25 Years of Future!

Young Euro Classic celebrates its 25th edition! Musical talents from all over the world who have dedicated themselves to the European orchestral tradition, a shared passion for music and concerts at the highest level: this is the Festival’s core brand. Since its first season in 2000, Young Euro Classic has developed into the leading platform available to international youth orchestras in the European classical music tradition. Always with an open ear for resounding culture outside of Europe, the Festival has dedicated itself to open-minded exchange between cultures, traditions and countries, in keeping with its democratic founding spirit.

Festival within the festival “re:play”: From Brazil to South Africa

While the youth orchestra scene was still characterized by very different levels of accomplishment during the early years of the Festival, today youth orchestras offer impressive levels and musical delectation throughout. The breadth of the remarkable orchestra network that Young Euro Classic has helped develop is also reflected in facts and figures: 178 orchestras from 59 nations have appeared at the Festival in Berlin since 2000; 26,544 young musicians have offered unforgettable highlights; the European Composition Award has inspired promising composers to write 172 new and ever-surprising works. The high quality of the concerts and the extraordinary talent of the rising young musician have been rewarded: with incomparable enthusiasm and standing ovations from the audience, but also with promising success stories of the musicians and their careers in the world’s leading orchestras after their performances at Young Euro Classic.

Around the World in 17 Days

This year’s festival-within-the-festival, “re:play – Freedom of Sound”, allows Young Euro Classic to look beyond the horizons once again, illuminating classical music traditions outside of European classical orchestra culture. The first orchestra to perform during this last Festival weekend is the Brazilian youth orchestra Orquestra Sinfônica Jovem de Goiás on August 23, performing an all-South American programme; it is followed by an orchestra from Kazakhstan, the Eurasian Student Symphony Orchestra, which offers romantic sounds by Schumann and Dvořák plus a Kazakh dombra ensemble. The spectacular finale of the entire Festival is the MIAGI Orchestra from South Africa on Aug. 25, which has invited a jazz band and a large percussion ensemble to join it; together, they go “In Search of the African Footprint”.

After the opening night on Aug. 9 with the National Youth Orchestra of Portugal, 16 further Festival days offer plenty of room for novelty, fascination and unusual elements: thus, after its 2019 debut, the extraordinary Galilee Chamber Orchestra from Israel returns to the Konzerthaus, offering an audible signal for practical reconciliation among peoples with its Arabic-Jewish mix of musicians – even in times of war. The same goes for the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra, building bridges not only between the disparate neighbouring countries in the region, but also between classical music and rock and pop songs from the Balkans. Surprising programming combinations can always be expected from Hugo Ticciati with his Scandinavian-inflected O/Modernt New Generation Orchestra, while the orchestra Filarmónica Appassionato Juvenil from the Dominican Republic has reserved the second part of its concert for an all-Dominican programme.  

Of course Europe takes pride of place in the 2024 programme of Young Euro Classic: apart from the Portuguese Youth Orchestra (JOP), the outstanding Nationaal Jeugdorkest from the Netherlands also returns to Berlin; after a lengthy hiatus, the Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie, an ensemble of highly talented young string players, will be heard in a diverse programme at the Konzerthaus. As befits the “Year of Czech Music” 2024, the Ševčík Academy Orchestra represents its homeland in a Festival debut; from Turkey, the National Youth Philharmonic, a regular and welcome guest, appears under the baton of its founder Cem Mansur. The epitome of “Europeanness” is the brilliant European Union Youth Orchestra, which has provided Festival highlights for many years and represents all 27 EU states. A special veneration for tradition is the trademark of the Angelika Prokopp Summer Academy of the Vienna Philharmonic, which is coached by members of the world-class orchestra.

Young Composers, Jazz and Dance

The pillars of the great romantic orchestral repertoire will not be neglected in 2024: there will be Mendelssohn and Schumann as well as Dvořák and Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. The prominent soloists include the violinist Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider and the cellists Jan Vogler and Nicolas Altstaedt as well as the pianist Boris Giltburg; the performance of the only 26-year-old English saxophone player Jess Gillam, a veritable shooting star, with the Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie promises a real event. Contemporary music has its usual prominent place in the programme: composers of the younger generation from Portugal and Turkey, Israel or the Netherlands contribute works promising unusual impressions – as always, an audience jury will decide the winner of the European Composition Award.

A plethora of further musical facets rounds out the Festival’s panorama: “British Standard Time” is the title of the programme performed by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra from Great Britain in its Young Euro Classic debut. The National Youth Ballet of Germany makes its twelfth appearance at the Festival, always a highlight for dance fans. The youngest music lovers are the focus of the various activities of the programme “Next Generation”. Together, all this guarantees 17 days of youthful fireworks from musicians from all over the world, rediscovering great and popular masterworks and broadening the horizons by discovering the unknown and the unexpected!