Music Without Borders: the Young Euro Classic Festival

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At the beginning of August, when the blue carpet with the yellow stars is rolled out in front of the Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt, it’s time for the start of a special concert event. Each year youth orchestras with about 1,500 young artists travel to the German capital from around the world. Jazz from South Africa, artistically traditional music from China – and a great variety of contemporary contributions: in the eleven years since it was founded, Young Euro Classic has developed into an important feature in Berlin’s rich cultural life. During last year’s 17 festival days, the number of visitors reached 26,000 and notched up a new record. There were more than 20 concerts, and tickets for every one of them were sold out. “We’ve closed the summer gap in Berlin’s music scene,” says Gabriele Minz, director and co-initiator of the festival.

In 2011, from August 5 to 21, the festival will include orchestras from five continents. Young musicians from Korea and New Zealand will be joining in for the first time. The Auckland Youth Symphony Orchestra made the longest journey to Berlin. Among the musical highlights are the concerts given by youth orchestras from North and South America: specially sponsored musical talents from 20 South American countries, the USA and Canada play together in the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. Berlin is also welcoming orchestras from Brazil and Colombia. The Brazilian Orquestra Juvenil da Bahia, led by Ricardo Castro, will be opening this year’s Young Euro Classic Festival. Mr Castro first made his name in the 1990s as an internationally renowned concert pianist.

In 2011 the audience will be enjoying another special concert experience with the Festival Orchestra Turkey-Germany. German students from the Folkwang University in Essen, students from Turkish music academies in Istanbul and music students from throughout Germany with Turkish migration backgrounds will be appearing on stage together. Their concert is also celebrating a special anniversary of Turkish-German relations. Fifty years ago the first Turkish immigrant workers came to Germany. Now, almost a quarter of Germany’s population with foreign roots is of Turkish origin.


Photo © Young Euro Classic-Kai Bienert

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