What drew you to the idea of an all-Strauss program for the Sydney Youth Orchestra?

I wanted to introduce these young musicians to some of the greatest music ever written. I wanted them to hear and experience the magic of the trio of Rosenkavalierfor their first time with Sydney Youth Orchestra, to hear The Four Last Songsfor their first time with us, to have a chance at playing, in my opinion, Strauss’s best tone poem Don Juan. First, unforgettable and incredible experiences. I hope it will stay with them forever.

Alexander Briger, Sydney Youth Orchestra Alexander Briger conducting the Sydney Youth Orchestra. Photo courtesy of Sydney Youth Orchestras

What are some advantages of devoting a whole concert to a single composer in this way?

I actually really enjoy doing concerts like these, exploring one composer, hearing the different styles that particular composer achieves during different periods of their life. It’s incredibly interesting for both the audience and musicians.

What are the challenges and pleasures of Strauss for a youth orchestra?

Strauss is extremely difficult. So there are the pure technical demands of course. However, the music is so lush, romantic and ecstatic that young musicians...