August 19th, 2021

Media release / August 15th, 2021

On stage in large-scale orchestral formations, in overwhelming sound quality on Gendarmenmarkt, with musicians from Havana to Berlin-Neukölln: for two and a half weeks, Young Euro Classic has risen to the challenge of presenting high-carat classical music, highly motivated young musicians and an innovative, international programme – in conditions adapted to the pandemic. The 17 concerts at the Konzerthaus had an occupancy rate of 98 percent; five performances reached more than 2,000 additional visitors thanks to immersive-sound broadcasts. And the three events of the education programme NEXT GENERATION found a very young audience to enchant.

“Culture – especially when the protagonists are young – requires major support in these difficult times, or a whole generation of artists will be lost, including to the professional orchestras,” festival director Dr. Gabriele Minz said. “A remarkably large number of people contributed actively to these young, well-trained musicians not losing their confidence.”

Promoting the Next Generation

With a view to the pandemic’s challenges, the longing of the young musicians to play in larger formations and abroad again led to admirable flexibility and discipline on the part of the orchestras.

Thus, not only did the bi-national Young Euro Classic Orchestra Germany-France open the festival, but the German-French Junior Academy, uniting children and young adults aged 7 to 20 from Berlin and Pau in the Pyrenees, could also take place. In an example of ideal German-French cooperation, students of the Paul Hindemith Music School in Berlin-Neukölln and members of the “El Camino” initiative of the Orchestre de Pau Pays de Béarn, which carries on the spirit of El Sistema, rehearsed a festive programme for the Young Euro Classic Family Day.

National youth orchestras from Romania, Greece and Austria as well as the international casts of the LGT Young Soloists, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra and the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra made their enthusiasm at having an audience again audible – and were rewarded with standing ovations.

 New Discoveries

The open-mindedness of the orchestras, which had to make do with ca. 65 musicians on stage, was also reflected by the programme, which included works from the era when classical music was developed.

“It was very interesting to experience how the orchestras engaged with the repertoire of the classical era,” says the artistic director of the festival, Prof. Dr. Dieter Rexroth. “Youth orchestras are usually designed to perform with as large and broad a cast as possible, so this was quite a challenge for them, both in planning, structure and quality. They rose to it with outstanding aplomb.”

Several contemporary compositions and programmes, such as “Un/Sung Heroines” of the Sweden-based O/Modernt New Generation Orchestra, or “Classic meets Jazz” with pianist Clara Haberkamp, proved that classical music never stops developing, even in restrictive times – for example by focusing on female protagonists, which included Marzena Diakun, conductor of the opening concert, and Clara Haberkamp, artistic director of “Classic meets Jazz”.

Double Finale with Mozart and Mambo

The Orquesta del Lyceum de La Habana from Cuba had the longest journey to Berlin. Together with the horn player Sarah Willis, the young ensemble presented the successful programme “Mozart y Mambo” no less than twice in one day – another indicator that Young Euro Classic enables cultural exchange even in difficult circumstances.

Composer’s Award in 2021

As a platform for international contemporary music, since 2000 Young Euro Classic has presented the European Composers Award (financed by the State of Berlin), honouring the best world or German premieres performed at the festival. Given the existential cuts in cultural life necessitated by the coronavirus, the prize money was divided equally this year between the five featured composers: Kurt Schwertsik, Arturs Maskats, Marcelo Nisinman, Airat Ichmouratov and Aleksander Khubeev.

Joint Efforts for Music and Young People

Without the support and trust of long-standing partners, this edition of Young Euro Classic could not have been imagined: the presenter, the Deutscher Freundeskreis europäischer Jugendorchester e.V., and the festival’s team is especially grateful to the Federal Government (BKM and BMFSFJ), the State of Berlin and the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, the KfW Bankengruppe and the Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken, the German-French Youth Foundation, the GVL, its media and other partners – and the many private donors. The special format of the open-air broadcasts was enabled by extraordinary support from the Senate Department of Culture and Europe with its initiative DRAUSSENSTADT as well as the LOTTO Foundation Berlin.

Young Euro Classic takes place in close and fruitful collaboration with the Konzerthaus Berlin, which offered the necessary framework for safe events in accordance with Berlin’s official hygiene concept for cultural institutions.

Reprise: Streams and Concert Broadcasts

Half the concerts were broadcast either live or will be broadcast. Some concerts are available via the media libraries of our media partners:

ARTE Concert at
Bundesjugendorchester, National Youth Orchestra of Romania, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra

Deutschlandfunk Kultur via „Kultur zum Nachhören“, each at 8:03 pm:
Young Euro Classic Orchestra Germany-France (live), Wiener Jeunesse Orchester (live), Bundesjugendorchester (live), Classic meets Jazz (30.08.), Orquesta del Lyceum de La Habana (17.08.)

rbb Kultur via „Talente und Karriereneach at 6:03 pm
National Youth Orchestra of Romania (21.08.), LGT Young Soloists (04.09.)

Deutsche Welle via Youtube (not available in Germany and France)
Bundesjugendorchester, National Youth Orchestra of Romania (starting on 01.01.2022)

Tomorrow’s Musicians Today!
Young Euro Classic, the festival of the world’s best youth orchestras
Next festival edition: August 5 to 21, 2022 at the Konzerthaus Berlin

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