Grand emotions, international encounters and musical surprises

This summer, Young Euro Classic returns to its unique festival atmosphere – with large orchestras and a sold-out hall!

There is a fascinating mix of audience favourites, such as the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and the European Union Youth Orchestra, a high-carat opening night on August 5 with the National Youth Orchestra of the USA under Daniel Harding’s baton – and special guests on August 10. On that evening, despite all the attendant imponderables, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine will perform at Berlin’s Konzerthaus. The conductor is the sought-after Oksana Lyniv, who will also lead four performances of Der fliegende Holländer in Bayreuth this summer.

Amazing number of new names

Like all institutions, the world’s youth orchestras had to reduce their activities during the pandemic; all the stronger is the young musicians’ desire to demonstrate their abilities and enthusiasm at Young Euro Classic again. There are an amazing number of new names on the playbill, presenting very different aspects of youth orchestra work. First of all, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra catches the eye – at home in London, it brings together young talents with very different ethnic backgrounds. The programme, featuring composers such as Stewart Goodyear and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, reflects this mission; the concert is led by the young Venezuelan conductor Glass Marcano.

From the states of former Yugoslavia comes the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra, a new ensemble founded by the Albanian-born German pianist and conductor Desar Sulejmani. The orchestra members are from the six non-EU states of the Balkan: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. From farthest afield comes the National Youth Orchestra of Uruguay, which now makes the visit planned for 2020, celebrating Latin American sounds and rhythms. Almost on Berlin’s doorstep, in Szczecin, the International Lutosławski Youth Orchestra was founded in 2013 – it makes its debut at Young Euro Classic on August 17, performing the Cello Concerto by its namesake. Finally, there is the Angelika Prokopp Summer Academy of the Vienna Philharmonic, guaranteeing an exquisite concert experience under the tutelage of the world-famous orchestra – with Central European works by Haydn, Kodály and Dvořák.

A reawakened appetite

The festival begins with Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and it ends on August 21 with his Fourth – interpreted by the outstanding Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands. The reawakened appetite for large-scale performances is reflected in many programmes; sumptuous orchestral works by Strauss, Ravel, Rachmaninov and Bartók set the tone. A perfect contrast can be found in the Swedish O/Modernt New Generation Orchestra’s programmes, devised by its creative head Hugo Ticciati. O/Modernt comes to Young Euro Classic for a three-part Residency: two highly original concerts, ranging from the renaissance to Brahms and Bartók as well as Miles Davis, will be flanked by an education project.

European flair and lots of passion

Among the series of European guests, the national youth orchestras are always good for outstanding talent and lots of passion. That certainly true of the Portuguese, who bring not only Bruckner’s monumental Ninth Symphony, but also a world premiere by a millennial, 22-year-old Marta Domingues. After a long hiatus, the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana finally returns to the festival, offering a programme influenced heavily by dance and including the Symphonic Dances by Sergei Rachmaninov, the exiled Russian composer’s last work. Another audience favourite is the National Youth Philharmonic of Turkey, which focuses on Schumann and Tchaikovsky. The European Union Youth Orchestra exudes European flair with its members from all the 27 EU states, accompanying the exceptional violinist Renaud Capuçon.

Not without Germany’s Finest

The National Youth Orchestra of Germany makes its 20th appearance at Young Euro Classic, a festival that is hard to imagine without this orchestra. Its prominent soloists are Antje Weithaas and Maximilian Hornung, interpreting Johannes Brahms’ Double Concerto on August 6; Marc Albrecht also conducts Mahler’s First Symphony. The National Youth Ballet of Germany has also found a faithful following amidst Berlin audiences, which await the ensemble’s every performance with great curiosity. Last but not least, the Bundesjazzorchester is rightfully proud to present a jazz legend, the 84-year-old pianist Michael Gibbs.

Grand emotions, international encounters and musical surprises are guaranteed in Young Euro Classic’s 23rd season!