When founding the orchestra in Vienna in 1986, Claudio Abbado was still guided by the idea of overcoming the Iron Curtain with the help of music. 30 years later, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester has long become a pan-European orchestra – with 2000 young musicians applying every year in 25 cities for one of approximately 100 places in the orchestra. The level is proportionately high, and the list of conductors reads like an international Who is Who: from Herbert Blomstedt, Peter Eötvös, Bernard Haitink and Mariss Jansons among the older generation to younger stars like Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Daniel Harding, Jonathan Nott and David Afkham. The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester has performed at the great halls in London, Amsterdam, Vienna and New York as well as the festivals in Salzburg and Lucerne, in Edinburgh and at the BBC Proms. After its celebrated performance in 2016, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester now returns to Young Euro Classic.
The conductor Ingo Metzmacher needs no special introduction in Berlin. He left a permanent impression a the latest during his tenure as chief conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester (2007-2010), leading thematic concert cycles dedicated to “The German Soul” or “1909” and introducing moderated Casual Concerts. The 58-year-old Metzmacher commands a huge concert and opera repertoire, with particular focus on 20th-century and contemporary music. Works by Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Hans Werner Henze and Wolfgang Rihm are included, just like Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Nono and Edgard Varèse. At the same time, Metzmacher also champions romantic rarities by Schubert, Humperdinck and Pfitzner. He led a new production of Wagner’s Ring at the Geneva Opera in 2013/14. This spring, the festival KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen takes place under Metzmacher’s artistic direction for the second time.
The French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is not only at home in all the world’s famous concert halls, but also a regular guest in Berlin. Most recently, he appeared here as the soloist in Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony at the Musikfest Berlin and performed piano works by Gershwin and Qigang Chen with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in November 2016. This illustrates the enormous range of the pianist’s repertoire, including Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Grieg as much as Tchaikovsky, Khachaturian, Duke Ellington and Bill Evans. This season, Thibaudet toured through China with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. At the same time, he was Artist in Residence at the Orchestre National de France, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he performed as a soloist and chamber musician and gave master classes. In addition, Thibaudet has a passion for film music, most recently recording Aaron Zigman’s music for Wakefield (2016). He also performed the solo parts in the soundtracks to Atonement (2007) and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2012).
“Accompaniment to a Film Scene” Op. 34 (1930)
Concerto for Piano in F (1925)
“The Wonderful Mandarin” Op. 19 (1919)
“Daphnis et Chloé” Suite No. 2 (1907/1912)
7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Anne Kussmaul at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm
Last year the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester made an unforgettable impression with its rendition of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. This year the musicians once again stop in Berlin on their summer tour. Originally founded by Claudio Abbado, the GMJO has been one of the world’s best youth orchestras for more than 30 years. Prominent conductors impart all their experience to the young musicians – and the Berlin festival performance of 2017 will be no exception, with Ingo Metzmacher leading the orchestra. The programme of early 20th-century highlights is perfectly tailored to the strengths of this ensemble: Bartók’s highly demanding score for the ballet The Wonderful Mandarin is complemented by the inebriated whirl of Ravel’s Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé. Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F provides a jazzy contrast and features a celebrated interpreter of this piece (and many others), the French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.