An unprecedented reaction...

Following unprecedented reaction from music and cultural organisations and individuals from Europe and across the world to the recent announcement of the impending closure of the European Union Youth Orchestra, due to a lack of core funding from the EU, the music world has put the EU on notice that it must find a solution to avoid the closure of the Orchestra.

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“Financing the European Union Youth Orchestra has become a very important and challenging issue. This orchestra has a longstanding tradition of excellence and has represented the musical heritage of the European Union across the world, and in so many prestigious fora over the last four decades." Italian delegation to the European Union, ‘Supporting the European Union Youth Orchestra’

“The youth orchestra has been a symbol of cultural diversity in Europe for 40 years. To take away funds from the orchestra right now is the wrong signal at the wrong time.” “If this European Union Youth Orchestra did not already exist, you’d have to start one now” Monika Grütters, Minister of State in the Federal Chancellery, and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media 

“Culture is the glue that should keep Europe together. That is why the EU should find a way to support the EUYO & keep it going”. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Health (March 2008 - February 2010), European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth (March 2010 – November 2014)

“On Monday and Tuesday of next week there is a meeting in Brussels of the EU's Ministers of Culture and Education. During the last two weeks the worlds of music and education have spoken with one global voice about the critical importance of the EU and its 28 countries finding a funding solution to allow the European Union Youth Orchestra to continue. And we want that meeting to be aware: everyone will be watching to see what the meeting decides”. Sir Simon Rattle, Chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker

“… a catastrophic loss to the musical community across Europe…if the European Union stops investing in its young people and its culture it will undermine its own credibility and future” Vasily Petrenko, Chief Conductor Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic and European Union Youth Orchestras

“For 40 years the European Union Youth Orchestra has been the very definition of excellence and commitment, consistently proving the value of bringing together young people from diverse European cultures. At a moment of such challenge for Europe, it is simply unthinkable that this beacon could be destroyed by lack of support and nurturing from the EU. Simply unthinkable.” Bernard Haitink Conductor Laureate European Union Youth Orchestra

“With the death of the European Union Youth Orchestra they are taking away the sap from Europe itself: politics will be able to do even less against the rise of nationalistic movements, against the walls that in many parts they want to erect and that music helps to tear down. It is a group formed by extraordinary young people: everyone gives their best and counts on the talent of the person next to them. Even at a time when the tension between their nations was highest, Greek and German musicians studied together, played together. The Orchestra is a symbol of coming together that is important for everyone.” Gianandrea Noseda, Music Director Teatro Regio Torino, Music Director Designate National Symphony Orchestra Washington DC, Chief Guest Conductor Designate London Symphony Orchestra

“We believe that the European Union Youth Orchestra is one of the great Cultural Ambassadors of the European Union, and that for 40 years it has been a consistent beacon of excellence for the EU's highest values and ideals. We understand that without direct core funding from the EU this unique organisation will cease to exist after 1 September 2016. We call upon President Juncker, President Schulz and Commissioner Navracsics to act to make available, with urgency, a level of EU core funding directly for the Orchestra that will enable its survival.”

Daniel Barenboim - Music Director Staatskapelle Berlin, Co-founder West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Lionel Bringuier - Chief Conductor and Music Director Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich; Gustavo Dudamel - Music Director Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Iván Fischer - Founder and  Director Budapest festival Orchestra, Chief Conductor Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin; Esa-Pekka Salonen - Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor Philharmonia Orchestra, Conductor Laureate Los Angeles Philharmonic, Composer in Residence New York Philharmonic Orchestra;  
Juja Wang - classical pianist; Pinchas Zukerman - violinist, violist, and conductor; Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 2008, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montréal); Sir Antonio Pappano - Music Director Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Music Director, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma

 “… a grave political error on the part of those whose role it is to protect culture and its institutions … a betrayal of a fundamental belief”. Semyon Bychkov, Otto Klemperer Chair of Conducting, Royal Academy of Music, London, Gunter Wand Conducting Chair, BBC Symphony Orchestra

“…In a world whose cultural and spiritual values ​​are at risk. It is assumed that governments should help and support in any way the survival of orchestras, especially the younger ones.” Ricardo Muti, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini

