Joy Bryer OBE

Memories, Stories & Tributes

As a tribute to the extraordinary EUYO President and Co-founder Joy Bryer who recently passed away, the EUYO is starting this page of memories, stories and tributes to the great lady who inspired so many generations of young musicians in Europe and around the world.


Do you have a memory, story or tribute that you would like to share? Then just e mail your message, serious or humorous, HERE and we will do the rest to place it on this tribute page.

A photo collage of Joy Bryer's happy moments

EUYO Conductors

Vasily Petrenko, EUYO Chief Conductor 2015 -

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joy Bryer. I first met her in 2008 and I was struck by her passion for the European Union and the young musicians within it. Her gift and legacy for the future was founding the EUYO and inspiring so many young musicians. I am proud to be a part of her vision and do my part in ensuring it vividly lives on.



ECYO/EUYO members and alumni

Sofie van der Schalie (viola), EUYO member 2011-2014

A month has passed since Mrs Bryer has passed away.

For me it was a busy month with playing in orchestra and chamber music, I felt sad not finding time before to write a little story for Mrs B. but at the same time I know she would be happy seeing all EUYO members playing and finding their way in the professional music world.

I feel thankful that I have met Mrs B. several times, spoke with her about orchestra life, love, music, friendship. To me her speeches at the start of an EUYO tour meant a lot. Members of the orchestra entered the room with their friend or with someone from his/her own country, but they left the room with 120 friends.

Mrs. B had this great power to, as we say in Dutch, place all noses in the same direction.

And being a Dutchy we loved the friendship with Mrs. B and our queen (princess nowadays) Beatrix. The concert in Amsterdam was special to the whole orchestra, because of the Concertgebouw and the visit of the queen.

In my professional career I'm still every day so happy for the things I've learned and experienced during my time in EUYO and I'm so thankful to Mrs B for this opportunity she gave to me and so many other great musicians.


Giulia Bellingeri (violin), EUYO member 2006-2010

Erika Catlaka (violin), EUYO member 2007-2010

Lenard Liebert (double bass), EUYO member 2010-2012

Mercedes Guzman Garcia (oboe - english horn) EUYO member 2015-2017

We are a little delegation of former Euyo members, and we all now play in the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra. [...], as soon as we found out that the others have also been in "the best youth orchestra ever", one of the first questions was "And how was Mrs.B doing?" The Euyo represents a background of memories that we can share even if we were not together on the same tour in the same year, and it helped to create a team spirit from the very first moment of meeting each other. And for us Mrs. B was The Embodiment of the orchestra!

We will never forget that every year in the Welcome Speech she said "make at least a new friend and come and tell me about it". And we ALL did that. The communication inside the orchestra was always great.We met each other, we got to know the countries we were touring in, and we got to know the countries that each of us represented ("Remember, you are an Ambassador of your country!!!"). That made us more open, more tolerant people, more curious for the rest of our lives. And EACH of us made in the Euyo some new but now life-time friends.

The speeches that she would have it been possible not to "mitjubeln" (be full of joy with her)! The inspiration she gave, and the trust she had in so many talented but completely different young people, that we were the best and we could bring the spirit of the Euyo forward..."Alle Menschen werden Bruder". And when we could do that, than also our representing politicians back in our countries or in the European Union could have done it!


"Thanks to the Euyo I realized that my dream was to be a musician and play in an Orchestra for the rest of my life. The best conductors, the best concert halls, the unforgettable concerts and tours, everything inspired me so much that my life without playing in an orchestra would now be not imaginable. Thank You for that. Also that she came with us to the most far away places during the tours, and was experiencing everything with us. Although, not being that young, that must have been not very easy for her. That made her even more special in our eyes. We will never forget her!" (Erika)