„Members and guests of the MCO were all very full of energy and I felt their values and priorities as a musician were very inspiring. Everyone I've spoken to from all generations still have this flame burning in them, which I find extremely valuable and which I wouldn’t want to lose during my professional career.”
Andria Chang, violin

„My mentor gave me not only suggestions about how to play the violin but also showed me valuable soft skills in the wider field of music making." 
Akihiro Takeda, violin


"The MCO Academy was a fantastic experience.Never before have I played with an orchestra of that level, and I was overwhelmed, that the academists were being treted the same as full-fledged members of the orchestra. I learned a lot about different ways of playing, about sound and expression. The way I could sort in my instrument into the sound of the full orchestra felt like we all were one big instrument, as if we would move and breath all together. The professional exchange with my mentor was outstanding. If I could turn back time I would love to experience the days with the MCO again."
Joana Costa Dias, violin

"The MCO Academy was probably one of the best musical experiences so far in my life and I am sure it will be hard to beat. It goes without saying that the MCO is one of the best orchestras in the world, and to be a part of the orchestra and to be given that responsibility was truly an honor. The musicians are world class and extremely welcoming and friendly. The performances are spine-tingling. The orchestra is unique in a way that each member comes from all over the world and are there solely for the music. That’s what creates an electrifying energy that might not be created with an orchestra that plays together every day of the year just for a job. The experience I have taken away from the course is invaluable.”
Matthew H.


"The cooperation of the Orchesterzentrum|NRW with the MCO is simply great. The close musical exchanges between the members of the MCO and the international academists were a great experience. It was also interesting for me to be given insights in the discussions after the rehearsals into the organisation of such an orchestra, which works completely differently to most other orchestras. I took a lot away with me."

Tobias Isemann, violin

"It was a unique experience to play together with the musicians of the MCO. It is unusual to find an orchestra where you have so much the impression that each individual is really passionate about the music. It's simply great fun to work together with so many positive people. I was extremely happy with my group of the low brass instruments in particular because I was able to play together with some of the world's best musicians and learn a lot. Absolutely world-class!"

Daniel Steppeler, trombone


"It was great to have the opportunity to play in such a wonderful orchestra. That is why it's a superb opportunity to study at the Orchesterzentrum|NRW where such a partnership with the MCO exists. My mentor looked after me very intensely and gave me a lot of time. They are simply great musicians whom I can learn a lot from."

Ting Fu Lu, violin


"I'm very grateful to the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Maestro Heras-Casado for how much they inspired and positively influenced me as part of the MCO Academy. The ability of the conductor to communicate his ideas and concepts to the musicians in such a convincing, clear but nevertheless respectful manner was great. The result was that the entire orchestra played together so accurately and closely as if it were just one musician. It is unique how all of the participants understand and feel the music. They are fantastic artists with whom working together was great fun."

Patrizia Estebaranz, violin


"It was an unforgettable experience. I was particularly impressed by this unbelievable energy that arises from the interplay of these outstanding musicians. This experience pervaded my music playing to a very great extent and I learnt very much. But the most important thing of all is that from the first rehearsal to the last concert I had enormous fun on the stage."

Gemma Corrales, flute


"The most remarkable experience for me during the work phase with the MCO was how an artistic unit was created within a very short time from individual professional musicians. The high degree of willingness of each participating artist to become involved in concentrated work resulted in an extremely inspiring working atmosphere and an unforgettable concert at the highest artistic level."

Jannis Pektaris, violin


"I think the MCO Academy is both great and challenging at the same time. The MCO musicians showed a great deal of interest in us, and because we learned the baroque method of playing together, we quickly became a team. Ton Koopman was also always in a good mood and his method of conducting is incredibly lively."

Nieke Schouten, oboe


"There was a lot of positive criticism and tips from the musicians about what I could still improve. What I particularly liked was the fact that we were simply part of it all and no distinction was made between the students and MCO members. I'm happy that I was able to participate in the MCO Academy, because I now know that I can compete at a high level."

Marcel Reuter, tombone