Festival d’Aix appoints Duncan Ward as Music Director of the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra Symphonic sessions

The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence has today announced the appointment of British conductor Duncan Ward as the first ever Music Director of the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra (MYO) Symphonic sessions, effective immediately and for an initial term of three years.

The appointment marks the first time in the orchestra’s history that they will have a Music Director, and the exciting new role will give Duncan the opportunity to build on the orchestra’s activities and merit; from audition processes and artistic planning, through to learning experiences and performances in Aix and on tour.

Operating within the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the MYO offers talented young instrumentalists selected from across all 22 countries of the Mediterranean basin a formative experience as ensemble and orchestral musicians, with creation and intercultural exchange at the heart of its programmes.

2020 marks an exciting year for the orchestra, with a dazzling symphonic programme led by Duncan Ward and pedagogically supervised by musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, mediation training supervised by LSO Discovery lecturer Mark Withers, and four Medinea sessions dedicated to intercultural and collective creation directed by jazzman and composer Fabrizio Cassol.

The orchestra will give three performances with Duncan this summer, presenting an eclectic programme of Francisco Coll’s Mural, Henri Dutilleux’s Correspondances, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition:

16 July, Scène 55, Mougins
17 July, Grand Théâtre de Provence, Aix-en-Provence
18 July, Festival Radio France, Montpellier

Duncan says of the appointment:

“I am very excited to be leading the MYO into this new chapter of their history. The potential of the ensemble is enormous. I look forward to not only sharing unforgettable concerts of varied and challenging repertoire with our audiences each summer, but also finding innovative ways to explore and celebrate the diverse heritage of these extraordinary young musicians from across the Mediterranean.”

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Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2020

Duncan’s appointment was revealed as part of the festival’s 2020 season announcement, which features several Askonas Holt artists.

Beginning a new three-year relationship with the festival, Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) will perform both in opera and in concert. On the opera stage, Sir Simon leads the LSO in Berg’s Wozzeck, with Christian Gerhaher in the title role and Brindley Sherratt as the Doctor. Actor, writer and director Simon McBurney directs. In concert, they will perform both at the Grand Théâtre de Provence (Bartók Concerto for Orchestra & Mahler Symphony No. 5), and at the outdoor PARADE[S] concert on the Cours Mirabeau, as part of a series of events out and about in Aix during June.

The LSO will also be in the pit for the world premiere performances of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s Innocence. Magdalena Kožená and Anna Prohaska take leading roles, and Simon Stone directs.


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