In 2023, for the first time in the history of the Musikfestival, there was a separate ensemble of young, excellent musicians who created their own concerts. The 2024 Musikfestival is now giving the formation even more curatorial responsibility.
The Festivalcampus Ensemble 2024 brings together 13 musicians aged between 22 and 30 from all over Europe who are at the beginning of their careers. They have been in close exchange since July 2023 and are designing their own programs for the 2024 Musikfestival in several project phases. In addition to outstanding soloistic abilities, they are characterized by broad artistic interests, creative independence, and a highly developed understanding of the social significance of artistic activity.
Supported by highly qualified coaches and lecturers, participants will reflect on the relevance and impact of classical music in urban society: What is the concert today - and what can it be? In what setting do young artists meet their audience? How can they broaden their own horizons and make the most of their resources in social interaction? With the Festivalcampus-Ensemble, the Heidelberger Frühling realizes one of its main concerns: to create artistic fields of experimentation for the next generation, to stimulate the new and the unfamiliar, and to let them grow in creative safe spaces.
The point of reference for their laboratory project, the "Brahms.LAB", is the 19th century German composer Johannes Brahms and in particular his chamber music.
The young soloist was concertmaster of the Festivalcampus-Ensemble in 2023. Coming from a family of musicians in Dresden, she is currently studying at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar with Friedemann Eichhorn and Sönke Reger. In the season 2022/23 Charlotte Thiele was Artist in Residence of the Bad Reichenhall Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to her solo performances with orchestra, the 23-year-old devotes herself intensively to chamber music. Orchestras such as the Kammerakademie Potsdam or the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn engage her as guest concertmaster. Since the beginning of the 2023/24 season, she has been concertmaster of the Giuseppe Sinopoli Academy of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. At Brahms.LAB, she curates and presents, among other things, the concert "Free or Lonely?". She can also be experienced as a fellow together with Igor Levit at the Musikfestival.
The French-Polish violinist studied in Lyon and at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin with Stephan Picard. As an active chamber musician, she has performed at numerous festivals such as the Grachtenfestival Amsterdam and the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Since 2018 she has been performing regularly with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, where she collaborates with leading representatives of historical performance practice. Juliette Beauchamp is a particularly versatile artist, at home in a variety of styles and genres. As a singer and arranger of the "Trio Babayaki", which she founded, she dedicates herself to traditional Eastern European music, exploring the roots of her own identity.
Born in Kiel in 2002, Benjamin Günst won national prizes as a violinist and pianist at Jugend musiziert during his school years. As a violin soloist, he performed early on with orchestras such as the Kiel Philharmonic, the Karlsbad Symphony Orchestra and the Potsdam Chamber Academy. He is currently studying at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin with Prof. Antje Weithaas. Benjamin Günst grew up in a family of jazz musicians, and in addition to his intensive work as a soloist and chamber musician, he devotes himself with preference to improvisation and stylistic border crossings between the genres. With his string quartet, the Feguro Quartet, he performed in numerous concerts at the Heidelberger Frühling Music Festival in 2023 as part of the Festival Campus Ensemble. Together with quartet partner Toby Cook, he now returns to Heidelberg for creative program development at Brahms.LAB.
Wolke Milena Wilke is the winner of several prestigious competitions. Starting from an active concert career as a soloist (with orchestras such as the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin or the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra) and as a chamber musician at renowned festivals and concert series, she has expanded her artistic activities in recent years in the direction of theater, singing, performance, and composition of music and texts. Thanks to her multi-track education - completed Master of Music with Prof. Antje Weithaas in Berlin as well as current further education in (music theater) directing and acting - she has already been able to stage numerous projects of her own as an interdisciplinary performer. Her wide-ranging expertise informs her work as a director and dramaturg. Since 2022, Wolke Milena Wilke has been an ensemble member of the Berlin-based music theater company "Nico and the Navigators".
The French-British musician, born in Montreal, Canada in 2001, masters the balancing act of an artistic development in two musical worlds. At just 16, she passed the entrance exam to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris, where she studies in the viola class of David Gaillard and Nicolas Bône. While she enjoys success as a classical violist at renowned festivals as well as in numerous chamber music formations, she is also establishing herself as a singer, composer and producer with her own music in the fields of soul, jazz and r'n'b. Nina Tonji's first own album release is scheduled for 2024.
The Brit, born in 1997 and living in Berlin, became a young student at the Royal Academy of Music in London at the age of ten and won several competitions. In 2019, for example, he won the Barbirolli Prize of the Lionel Tertis Viola Competition. After studies at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin with Tabea Zimmermann, Toby Cook continues his studies in the solo master class with Lawrence Power at the Zurich University of the Arts since October 2023. He performs regularly throughout Europe, most recently at the Schiermonnikoog- Festival in the Netherlands and the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland. In 2023, he performed at the Heidelberger Frühling Music Festival as a member of the Feguro Quartet in the Festival Campus Ensemble. The social relevance of classical music and its communicative mediation are of particular concern to Toby Cook.
With the Animato Quartet, which he co-founded, the Dutch cellist has made a name for himself through successes at major competitions and festivals, including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Verbier Festival Academy. Founded in 2013, the quartet combines classical repertoire with contemporary music, including numerous commissioned works, and regularly devotes itself to interdisciplinary formats. Pieter de Koe is also active as a soloist; in collaboration projects with artists of other disciplines he pursues his interest in architecture, design and visual arts. Among the highlights of the upcoming season will be the world premiere of his project "Suite B" around Benjamin Britten's cello suites with dancer Uri Eugenio, which will then go on tour. Pieter de Koe studied in The Hague and Freiburg with Monique Bartels, Michel Strauss and Jean- Guihen Queyras. He plays a valuable instrument by Theodorus Cuypers from the late 18th century.
