Over the past 30 years, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) has acquired a reputation as one of the world’s best youth orchestras. Ever since its founding in 1981, the orchestra has appeared on tour in Europe and Asia, for example at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg and not least at Berlin’s Philharmonie. It performs approximately five concerts a year at home at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. More than one hundred members aged 12 to 21 are coached every week by members of the San Francisco Symphony before rehearsing as an orchestra with Christian Reif. High-carat musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sir Simon Rattle, Wynton Marsalis, Midori, Kurt Masur and Valery Gergiev, but also The Grateful Dead have worked with the ensemble. The orchestra considers itself an active member of its community, performing at local festivals, at hospitals and benefit events, for example for earthquake victims. The summer of 2019 sees its eleventh international concert tour.
Since 2016/17, German-born Christian Reif is Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. His appointment followed two years in Miami as Conducting Fellow with the New World Symphony. Previously, he was chief conductor of the Lincoln Center Chamber Orchestra and assistant conductor at Camerata Notturna in New York. As assistant to Alan Gilbert, he appeared at the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial in 2014. Reif has been a member of Germany’s Conductor’s Forum (Dirigentenforum) since 2014 and was one of the Forum’s featured “Maestros of Tomorrow”. Christian Reif studied with Alan Gilbert at the Juilliard School in New York and with Dennis Russell Davies and Jorge Rotter at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He won the German Music Council’s Operetta Prize in 2015. In 2017/18 Reif made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony and conducted the Orchestre National de Lyon, the German State Philharmonic Orchestra of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz, Austria.
Nicola Benedetti was born in Scotland in 1987 and began playing the violin at the age of four. At eight, she was concertmaster of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain. In 2000 the teenager performed with the Scottish National Orchestra and the Scottish Opera. In 2004 Benedetti won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition in Edinburgh. In 2012 she was a soloist at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert hall in London, reaching an audience of millions worldwide via television. Another career highlight was a guest appearance at “Rod Stewart’s Christmas” that same year. In early 2019 she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She regularly works with the world’s best orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Prelude No. 1 from "Three American Preludes" (2014)
Violin Conerto in D Major Op. 35 (1878)
Symphony No. 1 D Major (1888)
Famous concert halls are packed to the rafters when these musicians appear: the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra! Hear one of the world’s best youth orchestra on June 29, 2019 at the Philharmonie Berlin. After the orchestra’s immense success in 2015, they finally return to Berlin. More than 100 young talents aged 12 to 21 build bridges between Old Europe and the American spirit under the baton of the German conductor Christian Reif.
The orchestra has invited one of the most sought-after violinists of the younger generation: Nicola Benedetti. In Tchaikovsky’s only and highly demanding Violin Concerto, she conveys the piece’s drama and joie de vivre. In addition to Tchaikovsky, you will also hear a work by the German composer Detlev Glanert, who unites the American and German musical traditions. Finally, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 beckons with its very own expressive sound world.