Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester

Ingo Metzmacher, conductor
Wagner / Nono / Bruckner

Architectural detail of the concrete building, view from the interior through two interlocking circular openings to the outside.

The Tomba Brion (1970 – 1978) is one of the most important works by architect Carlos Scarpa, to whom Luigi Nono dedicated a piece. © elef8 / Stockimo / Alamy Stock photo

Under conductor Ingo Metzmacher, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester combines microtonal orchestral music with cosmic late Romanticism – and, in Anton Bruckner, Richard Wagner and Luigi Nono, three of the most headstrong characters in musical history.

19:10, South Foyer
Work introduction

A mellifluous child of the Cold War: Claudio Abbado founded the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in 1986 to initiate artistic exchange between young Austrian musicians and their counterparts in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Today more than 2,500 musicians from all across Europe apply to take part each year – and for many of them, it has been the starting point of a great career. Now the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester makes its first appearance at Musikfest Berlin conducted by Ingo Metzmacher, and is still reconciling apparent contrasts: with Richard Wagner’s Prelude to “Parsifal” and the visionary “Karfreitagszauber” from Act Three – and with “A Carlo Scarpa”, which Luigi Nono wrote in memory of the eponymous Venetian architect, a long-standing personal friend. This ten-minute composition is a sombre funeral march whose tonal repertoire is based on tones derived from the two initials C and S (E-flat) of the name Carlo Scarpa, performed in changing shaded instrumental combinations across a broad dynamic spectrum, within which countless microtonal deviations in an infinite number of fine shades erratically punctuate the whole. The programme’s finale is a work dedicated to Richard Wagner – the Third Symphony by Anton Bruckner, whose bicentenary is celebrated in 2024. Here monumental escalating waves and gigantic climaxes meet intimate moments of withdrawn transfiguration in music that seems to reflect the cosmos, with mountain ranges and planetary systems light years apart occupying the space freely.


Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
Prelude to Act One

Luigi Nono (1924 – 1990)
A Carlo Scarpa, architetto, ai suoi infiniti possibili (1984)
for orchestra with microintervals

Richard Wagner

Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896)
Symphony No. 3 in D minor


Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester
Ingo Metzmacher
 – conductor

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event

Erste Group and Vienna Insurance Group - main sponsors of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester