The first concert of the Berlin Youth Orchestra took place in November 1987 and thus this year they celebrate their 30th anniversary. Since their first performance, several generations of musicians have progressed through the ensemble. Their activity is limited to two projects a year, each consisting of an 8-10 week preparation cycle. This year the rehearsals began in September, and usually for the sake of greater concentration, they take place outside the city.
The enterprise attracts both instrumentalists and winners of prestigious competitions for young people, and provide an opportunity to gain experience for musicians who have not yet determined their direction in life.
Every year a famous conductor is invited to collaborate with the orchestra. To date they have performed under the baton of Volker Wangenheim, Wolf-Dieter Hauschild, Lothar Königs, Peter Gülke and Shi Yeon Sung to name but a few. This year's edition will be led by Johannes Klumpp, a renowned conductor collaborating with many German ensembles (Philharmonic in Dusseldorf, Cologne, Dresden, Nuremberg and many more). Johannes Watzel will be the soloist, a musician belonging to Deutschen Symphonie Orchester Berlin.
The intention of the project organizers is probably to gradually introduce young people into the world of orchestral work. This is reflected in the repertoire. The Landesjugendorchester has been working on both classical and 20th century compositions since September. Mozart's pieces could serve as the first stage of work: Idomeneo overture KV 366 and Rondo for violin and orchestra in C major KV 373. "Vox amoris" for violin and orchestra by Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks is a contemporary work but highly classicized. The music of the Latvian composer is characterized by formal simplicity and communicativeness. He took on, as did many Polish artists, the path from radical aleatory experiments to tradition, which can be heard in the subtle reminiscences of folk music, for example. The culmination of the work, and also the greatest artistic challenge for the talented German youths, will be a performance of Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich. This composition is monumental (45 minutes!) and like most of the symphonies of Russian genius was created in the oppressive times of Stalinism, which stigmatized music. Fortunately, young people can get to know this through the window of art.
Mikołaj Rykowski PhD
Musicologist and clarinetist, doctorate, and associate at the Department Music Theory at the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. Author of a book and numerous articles devoted to the phenomenon of Harmoniemusik – the 18th-century practice of brass bands. Co-author of the scripts "Speaking concerts" and author of the spoken introductions to philharmonic concerts in Szczecin, Poznań, Bydgoszcz and Łódź.