Grafenegg Launches Its Academy and Campus in Spring 2018 with Leon Botstein as Artistic Director

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Internationally renowned as a venue for world-class open-air concerts surrounded by a striking backdrop of nature and architecture, Grafenegg is also devoted to an extensive program of activities that champion young talent. In 2018, a new brand - Campus Grafenegg - will be launched to expand and further develop these efforts. Leon Botstein, conductor, scholar, President of Bard College, and Music Director of American Symphony Orchestra and The Orchestra Now, will begin his first season as Artistic Director of Grafenegg Campus and Grafenegg Academy in 2018. The appointment honors him as one of only a few Americans to head a major European classical institution.

Led by Mr. Botstein, the mission of this new initiative is to foster an in-depth education program at Campus Grafenegg for talented young musicians, and to establish a platform for innovative concert study at Grafenegg Academy. The focus of these studies is to engage artists and audiences with a fresh way to understand, play, and listen to music in both its social and aesthetic context. The concerts, public rehearsals, courses, symposia and musical happenings are equally aimed at a public that enjoys experiencing the musical process and is interested in cross-genre connections among music, politics, society, and aesthetics.

The newly created Grafenegg Academy, which will take place in July each year, sets the annual theme for Campus Grafenegg. For the inaugural season, Grafenegg Academy has chosen the theme Europe 1918/2018 - The Challenge of Historical Discontinuity, focusing on artistic responses to political upheaval, social change, and the associated disruption of artistic practice. Conductor Dennis Russell Davies, Leon Botstein, and the 80 international musicians of the Grafenegg Academy Orchestra, will present the 2018 program of four orchestral concerts, a semi-staged performance of short operas, and two chamber music concerts of works by Bartok, Hindemith, Reger, Shostakovich, Schönberg, Strauss, Szymanowski and Kurt Weill, among other composers and accompanying events. Guest soloists include Thomas Hampson, Elisabeth Kulman, Bernarda Fink and Christopher Maltman along with such featured speakers as Franz Welser-Möst. Tickets go on sale in November. Future themes planned are Sight and Sound: Music and the Visual Arts (2019), Music and Conscience (2020), and Crossing Borders: European Music and the Non-European World (2021).

Grafenegg Campus Partners Five partner organizations will collaborate with the Grafenegg Campus. These are the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), the European Chamber Music Academy, the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Lower Austria (Musikschulmanagement Niederösterreich) and the Tonkunstler Orchestra. Grafenegg is also entering into a new, three-year strategic partnership with the European Union Youth Orchestra, thereby supporting the continuation of an EU institution more than 40 years old. The contract includes a summer home with several weeks of rehearsals in July and August. In addition, Campus Grafenegg offers the EUYO attractive alumni platforms: former members may work in the Grafenegg Academy Orchestra or contribute their experience as tutors.

Leon Botstein, Artistic Director of Grafenegg Academy and Campus said, "Grafenegg has a unique opportunity to make an international contribution to the concert tradition. It's an honor to be able to help Grafenegg take a leading role in shaping the ways that we engage the public, train musicians, connect music to other areas of life and culture, and expand the repertoire on our concert stages."

Rudolf Buchbinder, Artistic Director of the Grafenegg Festival added, "As Artistic Director of the Grafenegg Festival and the summer concerts, I welcome the new initiatives for promotion of excellence in Campus Grafenegg. Grafenegg is a place of inspiration and creativity for artists from all over the world. I am delighted that young talents can now take even greater advantage of this genius loci."

Leon Botstein Leon Botstein has been Music Director and Principal Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also Music Director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is Co-artistic Director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been President since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as Music Director from 2003-11. In 2018 he assumes Artistic Directorship at Grafenegg, Austria. Mr. Botstein also has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry.

Grafenegg, situated between Vienna and the Wachau valley, has risen within the space of a few years to become an internationally acclaimed destination for classical music performance, delighting tourists, regulars, and artists with its unique atmosphere each season. In the middle of the enchanting Castle Gardens stands the impressive Wolkenturm (Pillar of Clouds) open-air arena, rated one of the best outdoor stages in the world for acoustics. Alongside a full summer program of classical music that begins mid-June with the star-studded Midsummer Night's Gala and ends mid-September with the Grafenegg Festival, Grafenegg is a year-round venue for a wide variety of events that attracts more than 135,000 people annually to the romantic castle and its performing arts center.

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