German youth orchestra to perform at Klassiske Dage festival The orchestra performs for free – as it always does

Musicians from five different symphony orchestras will perform at the 14th annual ”Klassiske Dage” (”Classic Days”)  festival in Holstebro, Denmark, on 3rd thru 7th October 2018. This year, a very special guest will be the German youth orchestra, Junges Sinfonieorchester Wetzlar.

– This will we our first performance at a festival. We’re very excited to be part of Klassiske Dage, says Astrid Eichhorn-Müller.

She is the manager of the orchestra, but has also played the cello for 15 years in Wetzlar, a small town located about an hour’s drive north of Frankfurt Am Main.

– Wetzlar is a rather small town, so it’s difficult to recruit young musicians with the nescessary skills to perform in a symphony orchestra. So we have decided to welcome both young musicians and musicians who are young at heart. Our youngest member of the orchestra is 13 years old and the oldest is in his 40’es, the manager explains.

Listen for free

The Wetzlar youth orchestra was establish in 1981. All musicians are highly skilled amateurs, and many of the young people involved with the orchestra has gone on to study music at college/university level.

– Our philosophy was to put together a symphony orchestra, not only to bring classical music out to the audience, but also to encourage more young people to play classical music and to get experience performing with us, so they might continue their music studies, says Astrid Eichhorn-Müller.

And classical music should be available to as many people as possible, the orchestra manager thinks. So the musicians pay only a small fee of 15 euros per year to cover expenses, and the audience can listen to the orchestra playing – for free!

– If you are a student or a family with two adults and three children, it’s can be pretty expensive to go to a concert. So we invite people to come and listen to us play, and afterwards the audience may leave a tip or donation for the orchestra, paying only as much as they can or feel like paying, she says.

Expensive royalties

And it works. Donations help keep the orchestra running along with a small contribution from the town of Wetzlar. But the amateur orchestra is often struggling with music royalty fees.

– We like to play some modern music once in a while, or maybe a soundtrack from a movie. But it’s quite expensive for us because we have to pay royalties for the composers and copyright owners. But then we play a concert with the old classics, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and so on, which we can perform for free. You can even download the music sheets on the internet. And the funny thing is, we actually get more donations when we play the classics. People really enjoy it, Astrid Eichhorn-Müller says.

Fun in Denmark

During the first year of October the Wetzlar youth orchestra travels to Denmark to spend a week on the small Limfjord island Jegindø. In part to praticse, but also just to have fun and do some teambuilding.

– We travel abroad once a year. Last year we spent a week in Italy, and this year we wanted to visit Denmark. We have a lot of fun together, and the youngest members are learning a lot from the older members, so it’s a good mixed group. We will rehearse our performance for the Saturday concert in Holstebro, but we will also attend one of the other festival concerts and generally just enjoy visiting the area, says Astrid Eichhorn-Müller.

To read more about the German youth symphony orchestra, please visit: