Since its founding in 1987 by Leonard Bernstein, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra has enjoyed an outstanding reputation. From among 1,500 applicants all over the world, about 110 young musicians are selected every year to participate in the seven-week Orchestra Academy, the centrepiece of the pedagogical work of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, where they work on great orchestral literature with famous conductors. The works are prepared in sectional rehearsals and then rehearsed intensively during the full orchestral sessions. In addition to Principal Conductor Christoph Eschenbach, conductors like Kent Nagano, Iván Fischer, Michael Sanderling, Manfred Honeck, Krzysztof Urbanski, Vladimir Jurowski and many others work with the Festival Orchestra regularly. Tours have taken the orchestra to the European music metropolises, to the USA and China. Every summer, the Festival Orchestra is constituted anew.
During recent seasons, the Latvian conductor Andris Poga has been a sought-after guest on many concert stages. He was invited by almost all the German radio orchestras, including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, made guest appearances with the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and the Orchestre de Paris as well as in Zurich, Rome, Tokyo and Sydney. The career of the 40-year old conductor, who studied at the Music Academy in his hometown of Riga and in Vienna, began in 2010 when we won the International Conducting Competition “Yevgeny Svetlanov” in Montpellier. 2014 brought his international breakthrough, when he substituted at short notice for Valery Gergiev and Lorin Maazel during a tour of Asia of the Munich Philharmonic. Within Poga’s broad repertoire, a predilection for works by Shostakovich, Schnittke and Strauss stands out. He is also a noted champion of the works of his compatriot Peteris Vasks.
“Rendering” for Orchestra; by Luciano Berio based on sketches and motifs by F. Schubert (1989)
Symphony No. 5 in E-minor Op. 64 (1888)
Without the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the musical landscape would be bereft of a wonderful youth orchestra which has been at the top of its league ever since Leonard Bernstein founded it more than three decades ago. The Young Euro Classic audience loves the SHFO – whether it performs in Berlin with its chief conductor Christoph Eschenbach or other promising names. This year it is the young Latvian Andris Poga, and he delivers a programme with a punch. A special listening experience is Luciano Berio’s composition Rendering, which spins the voluminous sketches for Schubert’s unfinished Tenth Symphony further and interprets them as a “Schubert symphony for the 20th century”. The romantic counterweight is Piotr Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a musical rollercoaster ride that begins with dark, melancholy strains and culminates in an overwhelming, exuberant finale, illustrating all the possibilities of impressive orchestral playing along the way.