Vienna, September 18, 2023
The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) Summer Tour 2023 proved to be nothing short of truly extraordinary. Under the baton of the great Czech conductor JAKUB HRŮŠA for the very first time, the tour with 111 musicians from 21 European countries was an immense success from its inception to its conclusion. This journey brought together a harmonious fusion of unparalleled talent and passion, leaving audiences across Europe spellbound by the orchestra's consummate professionalism and profound connection.
The residency at Pordenone commenced with extensive rehearsals led by ten prominent orchestral tutors from some of Europe´s leading orchestras, followed by an acclaimed chamber music concert, before CHRIS BLEX, assistant conductor of the GMJO since this year, conducted two concerts in the Regione FVG with Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen, and Franz Schubert´s Symphony No. 4. These performances took place at the awe-inspiring Duomo di Tolmezzo and Duomo di Gemona.
In Bolzano / Bozen, the other long-term residency city in Italy, the stage bore witness to another chamber music concert and a third symphonic concert under CHRIS BLEX´ direction, this time together with the American soprano JACQUELYN WAGNER, performing Four Songs op. 27 by Richard Strauss.
The tour progressed with JAKUB HRŮŠA taking over as conductor in Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 9, a masterpiece described by Herbert von Karajan as "music emanating from another realm, from the very depths of eternity." (Richard Osborne: Herbert von Karajan. A Life in Music, 1998)
After concerts at Bolzano / Bozen and Pordenone, the tour continued with highly acclaimed concerts in front of sold-out audiences in some of Europe's most iconic concert halls and leading festivals, such as the Salzburg Festival, the Dresden Kulturpalast, the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, the Rheingau Music Festival, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Over the course of ten days, the tour was fueled by the remarkable synergy between the exceptionally talented musicians and JAKUB HRŮŠA'S dynamic presence. All these venues, with their rich history and acoustic splendor, provided the perfect backdrop for transcendent performances of the GMJO, where its musical prowess resonated with unmatched clarity and grandeur.
The exceptional quality of these performances did not escape the discerning eye of critics:
[…] musical temperament that is congenial to Mahler in many respects (Südtiroler Tageszeitung, August 19, 2023); World class (Kronenzeitung, August 22, 2023); A great moment of the YEC Festival 2023 (Der Tagesspiegel, August 24, 2023).
These two Frankfurt-based newspapers praised the concert at the Rheingau Music Festival: Jakub Hrůša , [...] award-winning Mahler interpreter, draws all the power possible out of the best youth orchestra in the world and thus gives the Rheingau Festival one solitary concert evening (Frankfurter Neue Presse, August 28, 2023); Both emotional depth and compositional modernity came to the fore in the interpretation, which was rehearsed in detail down to the audible intensity (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Rhein Main Zeitung, August 28, 2023).
The triumphant Summer Tour 2023 of the GMJO was a monumental journey of musical excellence and artistry. Under the inspired leadership of JAKUB HRŮŠA, this tour not only celebrated the genius of Gustav Mahler but also showcased the enduring power of music to forge connections across borders, leaving an indelible imprint on the hearts of all who had the privilege of attending.
I. © Marco Borrelli, II. © Anna Cerrato,
III. © Anna Cerrato, IV. © Daniel Dittus
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