The programme for the next season will be published in spring 2024
Music Means Encouragement!
The Festival took place from August 4 to 27, 2023 at the Konzerthaus Berlin.
You can find the complete programme of Young Euro Classic 2023 in our archive.
For the 24th time, Young Euro Classic is the face of classical music in summertime Berlin this August. A transcontinental “upbeat” featuring wonderful orchestras from Asia, Cuba, the USA and Germany is followed by performances by outstanding European ensembles, before the festival of the world’s best youth orchestras offers a special highlight: “Courage in Concert”, a festival-within-the-festival, brings young musicians from the Ukraine and three of “war’s neighbours” (Estonia, Georgia and Uzbekistan) to Berlin. The title says it all: music means encouragement.
On the first four Festival evenings, Young Euro Classic straddles three continents: the Asian Youth Orchestra opens the Festival on Aug. 4, 2023, followed by the Bundesjugendorchester, uniting the best teenage musicians from Germany. Under the leadership of world class trumpet player Sean Jones, NYO Jazz returns to Young Euro Classic for its second appearance. And after their two celebrated concerts in 2021, the Orquesta del Lyceum de La Habana and the horn player Sarah Willis make a dazzling return.
The Festival’s strong middle section opens with the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, followed by the National Youth Orchestras of Romania and Norway – two ensembles whose outstanding quality has given Young Euro Classic audiences impressive concert experiences over the years. The Western Balkans Youth Orchestra has a political mission, as young musicians from the non-EU Balkan countries are determined to build bridges across the deep ethnic and religious divides of this region through music.
The accordion makes a double appearance this year: during the concert of the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra, and with a world premiere during the tour of the Bundesjugendorchester, thereby once again proving its innovative ambition. Nor is this the only example of the broad palette the Festival offers: the dazzling jazz ensemble of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA will make the Konzerthaus swing together with legendary vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the Dutch Jong Metropole Symphonic Jazz Orchestra performs with bandleader Chris Walden, a Hollywood star.
Nor will fans of great late-romantic symphonic works be disappointed: the Asian Youth Orchestra opens the festival with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. There will be symphonies by Rachmaninov, Sibelius and the Estonian composer Eduard Tubin, flanked by works of classical modernism, for example by Dmitri Shostakovich and Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Outstanding performances are guaranteed by great conductors: the list ranges from Manfred Honeck, who leads the European Union Youth Orchestra, to Jakub Hrůsa, who conducts the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in Gustav Mahler’s monumental Ninth Symphony. Andrés Orozco-Estrada leads the Concertgebouworkest YOUNG, a newly-founded offshoot of the world-famous Dutch orchestra, in its Young Euro Classic debut.
Another eagerly-anticipated event is the eleventh appearance of the Bundesjugendballett, the National Youth Ballet of Germany, on August 26.
A Festival within the Festival: “Courage in Concert”
For more than twenty years, Young Euro Classic has stood for cultural exchange, European values and peaceful coexistence.
Under the title “Courage in Concert”, the Festival has invited youth orchestras from Ukraine and three of “war’s neighbouring countries”, Estonia, Georgia and Uzbekistan, to a festival within the festival from August 19 to 22. The title “Courage in Concert” is programmatic – encounter formats, musical exchange and inspiring concerts offer the young artists and authors maximum encouragement. The framework programme offers further exchange, also including the audience. The series opens with the Tbilisi Youth Orchestra from the capital of the Caucasian republic of Georgia, where the young music scene is as bustling as in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan, whose Youth Symphony Orchestra finally makes its debut on August 20 – a concert originally scheduled for 2020. These are followed by orchestras from the Ukraine and Estonia, both with highly characteristic programmes.
One remarkable feature of these concerts is the large number of young composers: new works are not only a focus on the Georgian programme, which features no less than two of them, but also on the Uzbeks’ programme. Apart from grandmaster Arvo Pärt, the Estonian orchestra presents the work of a young composer, Alisson Kruusmaa. The new piece by the young Ukrainian Bohdana Frolyak is not part of the competition for the European Composition Award because its premiere takes place during an earlier concert of the orchestra’s tour. The conductor Oksana Lyniv is an internationally sought-after star and has become a figurehead of Ukraine’s cultural fight for survival – she leads the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, which she also founded.
The popular Young Euro Classic Children’s Day takes place on August 13, offering hands-on experiences and workshops for children and teenagers keen to playfully delve into music.
The last day of the Festival, August 27, is dedicated to the commemoration of the 60-year anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, which laid the foundation for the special German-French friendship. In a matinee concert by children for children, the members of the German-French Junior Academy from Pau in Southern France and Berlin-Neukölln present the fruits of their intense rehearsal period.
The final concert of Young Euro Classic will be performed that evening by the acclaimed Orchestre Français des Jeunes.