Johanna Wokalek (c) S. Klueter


The countdown has begun: in only a matter of weeks we shall be starting rehearsals for our 2018 Transatlantic Orchestra Project of the Cuban-European Youth Academy. Even the preparatory phrase proved exciting. We received more than 200 applications from outstanding young musicians all over the world. After a selection process that involved several separate stages and a series of auditions on the island of Cuba and in various towns and cities in Europe we have finally settled on the orchestral membership of this year’s Cuban-European Youth Academy: seventy-five musicians from fifteen countries from Turkey to the United Kingdom and from Portugal to Armenia and Cuba will come together this summer to rehearse, study and spend time together in a communal setting.

In recent years our Orchestra Projects have revolved around music from the Baroque to Classicism and Romanticism, but this year it is the turn of music from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Works from Cuba and Europe will provide living proof of the intercultural exchange that is at the heart of our Cuban-European Youth Academy, including its concert programme.

The world premiere of Jan Müller-Wieland’s Maria offers the young musicians the challenging prospect of preparing a contemporary work in which literature, theatre and music are combined in the closest possible ways. Under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock the Cuban-European Youth Academy will perform the piece with the actress Johanna Wokalek, the baritone André Morsch and the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Soloists. The performance will mark the culmination of this year’s Ruhrtriennale. Also on the programme are works by Cuban composers, notably Jenny Peña Campo’s Cuban Dance Suite, which generated such storms of enthusiasm when it was premiered in the summer of 2017 in both Berlin and Wiesbaden.



23 September 2018 Grand Hall of the Zeche Zollverein, Essen (Ruhrtriennale)




Maria: Eine Vertreibung für Sprecherin, Sprecher, vier Herrensoli, Chor und Orchester (world premiere)


Cuban Dance Suite

Other works to be announced



Johanna Wokalek, speaker
Peter Simonischek, speaker
André Morsch, baritone
Balthasar Neumann Choir and Soloists
Cuban-European Youth Orchestra
Thomas Hengelbrock, conductor


CuE receives no institutional support, with the result that all its projects are financed by project partners and project-specific subsidies from various foundations.

The 2018 Transatlantic Orchestra Project is taking place in cooperation with the Ruhrtriennale and with the kind involvement of the Orchesterzentrum NRW. It is supported and financed by the RAG Foundation, the Foreign Office and Condor.