Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester
The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) was founded in Vienna in 1986–7 under the initiative of Claudio Abbado. Today, it is regarded as the world’s leading youth orchestra and was honoured by the European Cultural Foundation in 2007.
As well as supporting young musicians and their work, Claudio Abbado was keen to encourage the music-making of young Austrian musicians together with colleagues from the then socialist republics of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The GMJO consequently became the first international youth orchestra to hold open auditions in the former Eastern Bloc. In 1992 the GMJO was opened to musicians aged up to 26 from all over Europe. As the leading youth orchestra in 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’s repertoire ranges from Classical to contemporary music, with an emphasis on the great symphonic works of the Romantic and late-Romantic periods. Its artistic excellence and international success have prompted many leading conductors and soloists to perform with the GMJO, including Claudio Abbado, David Afkham, Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung, Colin Davis, Peter Eötvös, Christoph Eschenbach, Iván Fischer, Daniele Gatti, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Manfred Honeck, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Philippe Jordan, Vladimir Jurowski, Ingo Metzmacher, Kent Nagano, Václav Neumann, Jonathan Nott, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Christian Thielemann, Lorenzo Viotti and Franz Welser-Möst. Among the renowned soloists who have worked with the GMJO are Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Lisa Batiashvili, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Angela Denoke, Christian Gerhaher, Matthias Goerne, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Leonidas Kavakos, Evgeny 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 Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Mozarteum Argentino in Buenos Aires, the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms, the Semperoper in Dresden and the Lucerne Festival. Since its founding years, the GMJO has a close collaboration with the Salzburg Festival.
Many former players from the GMJO are now members of leading European orchestras, some of them in principal positions. In 2012 an intensive partnership with the Dresden Staatskapelle was announced, which includes concerts and projects involving members of both orchestras.
Since its foundation in 1986–7, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester has received substantial support from the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport as well as from the cultural department of the City of Vienna. The GMJO was appointed Ambassador UNICEF Austria on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
Erste Group and Vienna Insurance Group – main sponsors of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester.