August 29th, 2023

Young Euro Classic fills the Berlin Summer with Enthusiasm

A brilliant performance by the Orchestre Français des Jeunes and the presentation of the European Composition Award to the Ukrainian composer Evgeni Orkin by Berlin’s Senator of Culture, Joe Chialo, brought the 24th season of Young Euro Classic to a successful close. The world’s leading youth orchestra festival offered its approximately 24,500 visitors an impressive programme: over the course of three and a half weeks, there were 17 orchestra concerts plus evenings of chamber music, ballet and literature. With NEXT GENERATION, the youngest audience members had a series of performances and events dedicated to them. One special highlight was “Courage in Concert”, a festival within the festival focusing on Ukraine and its “neighbours of war” from Estonia, Georgia and Uzbekistan, demonstrating how cultural exchange can convey solidarity and give hope even in times of crisis.

The reflection of current world events in music is exemplified by the piece to win the European Composition Award, the Ukrainian composer Evgeni Orkin’s Odessa Rhapsody. The Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine presented its German premiere at Young Euro Classic 2023. Commissioned in 2022 by the conductor and founder of the orchestra, Oksana Lyniv, from Orkin, who lives in Germany, the work paints a portrait of the lively and diverse Black Sea metropolis, but also of a city in war and conflict. Odessa Rhapsody “takes the listener on a highly associative and atmospheric musical journey: it is the portrait of a feeling of life,” the jury said in its decision. The prize, which is awarded every year by the Mayor of Berlin, was presented to the composer Evgeni Orkin on the last evening of the festival by Joe Chialo, Berlin’s Senator of Culture.

“Courage in Concert”, the festival within the festival, presented not only the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, but also orchestras from Georgia, Uzbekistan and Estonia, some of the “neighbours of war”. “In these difficult times, being able to celebrate our differences, but also the commonalities between the cultures and individuals, made this week very special. The highlight of Young Euro Classic for me were the concerts. Discussing music afterwards together was inspiring and helped us find new ideas,” says the violinist Triin Veissman from Estonia, a participant in the chamber music academy which brought together musicians from Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Estonia to rehearse and perform a programme of classical and traditional music. “Wortwechsel”, an evening with authors from all four countries, also illuminated the literary treatment of war and conflict.


A Full Programme for a Full House

“The 24th edition of the Festival was as fascinating and diverse as it has rarely been“, says Dr. Gabriele Minz, its general manager. “The concerts, many of them sold out, reflected the audience’s longing to be inspired by the quality and the unadulterated emotionality of the young musicians, even in difficult times.”

The percentage of seats filled was 93%, with 24,500 festival attendees.

“It was a celebration which seemed to transcend the current situation in politics and life, yet kept them alive in its contents; it was an orchestral feast of musical youth from all over the world,” thus the artistic director, Prof. Dr. Dieter Rexroth.

Especially the sold-out programmes of NEXT GENERATION, the children’s day with concerts to join in and fairy-tale performances, as well as the concert of the German-French Youth Academy, confirm the goal of Young Euro Classic to share the joy of music with the youngest generation as well. The German-French Junior Academy, which brought young musicians from Berlin-Neukölln and Pau in France together for the third time, was an affirmation of German-French friendship, especially in the 60th anniversary year of the Élysée Treaty, as did the performance of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes that closed the festival.

Young Euro Classic – Facts and Figures

During the 24th edition of Young Euro Classic, 17 youth orchestras from Asia, North and South America and Europe, a chamber music ensemble and a ballet company proved their artistic mettle on stage at the Konzerthaus Berlin. With two orchestras from the Netherlands, i.e. the Jong Metropole Symphonic Jazz Orchestra and the Concertgebouworkest YOUNG, as well as the Tbilisi Youth Orchestra and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan, four orchestras made their Young Euro Classic debuts.

In total, more than 1,300 musicians aged 14 to 28 participated in this year’s festival, led by 16 male and one female conductors. Almost 30 countries resp. regions were represented. The total percentage of seats filled was 93%.

The presenter looks forward with eager anticipation to the festival period next year – from August 9 to 25, 2024 – when Young Euro Classic celebrates its 25th edition.


Streams and Radio Broadcasts

ARTE Concert streamed the following concerts live, and they are available for three more months on demand in the media library:

Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (concert on Aug. 21)

Orchestra of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (concert on Aug 22)

Deutschlandfunk Kultur recorded the following concerts and broadcast them nationwide – via the Dlf Audiothek App, USW, DAB+ and The broadcasts are still available for catch-up listening online:

10.08.   NYO Jazz (concert on Aug. 6)

17.08.    National Youth Orchestra of Romania (concert on Aug. 13)

24.08.   Youth Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan (concert on Aug. 20)

27.08.   Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (concert on Aug. 21)

31.08.    Orchestra of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (concert on Aug. 22)

rbbKultur (USW 92,4 and Cable 95,35) will broadcast the following recordings on Sept, 9 as part of the ARD Radiofestival:

05.09.   Tbilisi Youth Orchestra (concert on Aug. 19)

05.09.   Concertgebouworkest YOUNG (concert on Aug. 25)


Enabling the Joy of Music

For their trust and long-standing support, the German Circle of Friends of European Youth Orchestras e.V. thanks the Konzerthaus Berlin and Ströer.

Further thanks are due to the Federal Government, the State of Berlin, the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Neustart Kultur, the KfW as well as the Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken and the GVL, our media partners, the numerous supporters and donors, and the wonderful Young Euro Classic audience. The festival within the festival “Courage in Concert” was supported by the Lotto Foundation Berlin.

For enabling NEXT GENERATION to take place, the festival thanks the Federal Ministry of Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the German-French Youth Foundation and Erasmus+.

We also thank the Association of Friends of young.euro.classic e.V.


Tomorrow’s Musicians Today!
The 25th anniversary edition of Young Euro Classic takes place from August 9 to 25, 2024 at the Konzerthaus Berlin on Gendarmenmarkt.

For further information:

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