What do Sabine Meyer, Christian Tetzlaff, Tabea Zimmermann and Alban Gerhardt have in common? They are not only internationally successful soloists, they are all also former members of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. Since 1969, this orchestra has offered young instrumentalists between the ages of 14 and 19 – most of them winners of the German national “Jugend musiziert” competition – the opportunity to gain their first experiences of a symphony orchestra at a professional standard. The admission procedure is already like the professionals, and only those who pass the audition can become members. Three times a year the young people come together to rehearse a concert programme which they subsequently take on tour under the leadership of experienced orchestral musicians and conductors such as Gerd Albrecht, Heinz Holliger or Kurt Masur.

Young top musicians as musical ambassadors for Germany

In 2008 the National Youth Orchestra of Germany made their first appearance in Scharounʼs temple of the muses, the Philharmonie, at the invitation of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation together with Sabine Meyer as the soloist and Michael Boder as the conductor. Since then, they have come to Berlin every year, the young members always impressing audiences with their sheer joy of music-making. In 2011, Sir Simon Rattle was the conductor and said enthusiastically:, “What a pleasure it is to meet this wonderful new generation of musical colleagues.” In 2013, the Berliner Philharmoniker took over the sponsorship of the Bundesjugendorchester, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany, an orchestra which gives about 25 concerts every year – and not only in Germany, but all around the world. As musical ambassadors for Germany, they have performed as far afield as Venezuela, the USA and Poland.

Together with Philharmoniker soloists

Their next guest appearance in the Philharmonie is on 5 April 2016. What makes this concert so special is that five of the six soloists are members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Principal horn Stefan Dohr plus horn players Stefan de Leval Jezierski, Sarah Willis and Andrej Žust are the soloists in Robert Schumann's Concert Piece for four horns. Also from the ranks of the Berliner Philharmoniker is principal cellist Ludwig Quandt, who together with violist Theresa Schwamm, a former member of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany, play the solos in Richard Strauss' symphonic poem Don Quixote. The concert opens with the two orchestral suites from Manuel de Falla's ballet El sombrero de tres picos. The conductor is Sebastian Weigle. And one last thing: Among the Berliner Philharmoniker there are no less than 18 former members of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany.