Performance Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | 8 PM

European Union Youth Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Founded in 1976, the European Union Youth Orchestra brings together talented young musicians from all 27 EU countries. The orchestra has collaborated with some of the world’s most renowned soloists. For this performance it is joined by violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, playing the vivacious Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3.


  • European Union Youth Orchestra
    Vladimir Ashkenazy, Music Director and Conductor
  • Itzhak Perlman, Violin


  • COPLAND An Outdoor Overture
  • MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216
  • R. STRAUSS Eine Alpensinfonie

  • Encore:
  • BERNSTEIN "America" from West Side Story (arr. Eric Crees)



    European Union Youth Orchestra

    The European Union Youth Orchestra unites Europe's most talented young musicians under some of the world's most famous conductors in an orchestra that transcends cultural boundaries and performs all over the world to the highest international standards.

    The orchestra is composed of up to 140 musicians who are drawn from all 27 member states of the European Union, from Finland in the north to Malta in the south, from Cyprus in the east to Portugal in the west. The players are selected from thousands of candidates aged 14-24, who take part in annual auditions throughout the EU. The experience the EUYO provides for its young musicians is not only socially stimulating and culturally enlightening, it is invaluable to their future careers: More than 90% of alumni go on to successful professional careers in music.

    The EUYO was founded in 1976 by Bostonian Joy Bryer and her husband Lionel, with a view to creating an ensemble that would represent the European ideal of a community working together to achieve peace and social and cultural understanding. Maestro Claudio Abbado, the orchestra's founding music director, established the EUYO as a world-class institution, with the support of its first president, Sir Edward Heath. Claudio Abbado was succeeded as music director in 1994 by Bernard Haitink, who in turn was succeeded in 2000 by the EUYO's present music director, Vladimir Ashkenazy.

    The level demanded of the players, combined with the renowned musical leadership of the orchestra's conductors, has earned the EUYO an outstanding musical reputation and regular comparisons with the world's finest orchestras. Throughout its history, the EUYO has acted as a cultural ambassador for the EU, showcasing Europe's young musical talents across the globe.

    Vladimir Ashkenazy

    One of the few artists to combine a successful career as a pianist and conductor, Russian-born Vladimir Ashkenazy inherited his musical gift from both sides of his family: His father was a professional pianist, and his maternal grandfather a violinist and chorus master in the Russian Orthodox Church. Mr. Ashkenazy came to prominence on the world stage in the 1955 Chopin Competition in Warsaw and as first prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1956. Since then, he has built an extraordinary career as one of the most renowned pianists of our time and as an artist whose creative life encompasses a vast range of activities and offers inspiration to music-lovers worldwide.

    Conducting has formed the largest part of his activities for the past 20 years; he became principal conductor and artistic advisor to the Sydney Symphony in January 2009, and collaborates with that ensemble on extensive recording projects and international tours each year.

    Mr. Ashkenazy continues his longstanding relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which he was appointed conductor laureate in 2000, with performances in London and around the UK each season. The orchestra regularly embarks on worldwide tours-most recently to China and Korea-and has undertaken projects such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin in 2003 and Rachmaninoff Revisited in 2002. The latter was reprised in Paris in October 2010.

    Mr. Ashkenazy holds the positions of music director of the European Union Youth Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra. He maintains strong links with other major orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, as well as making guest appearances with leading ensembles all over the world.

    Mr. Ashkenazy also maintains his devotion to the piano, these days mostly in the recording studio, where he continues to build his recording catalogue with releases such as the 1999 Grammy Award-winning album of Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues, Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, Rachmaninoff transcriptions, and Beethoven's "Diabelli" Variations.  A recording of French works for piano duo with Vovka Ashkenazy was released in August 2009 to great critical acclaim, and the duo gave concerts in Japan and South Korea in autumn 2011.

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    Itzhak Perlman

    Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. In January 2009, Mr. Perlman was honored to take part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams, and performing with clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Gabriela Montero, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In December 2003, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts granted Mr. Perlman a Kennedy Center Honor, celebrating his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of our nation. In May 2007, he performed at the State Dinner for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, hosted by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush at the White House.

    This season, Mr. Perlman joins the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Hall under Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas to open its centennial season, and returns to the same orchestra in April 2012 as soloist and conductor. In October 2011, Mr. Perlman traveled to Asia for recitals with pianist and frequent collaborator Rohan De Silva. Other highlights of his 2011-2012 season include the gala opening of the new Kaufman Center in Kansas City, Missouri, with the Kansas City Symphony, a performance as soloist and conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and recitals across North America. 

    In addition to his many orchestral and recital appearances throughout the world, Mr. Perlman conducts leading national and international orchestras. He was music advisor of the St. Louis Symphony from 2002 to 2004, and he was principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2005. 

    Mr. Perlman has earned four Emmy Awards and 15 Grammy Awards. One of his proudest achievements is his collaboration with film-score composer John Williams in Steven Spielberg's Academy Award-winning film Schindler's List, in which he performed the violin solos. 

    Mr. Perlman devotes considerable time to education, both in his participation each summer in the Perlman Music Program and his teaching at The Juilliard School, where he holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Chair. He was awarded an honorary doctorate and a centennial medal on the occasion of Juilliard's 100th commencement ceremony in May 2005.

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At a Glance

Overture-Concerto-Symphony: This is the standard, time-honored formula for an orchestral program. But there is nothing standard about any of the three works being played on this concert. True, the Mozart concerto is "standard" repertory and closely conforms to the traditional concerto format, but it represents such an advance over the 19-year-old composer's two previous violin concertos in emotional depth and richness as to arouse wonder and amazement. Copland's overture is jam-packed with foot-tapping tunes and was written specifically for a youth orchestra. And Strauss's "symphony" is really no symphony at all, but rather a richly descriptive piece of program music-the last, longest, most extravagant, and most sensational of all his tone poems.


Program Notes



An Introduction to the European Youth Orchestra

Follow the European Union Youth Orchestra's preparation for its Carnegie Hall concert with a young musician from a different EU country each day.

This performance is part of Turn of the Century Sounds - Students, and Concertos Plus.