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Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra: Beethoven 3

Founded in 1986/87 by one of the most prominent conductors of the last decades, the late Claudio Abbado, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra (GMYO) has been able in recent years to impose itself as the world’s most prestigious Youth Orchestra, performing at major venues and festivals with leading conductors and soloists such as Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink, Paavo Järvi or Philippe Jordan. 

For its first concert in this season, the orchestra will be performing in the magical setting of Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain. The evening will start with one of the most significant pieces of avant-garde classical music, György Ligeti’s mysterious and magnificently fluid shadow play Lontano from 1967. German Concert violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann will then accompany the GMJO under the baton of David Afkham for the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók's visionary Violin Concerto Nr2. 

The second part of the programme will be focusing on the very idea of heroism with Beethoven’s third Symphony, written in 1803-04. Beethoven had initially planned to dedicate it to Napoléon Bonaparte, abandoning the idea later on because the First Consul of the young French Republican Government had crowned himself Emperor of France. Nevertheless, Beethoven kept the “heroic” tone of the Symphony starting it in E major and operating variations of the epic idea all through the first movement, the Allegro con brio. The first edition of the Symphony finally bore the title “Sinfonia eroica, composta per festeggiare il sovvenire di un grand’uomo” and since then became the perfect music to illustrate the great achievements of humanity. 

György Ligeti:                    Lontano 
Béla Bartók:                       Violinkonzert Nr. 2 / Violin Concerto no. 2
Ludwig van Beethoven:    Symphonie Nr. 3 Es-Dur op. 55 / Symphony no. 3 E flat major op. 55

Note: All timings are actual start timings. We recommend guests to come 30 min before the beginning of the concert to find their seats. Doors will close at the start time. No access will be granted after the doors have been shut. 

Getting to the concert

A luxury bus shuttle service will be put in place to allow you to attend the concert.

From Dubai

Time Pick up location Drop off location
17:00 Kempinski Hotel entrance
Mall of the Emirates
Al Jahili Fort
Al Ain
22:00 Al Jahili Fort
Al Ain
Kempinski Hotel entrance
Mall of the Emirates

From Abu Dhabi

Time Pick up location Drop off location
17:00 Marina Mall, 
Abu Dhabi City
The bus will depart from the outdoor parking in Marina Mall. 
There will be a clearly marked assembly point opposite Havana Café.

Al Jahili Fort,
Al Ain
22:00 Al Jahili Fort,
Al Ain
Marina Mall
Abu Dhabi City 

Note: Transportation is free. However, 48 hours prior registration is required under:
Remember to bring your concert ticket or print out to access the bus service.
For any question regarding the transportation, please call the transportation coordinator:
Mr. Shadi: 050-1475666.

Frank Peter Zimmermann- Violin

From about the mid '80s, Frank Peter Zimmermann has been recognised as one of the leading German violinists, not for the usual reasons alone - formidable technical skills and interpretive acumen - but also for his ability to adapt his style to accommodate the demands of a broad range of repertory, from J.S. Bach to contemporary composers. He has expressed a special love for the music of Mozart and Prokofiev, two composers of obviously disparate styles whose works Zimmermann has performed to international acclaim. He has also played the standard concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, and Stravinsky, as well as solo and chamber works by Bach, Debussy, and Ysaÿe. In addition, Zimmermann has delved into more adventurous fare, taking on works by Ligeti, Matthias Pintscher, and other contemporary composers. Zimmermann has made numerous recordings for many labels, including EMI, Sony, Philips, and Teldec. 

Frank Peter Zimmermann was born in Duisburg, Germany, on February 27, 1965. He was extremely precocious: at five years of age he began playing the violin, and at 10 gave his first orchestral concert playing the Mozart G major Concerto, K. 216. In 1976 he won the Youth Makes Music Competition in Germany. Zimmermann’s roster of teachers is impressive: Valery Gradov (at Folkwang Hochschule in Essen), Saschko Gawriloff (at the Berlin Staatliche Hochschule), and Herman Krebbers (private studies in Amsterdam). 

In 1983 Zimmermann launched his career, performing in numerous critically acclaimed concerts across Germany and parts of Europe. He made his US debut the following year with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and over the next several seasons appeared with the Boston, Chicago, and National Symphony Orchestras. He also gave concerts in South America, Japan, and Australia. 

