Among the new generation of young conductors who have proved an international sensation, Berlin-born David Afkham (b.1983) stands out.
Not only was he he first conductor to receive a scholarship from the Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talents, he is also the first to win the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award.
At the final Festival concert in 2010 he conducted both the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, of which he is currently the assistant conductor, and the London Symphony Orchestra, seeing off more than 80 rivals, with the two 20th-century classics here. This live recording with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra demonstrates David Afkham’s ability to handle a wide range of sonorities.
Ligeti’s Atmosphères divides up the orchestral voices in extremely varied ways, achieving a multidimensionality that finds perfect expression in Afkham’s performance. By contrast, Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony dates from the years of the political ‘thaw’ in the Soviet Union. David Afkham’s interpretation is notable for its overview and for its sense of moderation with no hankering after empty effect. That his realisation of this programme is so well thought through augurs well for the future and makes one curious to see how his career will develop as a conductor.
In 2008 David Afkham won the first prize of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition and became the assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and assistant of Valery Gergiev Afkham has already appeared in the United States with some of that country’s leading orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, whilst his European engagements include appearances with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and the Orchestre National de Radio France. It scarcely needs to be added that many other orchestras of international standing have already signed him up since his victory in Salzburg.
Andante - Allegro
“The orchestra is a wonderfully responsive body of young musicians but I have to say I find the reading anonymous.”
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