"Thank You, America!"

Masur und Harth-Bedoya mit dem BJO in Washington.
The Youth Orchestra of Germany
The Youth Orchestra of Germany (Bundesjugendorchester) consists of approximately one hundred specially selected young musicians from all parts of Germany; the average age is 16. Three times a year, the orchestra assembles for three-week rehearsal period under experienced, highly esteemed conductors. At the conclusion of each period, they perform at important venues in Germany as well as other European countries. The German Foundation of Musical Life (Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben) is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to nurture the most talented young musicians of Germany. It supports the Orchestra, since its very beginning, with substantial donations.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift the Foundation was able to attract the attention of the publishing house Gruner+Jahr of Hamburg. Gruner+Jahr had been looking for an opportunity to express its gratitude to the American people for their longtime, unconditional support, both in times of war and peace. This prompted the idea of The Youth Orchestra of Germany's "Thank You America!" tour. The Hoechst Foundation, Daimler Benz and Lufthansa, all long standing partners of the Foundation, joined the project as co­osponsors.

The Germans Foundation of Musical Life had the good fortune to be able to convey the importance of the event to Maestro Kurt Masur, the Music Director of the New York Philharmonics. Maestro Kurt Masur graciously accepted to conduct all three concerts in the USA for a nominal fee. Furthermore, he suggestedan extended rehearsal and study period led by him for the educational benefit of these young musicians.

The Youth Orchestra of Germany's tour to the USA will be covered by Stern, Gruner+Jahr's flagship magazin. The tour will include concerts at New York City's Riverside Church (May 2nd), Washington's Kennedy Center (May 3rd) and Boston's Sander's Havard Theater (May 5th). In addition, Oskar's, a not­for­profit bilingual magazin published by Gruner+Jahr, is distributed in German and American high schools with the purpose of bettering relationships between the young people of both countries. All members of The Youth Orchestra of Germany fall into the category of Oskar's readership. Many opportunities will be provided for young Americans and Germans to meet during the time of the tour.

"Thank You, America!" will end with an open air concert in the heart of Berlin on the Gendarmenmarkt on the opening night of the celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. The programm will contain music of both German and American composers, conducted by the young American rising star Miguel Harth­Bedoya.

The German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl and the American President Bill Clinton have accepted to be the patrons of the event.

Hamburg, February 4, 1998

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