soon founded his first trio. Later he won several international competitions, including the Concorso Ottorino Respighi, which earned him a one-year scholarship to live in Italy. Ever since, Passarella has not only performed in all the great cities of Latin America, but also in Munich, London, Prague, Rome, Istanbul and Tel Aviv. He became known to a broader film audience when he performed Luis Bacalov’s film score for Il postino (1994) as well as through movies such as Milonga and The Love Letter (also composed by Luis Bacalov). Together with Plácido Domingo, Passarella recorded Bacalov’s Misa Tango, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001. As an arranger, Passarella has won renown for his adaptations of Bach and Vivaldi works, among others.
Symphony No. 4 f-Minor Op. 36 (1877)
“Montevideo Diversa” (1999, German premiere)
“Suite Rioplantense” (1995)
Suite “Estancia” (1941/43)
7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Anne Kussmaul at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission with concert ticket
This concert is sure to add a new colour to the Young Euro Classic programme: the National Youth Orchestra of Uruguay makes its first appearance at the Konzerthaus in Berlin – and is flanked by a brilliant soloist, the bandoneon player Héctor Ulises Passarella. He will demonstrate his abilities mainly in his own compositions, of which Montevideo Diversa will be heard in Germany for the very first time. These works are bookmarked by two Latin American hits: Huapango, Mexico’s unofficial national anthem, and the folkloristic and fiery suite Estancia by the Argentinean Alberto Ginastera. However, the guests from Uruguay also speak “European”: in homage to the great symphonic tradition, the programme opens with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, in which the composer made his entire personal fate resound. It is difficult to imagine greater contrasts in one concert!