is a unique cultural exchange project, the collaboration between 2 outstanding youth orchestras led by high profile individuals: the YTO (Young Talent Orchestra) of the Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts) / Hellendaal Music Institute with their Chief conductor, the internationally acclaimed violist Mikhail Zemtsov, and the Gnessin Virtuosi Orchestra from Moscow, with Mikhail Khokhlov as their founding mentor for almost 30 years. Young Dutch and Russian talents (aged 13-18) will join each other on stage to give 3 performances in August, including a concert at the famous Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam.


The Project

The idea of bringing together Dutch and Russian young musicians in one orchestra was developed jointly with the program director of the Grachtenfestival Lestari Scholtes, aiming to help the young talents grow professionally and gain new engagements with the audiences. This exceptional experience will shape their international careers in the future, creating lasting relationships and forming a greater understanding through the universal language of music.

The YTO (Young Talent Orchestra) was founded in 2014 as an initiative of Codarts Rotterdam and Muziekinstituut Hellendaal with the goal to introduce young talented musicians aged 13 to 18 years into orchestra repertoire and practices. The YTO gives about 10 concerts per year, including the one in De Doelen at the Gergiev Festival 2019. In 2017 the YTO won the first prize at the European Music Festival for Youth in Neerpelt (Belgium) and in 2018 – both the Second prize and the Audiences prize at the Dutch National Competition for Youth Symphony Orchestras.

The Gnessin Virtuosi Orchestra dates back to 1990 and Mikhail Khokhlov was instrumental to its creation. As the Director of the Gnessin Special School of Music, he put together the best students and formed a unique ensemble of independent musical personalities. The Moscow Gnessin Special School of Music is an institution with international fame. Among its graduates are many great musicians, such as Alexander Knyazev, Evgeny Kissin, Daniil Trifonov, Boris Berezovsky, Alexey Ogrintchuk, and others. Gnessin Virtuosi is one of the leading youth orchestras in Russia, the winner of many international prizes all over the world.


The Concerts




Friday, 14 August

Geertekerk in Utrecht (Geertekerkhof 23)

Coming soon

Saturday, 15 August

Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam (tbc)

Coming soon

Sunday, 16 August

Grote Kerk in Apeldoorn (Loolaan 16)

Coming soon

The Program

D. Shostakovich – Festive Overture in A major, Op. 96: IYTO

H. Vieuxtemps – Violine Concerto n 4, 1st mov: soloist Kira van der Woerd (violin)

C. Saint-Saens – Cello Concerto, 3rd mov: soloist Andrej van Brakel (cello)

F. Bourne – Carmen Fantasy: soloist Elena Krivorotova (flute)

A. Khachaturian – Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia from the ballet “Spartacus”: IYTO

H. Badings – Concerto for Viola and string orchestra, 3rd mov: soloist Sunniva Skaug (viola)

A. Khachaturian – Toccata from the ballet “Gayane”: soloist Artemy Sokolovsky (piano)

P.I. Tchaikovsky – Finale from the 5th Symphony

The Soloists

Andrej van Brakel, 14 y.o. – cello (NL)

Elena Krivorotova, 13 y.o. – flute (RU)

Sunniva Skaug, 16 y.o. – viola (NL)

Artemy Sokolovsky, 15 y.o. – piano (RU)

Kira van der Woerd, 14 y.o. – violin (NL)


Grachtenfestival is a ten-day festival in Amsterdam that takes place in August each year. Over the course of the years it has become a tradition, an integral part of the Amsterdam summer, a festival for classical music and jazz on the beautiful canals. Young musicians from all over the world surprise the audiences by telling their own musical story and share their countries’ musical traditions. Past, present, and future come together in contemporary combinations of musicians, genres and locations. The city of Amsterdam, from east to west and from north to south, serves as the festival stage with over 250 concerts at 90 different locations. This year Grachtenfestival takes place on August 7-16 and we are very happy to be part of its weekend program, the Saturday evening concert. The theme of this year is “Wonder” – the border between knowing and feeling, the in-explainable in music that touches our hearts and, of course, the wonder-children, young prodigy that amaze the public with their stunning performance.