"I am very honoured to receive this prize: it encourages both myself and the orchestra to continue with our European focus. Rather than a personal award, this prize feels like recognition for all the orchestra's European projects", states Corinna Niemeyer. The conductor of the OUS received the Franco-German Friendship Prize on 30th January from the German Ambassador and Consul General to the Council of Europe. Founded in 2008, this prize recognises French and German citizens of all origins – geographical or social – who make a personal commitment to furthering friendship between French and German people. The winners are chosen by the German embassy or the German consulates in France.
Corinna Niemeyer took charge of the University of Strasbourg Orchestra (OUS) in 2010, when she began to study conducting in Karlsruhe. She has since turned professional but has never left behind her connections to Strasbourg. "For her, Strasbourg is the crossroads between France and Germany, the heart of her commitment to Europe. This prize is recognition for her investment in Strasbourg, the university and the city", says Hervé Moritz, president of the OUS.
A very European orchestra
Under the watchful eye of Corinna Niemeyer, this group of 75 musicians has undertaken various tours in Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, not to mention welcoming groups from neighbouring countries to Strasbourg. One of the OUS's proudest achievements was playing at the European Parliament as part of a ceremony paying tribute to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died on 16th June 2017. "Participating in such an important European event was a huge honour for me and all our musicians. In this young orchestra, mainly made up of students, we see ourselves as part of a united and open Europe. These are the values we want to share", says the conductor. The highlight of 2018 will be organising the European Student Orchestra Festival from 6th to 10th June. Around a dozen orchestras from universities all over Europe are invited. The lineup includes concerts at the Palais Universitaire and the Palais de la Musique and des Congrès among other venues, a flash mob, a musical picnic and more. This is the first time that Strasbourg has hosted the festival. Each year, the OUS plays around fifteen concerts in Strasbourg and abroad. It is one of the most active university orchestras in Europe.
To join the group, contact the orchestra by email. You will be invited to a short audition.