“The bureaucracy of the European Union is turning into the grave of genuinely continental projects. It looks like a huge contradiction and is lamentable for a project that brings youth, talent, diversity, solidarity, culture ... art.” Juanjo Mena, Chief Conductor, BBC Philharmonic

“…a cultural and political disaster second to none and a terrible indictment against a background of increasing nationalistic and anti-EU tendencies.” Sir Simon Rattle, Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker; Martin Hoffmann, General Manager of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation; Ulrich Knörzer, Member of the Orchestra Board; Knut Weber, Member of the Orchestra Board

Where are you going, EU? It is alarming to stop investing in the education of young people.” Andreas Großbauer, Chairman Vienna Philharmonic

“At a time when the importance of music education in general and the positive impact generated by youth orchestras in Europe and indeed the world over is widely recognised, it seems curious, to say the least, that a highly successful institution such as the EUYO, which by its very existence has exemplified one of the central tenets of the European Union, will now cease to exist owing to lack of funding. A European community which fails to invest in the future of its young people will ultimately face severe problems.” Matthias Naske, CEO & Artistic Director of Wiener Konzerthaus; Board Member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra

“As a former Chairman (2002-2008) of the British House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, may I add my anguished voice to those appealing to you, to the Commission as a whole, and to the European Parliament not to let the Youth Orchestra die. Quite apart from the superb quality of its performances, the EUYO is an extraordinarily potent symbol of the finest aspirations of European youth, demonstrating beyond doubt how indispensable is such a shared cultural experience to the advancement of ever closer union.  Allowing ill-conceived cultural funding structures to kill off the EUYO is a shameful betrayal of a great institution and sends a terrible message to youth both within and beyond the borders of the EU, not to mention to those older generations who have known and loved it these past forty years.” Lord Grenfell of Kilvey, former Chairman (2002-2008) of the British House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union

“I have long been a supporter of the ECYO, as it then was, and the EUYO, as a marvellous example of harmony in Europe where otherwise there was so little. As you know so well, but it bears repeating, the orchestra has gone from strength to strength, musically, but more importantly it has been an exemplar in bringing so many young people together to provide a concrete example of cooperation to the world, and to include outstanding performers from every single EU member…” Fred Emery, Acting Editor The Times, London, 1982, Presenter BBC Panorama 1978-92

“I have been dismayed to learn of the elimination of funding for the EU Youth Orchestra.  I don’t need to remind you of the quality and stature of this orchestra amid the world network of youth orchestras.  It is among the highest and most respected.  The elimination of the orchestra appears as a blunt insult to its proud history and its worldwide significance. 

I wonder if I do need to remind you of the power of a peak orchestra such as the EUYO.  Citizen artists who make Europe a stronger region are incubated in this organization, which is so well run, administratively and artistically. We can't fathom why you would take such a glowing success that is having such a positive effect on so many, and kill it.

As the keynote speaker to UNESCO’s first world conference, and the recipient of the highest award in the U.S. for arts education, I know the value and impact of such an institution for those individuals and for those they contact through their various means.  We in the U.S. envy Europe its marvellous EUYO, and are shocked that a government would just brush it aside—it seems the worst kind of disrespect for tradition and success. What does the EU want Europe to become?  What kind of government is the EU if it gives so little value to its cultural gems?

Please re-fund this great orchestra.  We in the U.S. were shocked by the actions that led to its closing and believe you will wake up soon to the greatness that you have and reinstate its future built on such a foundation of success.”  Eric Booth, writer, teacher, independent arts learning consultant

“As a former Belgian diplomat I have been a constant advocate of a comprehensive European integration process. This should encompass not only economic, financial and social issues but also matters of common security and citizenship.

I have always shared the opinion that the task of the EU is to bring citizens closer in a spirit of mutual respect and cohesion. In this respect the European Union Youth Orchestra has achieved over years results that no other endeavour has reached. Along with the ERASMUS program, it has succeeded in creating a true European identity among young people.

The news of the European Commission suspending its support to this extraordinary tool of integration is to me as a passionate music lover not only un-understandable but unacceptable. As we see increasing and concerning moves towards more nationalism, maintaining this forum of multiculturality is simply a moral duty.

