Cuban-European Youth Orchestra

The Cuban-European Youth Academy (CuE) stands for transatlantic cultural exchange beyond borders, for cooperation and support for youth, for give and take, hospitality, sustainability and continuity in education. Founded in 2014 by Thomas Hengelbrock and the Academy Balthasar Neumann, the Academy and the CuE Orchestra constitutes the only Cuban-European orchestra in the world. Beyond the orchestral work, it forms chamber ensembles, gives master courses and presents workshops. One focus of the musical work is on contemporary Cuban music and the classical European symphonic orchestra repertoire. After its launch in 2015, the Cuban-European Youth Orchestra also performed in Cuba in 2016; this summer, it makes its Berlin debut at the finale of Young Euro Classic. The CuE is supported both by the Rheingau Music Festival and the Foreign Ministry of Germany; its patron is Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

September 3, 2017 8 pm

Konzerthaus, Berlin

Dr. Klaus Lederer
Patron of the Evening
Duncan Ward

© Alan Kerr

At the age of only 28, Duncan Ward already looks back upon an astounding range of musical experience. At 12, he composed his first musical, Alice in Wonderland – and conducted it with his own orchestra at his school in the British county of Kent. Soon after, he founded his own band, “The Grasshoppers”, accompanied silent movies at the piano, became a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and was proclaimed “Composer of the Year” at the BBC Competition in 2005. In 2012 Ward became the first conductor to join the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as Simon Rattle’s assistant. He conducted members of the Philharmonic and its Academy in numerous concerts featuring music by Webern and Boulez and – on the occasion of the centennial in 2013 – Britten, among others.  This season brings his debuts with the Orchestras of the Bavarian Radio and the MDR Radio Leipzig, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris. Duncan Ward conducts the Ensemble Modern at world premieres of works by Isabel Mundry and Manfred Trojahn.

Sophie Pacini

© Roland Breitschuh/ Warner Classics

Sophie Pacini, a 26-year-old native of Munich, made her concert debut at the age of nine, playing Haydn’s Concerto in D-Major. At the age of ten, she began studying with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling in Salzburg, adding further studies with Pavel Gililov later. One important supporter was Martha Argerich, whom she played for spontaneously at an Italian hotel, whereupon the prominent pianist invited her to her festival in Lugano in 2010. Sophie Pacini has performed at the Ruhr Piano Festival, at the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival. This season, the daughter of an Italian professor of literature has been invited as a soloist with the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the Bournemouth Symphony and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. She also released her fourth CD featuring works by Beethoven and Liszt; her previous solo albums covered Schumann, Liszt and Chopin, and she also released a CD with piano concertos by Mozart and Schumann. In 2014 Sophie Pacini won an Echo Classic Award.



Overture of “The Creatures of Prometheus” Op. 43 (1801)


Concerto for Piano No. 3 in C-Minor Op. 37 (1803)


“Bacchanale“ (1958)


Suite (2017)


“Cuban Overture“ (1932)

7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Anne Kussmaul at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm


Another premiere for the grand finale of Young Euro Classic 2017: for the first time, the Cuban-European Youth Orchestra performs at Berlin’s Konzerthaus. The ensemble behind the name is a very young orchestra which brings European talents together with their young Cuban counterparts at its music stands. And of course it combines Cuban temperament with European tradition – a fact also reflected in the diverse programme performed at Young Euro Classic! At the beginning, there is a lot of Beethoven; the second part then features the breath-taking Bacchanale by the French composer Ibert, a brand-new piece by the young Cuban composer Jenny Peña Campo and Gershwin’s Cuban Overture. The conductor and the soloist are absolute “must-hears” as well: at the young age of only 25, Duncan Ward is a British shooting star; the 26-year-old German pianist Sophie Pacini is one of the great keyboard talents of her generation.


The concert will be recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and broadcasted nationwide – via FM, DAB +, Kabel, online and app.

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