It’s not an easy decision for an orchestra to make: Do we spotlight a celebrated soloist in our programme or rather foster the next generation of musicians?
In recent years, the Staatskapelle has appointed a renowned interpreter as artist-in-residence for each season, to which role they bring their own very personal stamp. The concerts of our jubilee season will once again feature brilliant performers, including many former artists-in-residence. At the same time, an anniversary as significant as the one we are celebrating this year always brings a sense of responsibility for the future. For this reason, the Staatskapelle and its principal conductor, Christian Thielemann, are particularly committed to nurturing young musicians in the 2023/2024 season.
Our partnership of more than ten years with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra (many of whose members have later joined the ranks of the Staatskapelle) will be significantly expanded in addition to the now traditional concert to launch the new season. Founded in 1986 by Claudio Abbado, the orchestra brings together a group of outstanding international talents, who are later courted by the world’s top orchestras. Alongside the opening concert on 22 August 2023, the GMYO will perform in the new season in Richard Strauss’s »Die Frau ohne Schatten« and – also under the baton of Christian Thielemann – contribute to the events marking his departure as principal conductor of the Staatskapelle, in particular at the concert featuring a pinnacle of the symphonic repertoire: Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony (12th Symphony Concert on 7, 8 and 9 July 2024).
The next generation of orchestral musicians is also being cultivated within the ranks of the Staatskapelle itself. Founded 100 years ago by former Generalmusikdirektor Fritz Busch, the orchestra school, which in 2011 was renamed the »Giuseppe Sinopoli Academy«, gives young musicians the opportunity to be personally mentored by experienced Kapelle players for a two-year training period. Ideally, this will lead to a permanent position in the orchestra, thereby ensuring that the unique Staatskapelle sound and performance culture are maintained.
While these partnerships are geared towards professional orchestral work, the project »Musaik – Grenzenlos musizieren e. V.« from the Dresden district of Prohlis is a matter close to the Staatskapelle’s heart. The first joint concert events, for example last year’s »Carnival of the Animals« by Camille Saint-Saëns, were followed in the spring of 2023 by a »Dance through the Centuries«, aimed at deepening and securing the ties between the orchestra and Musaik for the years to come. And so it made perfect sense to donate the 50,000 euros received by the Staatskapelle as part of the »Herbert von Karajan Prize«, awarded for our decade-long contribution to the Salzburg Easter Festival, to this community project. The money will fund free instrument lessons and cultural events for local children and young people from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds.
In addition to the orchestra’s own interests in securing the next generation of Kapelle members, it is essential for our wider society that, by encouraging the musicians of tomorrow, we also open the minds of young people to art and culture. Therefore, it was not a difficult decision but rather a logical step for the orchestra to place the future at the heart of the 2023/24 season.