Appearing for the first time with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, conductor Christoph Eschenbach led the GMJO Summer Tour 2014, which was dedicated to the memory of our founder and music director Claudio Abbado. The current music director of the National Symphony Orchestra and of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. was joined by long-time artistic partner pianist Tzimon Barto, in his second project with the GMJO, after 1991.
The tour programmes featured Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto op. 16, Olivier Messiaen’s Les offrandes oubliées, Peter I. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, and the world-premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s Piano Concerto No. 2. As a joint commission of the Salzburg Festival, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, and the National Symphony Orchestra Washington D.C., the new concerto was one of the musical highlights of the summer. After the premiere in Salzburg, it was also performed by the GMJO in Italy and in Germany, being very well received by audiences everywhere.
The Summer Tour 2014 started with a residency in our partner-city of Bolzano/Bozen, followed by performances at the Salzburg Festival, at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (Hamburg and Lübeck), at the Stresa and Rimini Festivals, at the Semperoper Dresden – where it appeared at the invitation of the Staatskapelle Dresden –, at the Rheingau Music Festival (Kloster Eberbach), and at the Essen and Cologne Philharmonies.
The concerts were enthusiastically received by audiences and press alike: “L’orchestra risponde con intensità e compattezza: i componenti denotano sensibilità nell’esecuzione e piena sintonia” (l’ApeMusicale, 02.09.14); “Solist Tzimon Barto beseelte das ihm gewidmete, wenig virtuos auftrumpfende Konzert poetisch und pointiert“ (Ruhr Nachrichten, 07.09.14); “Sprechend in der Artikulation entfesselten die jungen Musikerinnen und Musiker die Expressivität ebenso, wie sie das Lichte im Schluss zur formen wussten“ (Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 05.09.14). And doyen Gerhard Rohde praised the performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 within the cycle of Bruckner symphonies that were performed at the Salzburg Festival by some of the world´s leading orchestras: “Christoph Eschenbachs Interpretation der Siebten überzeugte […] durch formale Disziplin, plastischen Klang und kluge Dispositionen.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 03.09.2014).
Before the tour concerts began, and as in previous years, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester took part in the award-winner’s concert of the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award (YCA). Young French conductor Maxime Pascal, winner of this year’s edition of the award, conducted the GMJO in a programme featuring works by Claude Debussy, Ernest Chausson (with mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa), and Igor Stravinsky: “Insgesamt schien das Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in jeder Sekunde bestrebt, seinem jungen Dirigenten jeden Gestaltungswunsch nicht nur vom Stab, sondern auch von Aug und Herz abzulesen: ein musikalisches Miteinander war das, wie man es sich lebendiger, aufmerksamer und damit wirkungsvoller nicht wünschen kann“ (DrehPunktKultur.at, 18.08.14).
After the auditions that will take place during the winter in more than twenty European cities, the next project of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester will be the Easter Tour 2015, for which we will welcome back conductor Jonathan Nott, current principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, for performances of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in collaboration with various choirs. The residency will take place at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and concerts are planned for Aix-en-Provence, Ljubljana, Vienna, Hamburg, Madrid, and Barcelona.
Salzburg Festival/Marco Borrelli/Lelli