|National Youth Orchestra of Germany, Mario Venzago, 2012|
Tour Dates: 19 - 28 July, 2012
An internationally acclaimed ensemble, with extensive experience in the promotion of outstanding young talent, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany is a leader in field of youth orchestral work...
The National Youth Orchestra of Germany was founded in 1969 as the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and has, from that day to this, constituted an important part of the federal support programme for the highly talented, representing Germany's musical education both nationally and internationally. The 100 or so musicians of the orchestra are between 15 and 19 years of age, come from all corners of Germany, but all have one thing in common: their commitment to the highest musical standards. In the National Youth Orchestra of Germany they find a space in which their social competences are strengthened, their enthusiasm for music is fuelled and their extraordinary talents are fostered by working with like-minded peers. Most of the young musicians find their way into the orchestra as participants and winners of the national music competition "Jugend musiziert". Others have come through a professional audition process.
Three times each year the musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany meet to rehearse some of the world's greatest orchestral works under the supervision of renowned conductors and experienced tutors. The programmes usually display a wide stylistic spectrum, ranging from the classical tradition to contemporary works, and the concerts attract much attention in the music world. Numerous alumni of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany now occupy leading positions in professional orchestras, teach at music colleges or have established international careers as soloists.
Intercultural experience and the promotion of international understanding represent another of the orchestra's main themes. During the 50th anniversary of the Berlin airlift, the orchestra gave concerts with Kurt Masur in the USA, its tour "Germany and Poland, together in the Heart of Europe" saw concerts held in nine Polish and German cities, and as part of the programme "Germany in Japan 2005/06" the orchestra toured Japan with Gerd Albrecht. In the past, the orchestra has also initiated exchange projects with young musicians from China, Serbia, South Africa, and Venezuela.
Mario Venzago was born in Zurich, studied in Zurich and Vienna with Hans Swarovsky and started his career as pianist of the Swiss broadcast station in Lugano. From 1986 to 1989 he was music director of the Heidelberg opera house and Philharmonic Orchestra and later served as chief conductor of the German Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Graz Opera, the Basque National Orchestra, the Basel Symphony Orchestra, and the Swedish National Orchestra in Gothenburg. He was Artistic Director of the Baltimore Summer Music Fest and from 2002 – 2009 Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In 2010 he was named Principal Conductor of the Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle and in the same year was appointed chief conductor of the Bern Symphony Orchestra, as well as Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta. He is also "Schumann Guest Conductor" of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker and holds the position of Conductor Laureate of the Basel Symphony Orchestra.
Mario Venzago's distinguished conducting career has included engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, La Scala di Milano, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the NHK Symphony in Tokyo. In North America he has appeared with the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony. He has also conducted, among other prestigious festivals, at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals.
Several of his CD's which include orchestral works of Robert Schumann, Luigi Nono, Othmar Schoeck, Alban Berg, and Maurice Ravel have been awarded international prizes (including the Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'or and the Edison prize), and the movie about him,""My Brother the Conductor" by Alberto Venzago, received the highest accolades. Venzago has worked with famous stage directors Ruth Berghaus, Peter Kowitschny and Hans Neuenfels.
Nicolas Altstaedt was awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artists Award 2010 and gave his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel at the Lucerne Festival 2010. He received a Borletti Buitoni Fellowship 2009 and currently is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, which includes BBC studio recordings, performances and recordings with BBC orchestras, appearances at the BBC Proms, the Wigmore Hall and various festivals.
Born in 1982 into a family of German and French descent, Nicolas Altstaedt was one of Boris Pergamenschikow's last students in Berlin, where Nicolas is still working with Eberhard Feltz.
He recently performed with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, with the RSO Stuttgart, the Stuttgart and Zurich chamber orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne- and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras, the Finnish and Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra under conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, Mario Venzago, Dennis Russell Davies, Adam Fischer, Sir Andrew Davies, Jeffrey Tate, Walter Weller and Andrey Boreyko.
Next season includes debut performances with the Auckland Philharmonic, Beethovenorchester Bonn, the Tonkünstlerorchestra at the Musikverein Vienna and in Osaka and tours with the Lucerne Festival String Orchestra and Kammerakademie Potsdam.
He appears in concert around the globe with such artists as Gidon Kremer, Daniel Hope, Yuri Bashmet, Pekka Kuusisto, Alexander Lonquich, Jörg Widmann, the Quatuor Ebène, and has collaborated with composers Thomas Ades, Wilhelm Killmayer, Sofia Gubaidulina and HK Gruber. He has recently performed the Double Concerto of György Kurtag at the composers' 85th birthday concert in Budapest, and is a regular guest at the festivals of Lockenhaus, Jerusalem, Ludwigsburg, Rheingau, Salzburg Summer and Salzburg Mozart Festival.
He has been awarded first prizes of the German Music Competition and Domnick Cello Competition 2005, the Adam International Cello Competition New Zealand 2006, the Marguerite-Duetschler Award - Gstaad 2008 and the Prize of the Kulturstiftung Dortmund 2010.
His last recording of the Haydn Cello concertos as well the recording of the cello concertos of Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Gulda have been highly acclaimed.
"Music should always have an open quality, it should look to the future and seek to touch what lies ahead, reaching into the unknown. It is this quality that the musicians of the Bundesjugendorchester embody so uniquely. Besides their musical brilliance, it is the players' great enthusiasm for the music they create which generates the sparkling character of this exceptional orchestra."
-- Kurt Masur