“Duncan Ward’s rehearsal period with the Cuban-European Youth Orchestra must have been enormously productive, for the musicians appear galvanized when they play for him, turning Beethoven’s overture into a genuine aural drama and phrasing each detail with unusual plasticity, a rhetorical knowledge of historically informed performance practice paying tremendous dividends when combined with the players’ youthful and fiery enthusiasm. Bravo!”
Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin
In the summer of 2017 more than seventy musicians from fifteen different countries came together for a Transatlantic Orchestral Project. It was the fourth such meeting. These talented young musicians aged between eighteen and twenty-eight had all been invited to take part in the project after a selection process involving several different stages, including a series of auditions.
The concert programme combined European and American works. Alongside Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture and Third Piano Concerto, in which the soloist was Sophie Pacini, the orchestra also prepared Jacques Ibert’s Bacchanale and George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, which is inspired by Cuban rhythms and sounds. A further high point was the world premiere of a contemporary Cuban work, Jenny Peña Campo’s Cuban Dance Suite, a piece specially commissioned by the Rheingau Music Festival.
“I’m very happy to have had this chance to work with the Cuban-European Youth Orchestra. It meant a lot to me since I really felt at home here. Working side by side with European musicians with whom I have become close friends. I have the feeling that this project is very special for all of us and that in many respects it allows us to grow through the greatest thing that we have: music.”
Alejandro Aguiar Rodríguez, Cuba (percussion)
Under the direction of the young British conductor Duncan Ward these young musicians came together to rehearse on the campus of Teikyō University on the outskirts of Berlin. In addition to intensive orchestral rehearsals there was also time for individual tuition, chamber music and various workshops. Where individual tuition was concerned, the tried and tested team of lecturers from the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble – all of them internationally successful musicians in their own right – was on hand to pass on their specialist knowledge to their younger colleagues. The rehearsal period also offered plentiful opportunities for barbecues, for swimming and dancing and for meeting other musicians.
The sold-out performances took place at the Konzerthaus in Berlin and the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, where the orchestra was greeted with a standing ovation. “The evening ended on a spectacular note with a jam session that seemed to go on forever. Here every player can contribute crazy solos to the collective’s driving beat. Tremendous cheering at the end.” (Der Tagesspiegel, 5 September 2017)
1 September 2017 Wiesbaden Kurhaus (Rheingau Music Festival)
3 September 2017 Berlin Konzerthaus (Young Euro Classic)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827): Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus op. 43 & Piano Concerto no. 3 in C minor op. 37 (soloist: Sophie Pacini)
JACQUES IBERT (1890–1962): Bacchanale
GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898–1937): Cuban Overture
JENNY PEÑA CAMPO (*1983): Cuban Dance Suite
Sophie Pacini, piano
Cuban-European Youth Orchestra
Duncan Ward, 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. Thanks to its continuing financial support, the Rheingau Music Festival enabled us to realize further Transatlantic Orchestral Projects in 2017.
We should like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters and partners for backing our Transatlantic Summer Project in 2017: Foreign Office, Rheingau Music Festival, Condor Flugdienst GmbH, Hackenberg Foundation, Federal Youth Orchestra
We are also grateful to our Cuban partners on our Transatlantic Orchestral Projects:
Lyceum Mozartiano de la Habana, Universidad de las Artes (ISA)