The Canadian-born, Berlin-based cellist made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 14. Prizes at some of the most internationally renowned competitions - including Concours Reine Elisabeth in Brussel, Concours de Geneve - launched his career as one of the most exciting young instrumentalists on the classical music scene. Bryan Cheng works extensively with contemporary composers and writes his own arrangements to expand the repertoire of his instrument. In his fourth recital album, he presents commissioned works and his own arrangements by composers of Asian origin. As a duo with Leonard Disselhorst, he caused a stir in all parts of the city in 2022 in the re:start program of the Heidelberger Frühling. As a member of the Cheng2 duo, he travels all over the world. Bryan Cheng is currently completing the Professional Studies Program at Kronberg Academy with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. He plays a precious Stradivari cello from 1699.
The young double bassist brings his experience as a member of the first year of the Festivalcampus- Ensemble 2023 and takes on extensive responsibility in the Brahms.LAB as co-curator. Hans Greve is interested in interdisciplinarity and unusual forms of collaboration. In addition to his master's degree at the Freiburg University of Music, he is studying philosophy and psychology. As a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra member, he participates in a number of experimental projects, including the Swiss ensemble collective arte frizzante, as a member of which he has been implementing his own artistic ideas since 2020. Here he was also responsible for the conception of the 2023 season, which includes interdisciplinary projects with dance and scenography.
Marlene Heiß is a pianist specializing in song interpretation and the development of transdisciplinary concert performances. Thanks to her meticulous search for contemporary points of reference, coupled with cross-genre approaches, she builds bridges between the work and the audience. Her interpretations are based on a sound knowledge of performance practice, which she skillfully combines with artistic freedom. Engagements have taken her to the Philharmonie Berlin, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Philharmonie im Gasteig Munich, the Musiikkitalo Helsinki, the Academic Capella St. Petersburg and the Tianjin Concert Hall, among others. She has also performed in concert series such as the Venice Art Night, the Rhone Festival for Lied Art, the Nordlied Festival Hamburg, the Montforter Zwischentöne, the Davos Festival and the Baden Baden Easter Festival. She is a prizewinner of international chamber music competitions, a lecturer at the Berlin University of the Arts and a doctoral candidate in the field of artistic research at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
Julius Schepansky composes, improvises and interprets. He is at home in classical music as well as jazz - and on two instruments at once. At the age of six he began to take an interest in the accordion; at the age of 14 he was already awarded a prize at the renowned international accordion competition in Klingenthal. Julius Schepansky studied with Mie Miki at the Folkwang University of the Arts Essen. After a one-year stay in Copenhagen, he is currently a master's student at the Universite de Montreal. After completing his studies with Thomas Ruckert, he is now continuing his education in jazz piano as a private student of the American Glenn Zaleski. In 2019 he was awarded the "Rising Stars" prize Monchengladbach for jazz piano. He has performed in concerts at the Philharmonie in Koln and Essen, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg and the Tonhalle in Dusseldorf, and has been a guest at international festivals.
Clarinetist and vocalist Žilvinas Brazauskas is a versatile soloist and chamber musician, known for his charismatic performances ranging from classical repertoire to jazz improvisations. In addition, Žilvinas plays various instruments such as piano, guitar and the traditional Lithuanian folk instrument Birbynė, the peculiarities of which he enthusiastically presents to his audience. Born in Lithuania, he has won prizes at competitions such as the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Competition and the "Jeunesses International Music Competition" in Bucharest and was a semi-finalist at the ARD Music Competition. As a soloist he has performed with orchestras such as the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Brussels Philharmonic and the Munich Chamber Orchestra. He also plays in the chamber ensembles Jazzical Class and Trio Agora, where he explores a wide range of styles from jazz and light music to contemporary music, as well as his own compositions and arrangements.
Tamara Kurkiewicz is a Polish percussionist and performer with a strong focus on new and experimental music. In 2018, she won the grand prize at the 12th Competition for Music of the 20. and 21st century for young performers in Poland. As a soloist and chamber musician, Tamara performs at various national and international festivals, including Warsaw Autumn, KODY Festival of Traditional and Avant-Garde Music, Klangspuren Schwaz Tyrolean Festival of New Music and IMPULS Festival. The performative aspect of the works and their extra-musical context are of particular importance to the percussionist. She regularly participates in concerts and co-organizes events herself that highlight feminist concerns as well as other social issues.
The Festivalcampus-Ensemble 2023 consisted of 22 young, excellent musicians*, who could be experienced in the big opening concert at the Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival 2023 and in the following weeks in different line-ups all over the city. These included the ensembles Feguro Quartet (Jona Schibilsky, Benjamin Günst, Toby Cook, Milan Drake), Nerida Quartet (Saskia Niehl, Nevena Tochev, Grace Leehan, Alma Tedde), Kandinsky Quartet (Hannah Kandinsky, Evgenii Artemenkov, Ignazio Alayza, Antonio Gervilla), qunst.quintett (Alexander Koval, Julia Obergfell*, Martin Fuchs, Andreas Becker) and the soloists Charlotte Thiele, Sara Göbel, Lisa Rauchbach, Aoi Selditz and Hans Greve.
*due to illness Stefan Zeininger, Augustin Gorisse and Vicente Castello stepped in