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DR ERHARD BUSEK 1941 - 2022


(Vienna, 14 March, 2022) It is with extreme sadness that the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester learned of the passing away of Dr Erhard Busek, president of the GMJO between 1996 and 2020, in Vienna yesterday.

                                                           Dr. Erhard Busek © Marc Haader

The former vice-chancellor and federal minister for education and science of the Republic of Austria and vice mayor of the city of Vienna was the second president of the GMJO after Prof. Hans Landesmann.

He was a fierce supporter of the democratic movements in many Eastern European countries before the fall of the Iron Curtain and a personal friend of many dissidents, politicians, and artists, from Václav Havel to Karel Schwarzenberg, from Arpad Göncz to Lojze Peterle, and numerous others.

The contacts he had - and actively used for his vision of a united and peaceful Europe -, the high reputation he enjoyed all over the world, and the very concrete initiatives he founded are legendary. He was a true European, building bridges and connecting people, with a never-ending energy and passion.

His true European spirit and dedication was an inspiration for all that had the privilege to work for him. As a federal minister of the Republic of Austria, he established a scholarship programme for musicians of the GMJO from CEE countries.

Special GMJO concerts and projects like the concert in Sarajewo (1997), the regular GMJO concerts in cities like Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, Warsaw, Ljubljana, Zagreb, and many other cities, would have been unthinkable without his door-opening and active support.

He regularly visited, until very recently, many GMJO concerts and often addressed the musicians of the GMJO after concerts whom he regarded as true ambassadors of a better Europe, as did GMJO founder Claudio Abbado.

His legacy will remain and live on, and the GMJO will continue to fulfil its role as a unifying project.

Our thoughts are with his wife and with his family, and with the many people who worked closely with him over many years.


(Vienna, 13 August, 2021) The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) has adapted its tour plans due to the dynamic development of the pandemic and the very different distancing and quarantine rules in various European countries, which have recently become more restrictive.


      Manfred Honeck © Felix Broede                   Matthias Goerne © Marie Staggat / Deutsche Grammophon

Together with its tour conductor Manfred Honeck and soloist Matthias Goerne, who have graciously and immediately agreed to support these changes, the orchestra has developed a new concert dramaturgy featuring works by Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner, together with the concert presenters of the Summer Tour 2021 with whom the orchestra enjoys close partnerships: Bolzano Festival Bozen, Ravello Festival, Salzburg Festival, Kunstfest Weimar, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and Staatskapelle Dresden – partner orchestra of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester

In addition, two special concerts with works by Erwin Schulhoff and Antonín Dvořák will take place as planned, at the memorial sites in Terezín / Theresienstadt and Weimar (Buchenwald).

At very short notice, it was made possible to organise the complex rehearsal period at the Vienna Musikverein – as for the War Requiem for the successful opening concert of the Ouverture Spirituelle of the Salzburg Festival in July 2021 – which includes musicians and docents from numerous European countries. The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester is very grateful to the Musikverein for their continued support, as well as to its public supporters, the Federal Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna, and to its main sponsors, Erste Group ad Vienna Insurance Group.


The concerts of the GMJO Summer Tour 2021 now feature the following works:

RICHARD WAGNER: Siegfried-Idyll for Chamber Orchestra WWV 103

RICHARD WAGNER: Fünf Gedichte for Female Voice and Piano WWV 91 – Wesendonck-Lieder arranged for Baritone and Chamber Orchestra by Hans Werner Henze

FRANZ SCHUBERT: Selected Lieder arranged by Alexander Schmalcz and Anton Webern

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 in C minor Op. 67

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 7 in A major Op. 92


Matthias Goerne, Baritone

Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester

Manfred Honeck, Conductor




Erste Group and Vienna Insurance Group – Main sponsors of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester


(Vienna, 09.07.2021) We do it again: it is with great joy that we can - finally! - officially share the news that the GUSTAV MAHLER JUGENDORCHESTER will perform the opening concert of the Salzburg Festival 2021.


                                                       Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla © Frans Jansen
Together with 13 musicians from the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien - RSO Wien and with the Wiener Singverein, the GMJO will, with 91 selected musicians from 18 European countries, perform Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at the Felsenreitschule Salzburg on 18 July 2021.
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and winner of the 2012 Young Conductors Award of the Salzburg Festival, will conduct.
Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem was written for and premiered by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and Chorus at Coventry Cathedral in 1962. The CBSO was invited to perform this work at this year’s opening concert of the Salzburg Festival. Sadly, the CBSO had to cancel the concert given the current UK quarantine rules.
Within a few days, following the request from the Salzburg Festival to step in at shortest notice, the GMJO managed to form an orchestra of current and former musicians, together with the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien - RSO Wien, which shall perform Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece.
Whilst we are sincerely sorry for our professional colleagues from the CBSO, we are extremely happy about and grateful for the overwhelming response from our musicians. And we believe that it has a strong artistic and symbolic relevance that young musicians from almost 20 European countries will perform this masterpiece. 
Rehearsals with GMJO assistant conductor TOBIAS WOEGERER and with GMJO tutors FRANZ-MARKUS SIEGERT, LEONARD FREY-MAIBACH, BERNHARD HEINRICHS, IAN BOUSFIELD, and RAYMOND CURFS will start on next Monday at the Musikverein Wien.
After the triumphant concerts of the GMJO under DANIELE GATTI for the re-opening of the Musikverein Wien in May 2021, the GMJO proves, once again, that we can make things work in extremely challenging times. 
This is what the GMJO stands for.



