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Christoph Eschenbach and Tzimon Barto in the very successful Summer Tour 2014 of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester

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“ (, 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.

Photo credits:
Gregor Khuen Belasi
Salzburg Festival/Marco Borrelli/Lelli

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For more CD's featuring the GMJO click here.

In Memory of Claudio Abbado

Excerpt from Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9 from the EuroArts DVD 2054008, shown with kind permission of EuroArts Music International. Recorded live at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome, 14 April 2004. Directed by Bob Coles, Produced by Paul Smaczny, Audio Recording by Michael Seberich. A production of EuroArts Music in co-operation with RAI Trade, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia © 2004 EuroArts Music International GmbH.

Claudio Abbado (1933-2014)

It is with great sadness that the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester informs of the passing away of its founder and music director, Claudio Abbado.

Throughout his life, Claudio Abbado passionately worked with young musicians and provided them with many opportunities. A few years after the successful foundation of the European Community Youth Orchestra, and always refusing to be hindered by any political or bureaucratic obstacles, it just seemed logical to Claudio Abbado to establish the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, a youth orchestra that reached beyond the borders of the European Community.

Dr. Erhard Busek, President of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, says: “Claudio Abbado was a visionary who, through the foundation of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, anticipated the European unification and continued to work tirelessly on it. We must not forget the obstacles which had to be overcome when, in 1986, Claudio Abbado invited musicians from Austria and the neighbouring states of the former Eastern Bloc to make music together. This is genuine European spirit and we bow in gratitude to Claudio Abbado, whose legacy we shall continue.”

The number of musicians who took part in projects of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and who later joined many of Europe’s leading orchestras is enormous. They all owe Claudio Abbado the decisive impetus for their musical life.

In addition to leading some of the most important musical institutions in the world, Claudio Abbado also devoted himself to the foundation of new orchestras. These have influenced musical life and orchestral culture in a decisive manner, and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester is proud to be the founding part of important ensembles such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the Orchestra Mozart.

Claudio Abbado fought, throughout his life, for his projects, his orchestras, and his beliefs. He often managed to realize projects that were apparently impossible with a truly visionary spirit.

Alexander Meraviglia-Crivelli, Secretary General of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester: “It was a great privilege to organise numerous concert tours under Claudio Abbado, including Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder, a great North and South America tour with Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, or Wagner’s Parsifal in a scenic production by Peter Stein. Claudio Abbado always demanded the utmost devotion and dedication from his musicians and from his team. He was not an administrator but a visionary, and he has managed to achieve the seemingly impossible against doubters and bureaucrats. For him, the only thing that mattered was: Prima la musica – and this will always be an example and inspiration for all of us.”

Ever since its foundation, Claudio Abbado was involved in the development and the international success of his Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. For us, to commemorate him with great gratitude means to continue this project, maybe his most important one, with great dedication.


einen Monat zur�ckOCTOBER 2014einen Monat vor



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DVD Trailer
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Soloist: Juliane Banse
Gustav Mahler: Symphony no. 4 in G major

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Audio Samples
13. Auf dem Gipfel
  1. Richard Strauss: Alpine Symphony / Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  2. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 9 in D-major / Conductor: Claudio Abbado
The pan-European youth orchestra under the patronage of the European CouncilIMPRINT