EJO and Amikejo. Making music without borders
The Meuse-Rhine Euregion has two international youth orchestras: the more experienced Euregio Youth Orchestra (Euregio Jeugd Orkest, EJO) based in Tilburg/Goirle (NL), and operating from Maastricht, the younger Amikejo Limburg Youth Symphony Orchestra. Both of these ‘training orchestras’ give young musicians an opportunity to gain experience on the concert stage. On the added value of making music in an international setting.
The Flemish-Dutch EJO was founded in 1986 and is the picture of confidence. June 2013 saw the almost 100-strong orchestra participate in its first international competition: the prestigious Summa cum Laude Festival in Vienna, where it promptly won the first prize in the ‘Symphony Orchestras’ category.
Over thirty ensembles from eighteen countries entered this competition. As the winner, the EJO was invited to conclude the festival with a gala concert at the Wiener Konzerthaus. ‘We can all be very proud of this accomplishment’, acknowledges director Cécile Franssen. The young musicians gave a fabulous concert under the baton of its Flemish conductor of ten years Hans Casteleyn, who has enabled the talented orchestra to achieve an unprecedented level of quality and continuity.
The success of the orchestra is inextricably linked to international acclaim. According to Franssen, the management of the EJO is anticipating consciously on 'Europe without borders'. This was difficult at first, but the situation improved from the moment a Flemish branch was established in Belgium, making it easier to attract new players from such places as Belgian music schools.
The orchestra has doubled in size over the past decade and it currently maintains a waiting list. Composed of members from the southern Netherlands (60%) and Flanders (40%), the orchestra's international dimension motivates its players to continually raise their level of musicianship.
Amikejo was founded only three years ago and now boasts 65 members. It is also cultivating its Euregional characteristics. Amikejo means 'place of great friendship' and it refers to the former Free State of Neutral Moresnet (1816-1919). The orchestra recruits members not only from Flanders, but from Germany and Wallonia too.
Spokesman Tom Berghmans: 'The orchestra’s multi-cultural make- up has fostered a sense of solidarity among its young members. This strengthens not only the group dynamic, but also the network of young musicians.'
The orchestra is facing several challenges: its many cultures make it difficult to join forces with music schools and other youth orchestras in the Euregion. Berghmans: 'Although the competitive element is always present, international exchange helps us strengthen each other's positions. Limburg, for example, has always had a strong brass and wind culture, while Germany produces more string players.'
Amikejo and its Finnish conductor Jussi Jaatinen have decided to set the bar low for young musicians and not place extremely high demands on them during their development phase. The EJO, however, passed this stage long ago. Franssen: 'The orchestra is always asking to play more advanced repertoire.' The EJO concentrates on works by Dutch and Flemish composers such as Johan Wagenaar (Utrecht) and Emmanuel Durlet (Antwerp), in an effort to keep their works from being lost to posterity.
The orchestra has produced several renowned musicians, including Flemish violinist Liesbeth Baelus (1987), who was the EJO's concert master for many years and is now embarking on a solo career, and Dutch violinist Wouter Vossen, a member of the famous Storioni Trio. Franssen: 'Our goal is to play at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. The level of our youth orchestra is certainly high enough to merit this.'
Aachener Studentenorchester (ASO), Collegium Musicum, Junges Sinfonieorchester Aachen (JSO), Haspengouws Jeugdorkest (HJO) , Limburgs Orkest Jeugd & Muziek, Universitair Symfonisch Orkest (USO - Leuven)
- Euregio Jeugdorkest (EJO) - W.A. Mozart - \'\'Die Zauberflöte - Ouverture
- Amikejo: documentaire over Neutraal Moresnet / Esperanto subtitles
- Presentatie Amikejo Jeugd Symfonie Orkest januari 2011
- Amikejo Youth Symfonic Orchestra (Borodin - Steppes of Central Asia)
- Storioni Chamber Music Festival 2012 - Storioninacht deel 2
- Storioni Chamber Music Festival 2012 - Storioninacht deel 1
- Storioni Trio & Het Brabants Orkest - Beethoven Tripelconcert- deel I
- EuregioJeugdOrkest(EJO) & Liesbeth Baelus - Zigeunerweise (P. de Sarasate)
Er zijn nog geen reacties geplaatst.