Erste Group and Vienna Insurance Group – Main sponsors of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester




The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester will reopen the Vienna Musikverein with two concerts under Daniele Gatti on 19 May 2021.

On this occasion, Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A Major op. 90 („Italian“) and Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F Major op. 68 („Pastoral”) will be performed.

This day marks the first day of public concert activities in Austria, after a long period, with ongoing closures and restrictions in many other countries in Europe.

                                                           Daniele Gatti © Marco Borggreve

For many music students in the midst of their studies or on the verge of entering a professional career, the pandemic has a devastating impact; they are in fact the future of many cultural institutions, orchestras, and opera houses - which are currently fighting for their survival - , but they have been deprived of their professional perspectives.

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, founded by Claudio Abbado in 1987 with a concert in the Vienna Musikverein, sets a strong sign of hope for the future of music with this special project, conceived in close collaboration with the Vienna Musikverein and the Vienna Symphony. 

This special project is made possible with generous support from the public sector, from its main sponsors, and from the GMJO Foundation: 




Erste Group and Vienna Insurance Group – Main sponsors of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester







It is with extreme sadness that we have learned of the passing away of PROF. WOLFGANG BOETTCHER, aged 86, in Berlin.

Wolfgang Boettcher was closely associated with the GMJO for more than 25 years: he was working with the GMJO cello section on numerous projects, in Bolzano or Pordenone, in Lisbon or Lucerne, and in Abu Dhabi or Bad Schandau. He was cello tutor and jury member, a source of inspiration and enthusiasm, he was the soul and heart of the cello sections of the GMJO for generations of musicians. He was a devoted teacher and a humble musician, he was a shining example and a great colleague and friend.

Born in Berlin in 1935, Wolfgang Boettcher studied cello with Richard Klemm and Maurice Gendron; in 1958, he won the Second Prize at the Internationaler Musikwettbewerb der ARD, together with his sister Ursula Trede-Boettcher, a pianist. In the same year, he joined the Berliner Philharmoniker under Herbert von Karajan and became solo cellist there in 1963 - a position he held until 1976, when he decided to concentrate on his other activities: apart from his concert appearances als soloist and and chamber musician - working with the greatest musicians of his era, from Herbert von Karajan to Sergiu Celibidache, from Yehudi Menuhin to Daniel Barenboim, from Paul Hindemith to Witold Lutoslawski - , he was professor at the Universität der Künste Berlin, founding member of Die 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker and of the Brandis-Quartett. He was chairman of the jury of the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann at the Kronberg Academy, and he was giving master classes around the world.

We were firmly planning with him for this year’s tour projects, and we were immensely looking forward to enjoying, once again, his youthful spirit, his teaching generosity, the huge treasure of his anecdotes - and his authentic Berliner humour.

Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife and to his family, and we join the musical world in mourning one of the true giants.

Thank you for all you gave to us.

Rest in peace, dear Wolfgang Boettcher.

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester elects new President

(Vienna, 19.11.20) At the general assembly in November 2020, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) elected Sarah Wedl-Wilson MA, President of the “Hanns Eisler” Musikhochschule in Berlin and Chairman of the Board of the Salzburg Easter Festival, as new President. Prof. Christian Strenger, board member of several cultural funding institutions, financial expert and founding member of the government commission “German Corporate Governance Code” was elected as the new treasurer.

Sarah Wedl-Wilson MA

Prof. Christian Strenger

Both follow on from the long terms of office of former Vice Chancellor Dr. Erhard Busek and Dr. Thomas Angyan, who have been made honorary members of the GMJO.

At the same time a number of important personalities have accepted membership of the Association of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, including Dr. Brigitte Bierlein, former Federal Chancellor and President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Austria, univ. Prof. Dr. Clemens Jabloner, former Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Constitution, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice as well as President of the Administrative Court of the Republic of Austria, Ambassador, former Federal Minister for European and International Affairs Dr. Ursula Plassnik, management consultants and patrons of the arts Karin and Prof. Dr. h.c. Roland Berger, and many others.

Sarah Wedl-Wilson and Christian Strenger on their new appointment: “The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester is an important milestone for young artists on their way to a professional musician career, a golden cord between student performance and the professional stage.

We are respectful of our responsibility to develop the legacy of Claudio Abbado for the future, to secure the passing on of musical traditions from one generation to the next: we accept this honour with great pleasure."

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) was founded by Claudio Abbado in Vienna in 1986 and is considered one of the world's leading institutions in the field of fostering young musicians’ talent. Together with major conductors and soloists, the GMJO is a regular guest at leading concert halls and festivals in Europe and around the world. Numerous former members can be found in all major orchestras, such as the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic or the Staatskapelle Dresden, with which there has been a close partnership since 2012. The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester has also been ambassador to UNICEF Austria since 2012.

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester would like to extend its thanks for the long-term granting of subsidies to:

Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport

Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs

The cultural department of the City of Vienna




The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester would like to thank its main sponsors for their longstanding cooperation:

Erste Group and Vienna Insurance Group




JUNE 2024einen Monat vor






DVD Trailer
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Soloist: Juliane Banse
Gustav Mahler: Symphony no. 4 in G major

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13. Auf dem Gipfel
  1. Richard Strauss: Alpine Symphony / Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  2. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 9 in D-major / Conductor: Claudio Abbado
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