“If you want to understand music, you first have to do it yourself.” Leonard Bernstein knew that music always conveys more than what is written in the sheet music. And that young musicians must therefore be given the opportunity to work like professionals. In 1987 he founded the international festival orchestra of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Since then, around 120 young musicians (maximum age 26) from various nations have come to the northernmost federal state in the summer to learn from the greats. Only the best - they have to qualify in advance at auditions all over the world - receive a scholarship for their stay. Auditions are held every spring in 30 cities in North and South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Only after the end of the last audition will the jury decide whether the young musicians are allowed to take part in the festival orchestra. These are then supported in an exemplary manner: They enjoy a scholarship, and instead of a fee, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Foundation covers all costs for travel, accommodation and meals as well as chamber music lessons. Conductors such as Sergiu Celibidache, Lorin Maazel, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Mikhail Pletnev have already formed the world's musical elite into the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra.
Christoph Eschenbach, who came to Salzau for the first time in 1988, has been Principal Conductor of the orchestra since 2004. Great soloists such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Waltraud Meier, Midori, Viktoria Mullova, Tabea Zimmermann, Yuri Bashmet, Matthias Goerne, Thomas Hampson, Steven Isserlis, Nigel Kennedy, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Vadim Repin and Frank Peter Zimmermann gave concerts with the outstanding young ensemble. As a charismatic ambassador for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the festival orchestra is on the road every year. Guest tours have taken the orchestra, among other things, to North America, to the Berlin Philharmonic, to the Salle Pleyel in Paris, to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, to the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, to the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, to the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg as well as to Moscow, Helsinki, Milan, Istanbul, Granada, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
After 24 eventful years at Salzau Castle, the festival orchestra of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival moved to Rendsburg in the summer of 2011. There, the young musicians find ideal living and rehearsal conditions at the Nordkolleg Rendsburg and the ACO Thormannhalle on the grounds of the “Kunstwerk Carlshütte” in Rendsburg-Büdelsdorf. The tradition of public rehearsals will also be continued at the new headquarters, giving interested audiences the opportunity to look over the shoulders of famous conductors at work with young musicians.... Read More