National Youth Orchestra of the USA

National Youth Orchestra of the USA | Daniel Harding | Alisa Weilerstein

Elgar | Mahler

Wed, 10.08. | 19.30

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Summer Festival

08.08.-11.09. 2022




    National Youth Orchestra of the USA

    National Youth Orchestra of the USA | Daniel Harding | Alisa Weilerstein

    Edward Elgar (1857–1934)
    Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
    Gustav Mahler (1860–1911)
    Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor

    The United States may well be the epitome of a “melting pot” in which the greatest diversity of ethnic groups combines to form a new national culture. This also applies to the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, founded in 2013 on the initiative of New York’s Carnegie Hall, which brings Black and white musicians together, along with youngsters with Asian or Hispanic backgrounds. But they all have one thing in common: they are between 16 and 19 years old and are among the finest young musicians in the country. And that’s why they are led every summer by sought-after conducting stars: Valery Gergiev got them started, while Christoph Eschenbach and Marin Alsop and, most recently, Michael Tilson Thomas and Sir Antonio Pappano have led the ensemble. In the summer of 2022, Daniel Harding will take over the baton for Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, a work demanding everything from the orchestra that goes into great symphonic playing: opulent sound and delicate nuances, intimacy and expressivity, virtuosity and soulful lyricism. The American cellist Alisa Weilerstein will also bring these qualities to the fore with Edward Elgar’s elegiac Cello Concerto.

    National Youth Orchestra of the USA

    Daniel Harding

    Born in Oxford in 1975, Daniel Harding began his career as an assistant to Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado. He made his debuts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and, in 1996, with the Berlin Philharmonic, with which he still performs regularly. His first leadership positions took him to the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, which elected him Honorary Conductor for Life in 2011. Since 2007, Harding has been chief of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; he has extended his contract there until 2023. He also stood at the helm of the Orchestre de Paris from 2016 to summer 2019 and was Principal Guest Conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra from 2007 to 2016. In 2018, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Anima Mundi Festival in Pisa. Harding also works with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouworkest, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and major American orchestras. As an opera conductor, he has appeared many times at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and the Salzburg Festival. For his performances of Verdi’s Falstaff and Schubert’s Fierabras at La Scala in Milan, he was awarded the Premio Abbiati, the prize of the Italian music critics. The Vienna, Bavarian, and Berlin Staatsoper companies and London’s Royal Opera House have also engaged him for various productions. His CDs have received numerous awards, including a Grammy for his recording of Britten’s Billy Budd. Harding has been Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 2002 and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music since 2012; in 2021, he was appointed Commander in the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In addition to his musical work, he has also obtained a pilot’s license and flies passenger aircraft.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 16 August 2003 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in works by Haydn, Kelterborn, and Schumann.

    July 2021

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    Alisa Weilerstein

    Alisa Weilerstein, who was born in 1982 into a musical family in Rochester, New York, was four when she began playing the cello. She studied with Richard Weiss at the Cleveland Institute of Music, while at the same time earning a degree in Russian history at Columbia University in New York City. At the age of 13 she performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Cleveland Orchestra, and in 1997 she made her Carnegie Hall debut. Early on Weilerstein began winning major awards, including the Avery Fisher Career Grant (2000), the Leonard Bernstein Award (2006), and the Martin E. Segal Prize of Lincoln Center (2008). Since then she has collaborated with many renowned orchestras in the United States and Europe, as well as with such major conductors as Daniel Barenboim (who conducted her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic), Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Pablo Heras-Casado, Paavo Järvi, Zubin Mehta, and Matthias Pintscher. She devotes a significant part of her work to contemporary music. At the New York Philharmonic Biennial in 2014 she gave the premiere of Pintscher’s Reflections on Narcissus, and in May 2016 she premiered Pascal Dusapin’s new Cello Concerto Outscape with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Additional performances in the 2015-16 season were with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  the London Symphony Orchestra, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. Weilerstein’s recording of the cello concertos of Carter and Elgar, which she made with the Staatskapelle Berlin under Daniel Barenboim, was named Recording of the Year by BBC Music Magazine. Her most recent release is a recording of cello sonatas by Rachmaninoff and Chopin.

    August 2016