In the early years of his career Zimmermann regularly collaborated in chamber works with German pianist Alexander Lonquich, but since 1998 he has regularly performed with Italian pianist Enrico Pace. 
In the new century Zimmermann has turned more conspicuously to contemporary music, recording the Ligeti Violin Concerto for Teldec (2002) and premiering Matthias Pintscher's En Sourdine in 2003, with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Peter Eötvös. Among Zimmermann's recordings is an ECM disc released in 2006 that might be viewed as a microcosm of his style and broad tastes: the CD, a collaborative effort with cellist Heinrich Schiff, contains chamber works for violin and cello by J.S. Bach, Honegger, Martinu, Pintscher, and Ravel.

David Afkham

David Afkham is Principal Conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra and Chorus. He is in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras and opera houses, and has established a reputation as one of the most sought after conductors to emerge from Germany in recent years.
Highlights over the next two seasons include return projects with the Munich Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Swedish Radio Symphony, Wiener Symphoniker (Musikverein series), Rotterdam Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Gothenburg Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, SWR Symphony and a tour with the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester. Afkham is also looking forward to debuts with the Chicago Symphony, Bamberger Symphoniker, Danish National Symphony and Oslo Philharmonic.

Recent projects also include debuts with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, DSO-Berlin, Filarmonica della Scala, Philharmonia Orchestra London, as well as the Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle Symphony and a New York debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival. 

In summer 2014, Afkham conducted a highly successful opera debut with Verdi’s La Traviata at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and later revived the production with Glyndebourne on Tour. Future opera plans include Teatro Real Madrid (Bomarzo) and Frankfurt Opera (Hansel & Gretel).

Born 1983 in Freiburg, Germany, Afkham received his first piano and violin lessons at the age of six.  At 15, he entered his native city’s University of Music to pursue studies in piano, music theory and conducting.  He won first prize in the solo-piano category of the 2002 “Jugend Musiziert“  National Piano Competition. He then completed his conducting studies at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. David Afkham was the first recipient of the "Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent", was a conducting fellow of the "Richard Wagner Association" Bayreuth and a member of the "Conductor's Forum" of the German Music Council.

He assisted his mentor Bernard Haitink on a number of major projects including symphony cycles with the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the 2008 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, resulting in him becoming the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for two years.  In August 2010, Afkham became the first recipient of the “Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award”. David Afkham was Assistant Conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester for three years, a tenure which ended in Summer 2012.

Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO)
Leo McFall, Assistant Conductor

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) was founded in Vienna in 1986/87 on the initiative of Claudio Abbado (1933-2014). Today it is regarded as the world’s leading youth orchestra and was awarded by the European Cultural Foundation in 2007.

As well as supporting young musicians and their work, Abbado was keen to encourage the music making of young Austrian musicians together with colleagues from the then socialist republics of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. As a consequence, the GMJO became the first international youth orchestra to hold open auditions in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. In 1992, the GMJO opened up to musicians aged up to 26 from all over Europe. As the youth orchestra for the whole of Europe, it is under the patronage of the Council of Europe. 

At the auditions that take place every year in over twenty-five European cities, an international jury selects candidates from an average of 2,000 applicants. Prominent orchestra musicians are members of this jury and also responsible for the preparation of the repertoire in the individual sections during the rehearsal periods of the orchestra.

The GMJO tour repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary music with the emphasis on the great symphonic works of the Romantic and late Romantic periods. Its high artistic level and international success have prompted many leading conductors and soloists to perform with the GMJO, such as Claudio Abbado, David Afkham, Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, Peter Eötvös, Christoph Eschenbach, Iván Fischer, Daniele Gatti, Bernard Haitink, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Philippe Jordan, Vladimir Jurowski, Ingo Metzmacher, Kent Nagano, Václav Neumann, Jonathan Nott, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Antonio Pappano, and Franz Welser-Möst.

Amongst the renowned soloists to have worked with the GMJO are Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Lisa Batiashvili, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Christian Gerhaher, Matthias Goerne, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Leonidas Kavakos, Evgenij Kissin, Christa Ludwig, Radu Lupu, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Anne Sofie von Otter, Maxim Vengerov, and Frank Peter Zimmermann.

The GMJO has been a regular guest at the most prestigious concert halls and festivals for many years, such as the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Mozarteum Argentino in Buenos Aires, the Salzburg Festival and the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the BBC Proms, the Semperoper Dresden, and the Lucerne Festival. 
Many former members of the GMJO are now members of leading European orchestras, some of them in principal positions. In 2012, an intensive partnership with the renowned Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden was announced which includes concerts and projects involving members of both orchestras. 

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester was appointed “Ambassador UNICEF Austria” on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Erste Bank and Vienna Insurance Group – Partners of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester.


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  • 24 Mar 2016
  • 20:00 - 22:00
  • Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain
Type Price
category 1 250 AED
category 2 150 AED
category 3 80 AED
Students 30 AED
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