I do hope that the Commission will soon reconsider its planned decision so that the EUYO can pursue its activities as the herald of confidence in our common future.”  Pierre Clement Dubuisson, Honorary Ambassador of Belgium

“Because of the EUYO, I saw that I was just as good as my European peers, made great friends and professional contacts that I still have today, and I am now one of the few female Principal Oboists in a top orchestra in Europe. There is no way that I could have achieved this without the EUYO, and I am not an isolated story. All the top orchestras in Europe are full of past alumni of the EUYO (in my year alone, 2 Oboe members of the Berlin Philharmonic were in my team of 5) and closing down this orchestra is a tragedy that cannot be allowed to happen, not just for the musical development of young European musicians, but also to develop and maintain friendly contacts among its citizens.” Aisling Casey, Principal Oboe Radio Philharmonic of The Netherlands

“EUYO is the best youth orchestra in the world. It is without peer as a pre-professional training orchestra. Nearly every professional orchestra in Europe and many more around the world (including the Sydney Symphony here in Australia) have former EUYO members in their ranks. They bring to those orchestras not only the highest level of instrumental artistry and the utmost dedication to the music they play, but also the desire to create a sense of community, to engage with their colleagues, their audience and the wider community in a really meaningful way, and break down boundaries and borders to communication and collaboration. They have a real sense of curiosity about their neighbours and their neighbour’s culture and a respect for difference, all these things learnt from their experience in EUYO (an experience many say was the best experience of their lives).

EUYO is a model of European unity and collaboration, unique in the arts world. I can’t think of a more powerful or more palpably successful example. I believe EUYO is utterly European both in aspiration and in practice.

To lose EUYO would be to deny hundreds of emerging professional musicians a vital stepping stone to their future careers. It would also deny the citizens of 28 countries the chance to experience the unique display of inspiration, passion and positivity that these amazing young people and this organisation offer.” Roger Benedict, Artistic Director, Sydney Symphony Fellowship Program; Principal Viola, Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Senior Lecturer, Sydney Conservatorium

“Please may I add my voice to the thousands of alumni of the European Union Youth Orchestra dismayed at your decision to suspend all funding to the orchestra. Of all the institutions of the European Union this is surely the most profoundly successful. My experiences both playing in and listening to the EUYO were transformative: there is no way one can be involved in the orchestra without developing a deep love not only for the music and culture of Europe but for its people as well. If you cannot see this then you are not fit to work for the European Union. I understand that you have a difficult role managing budgets in the current financial climate. However, EUYO is a reflection of all that is best in the European Union. Cutting its funding would cause irreparable damage to the EU and European culture in general. Please reverse your decision.” Alec Frank-Gemmill, Principal Horn Scottish Chamber Orchestra

“I Believe that the European Union Youth Orchestra is one of the greatest Cultural Ambassadors of the European Union, and that for 40 years it has been a consistent beacon of excellence for the EU's highest values and ideals.” Alexander Kasper, Bassoon Player Konzerthausorchester Berlin

“I grew up in Corfu, Greece. It is a very beautiful island but with very little musical or artistic culture. In order to pursue my education in classical music, I had to move abroad. As a student of the Royal Academy of Music, I received some orchestral training and experience but it was EUYO that really gave me a glimpse of what it means to make music in a world-class ensemble…

Artistically, EUYO made me love music. I do not only mean music only as a sound, but music making, as a profession and as a way of life. It also offered me an opportunity to meet and interact with numerous other musicians, many of which I still meet often in various orchestras around London. An orchestra is more than a group of musicians. It is there to serve a community of people and, to this day I have not seen another ensemble that has served its community as well as the EUYO. It connected me to the world musically and culturally when I needed it the most…

I do not believe music will be lost without EUYO. Music finds way to survive but for musicians like me, coming to western classical music from a country with very little tradition, with EUYO gone, we will have lost the most important connection that allows us to communicate and interact with Europe. EUYO IS Europe, with all its qualities and values.” Alexandros Koustas, Principal Viola Player, The English National Ballet Philharmonic & Viola player, The Academy of St Martin in the Fields

“Culture is at the heart of Europe.  People all over the world aspire to have a cultural life like that of us Europeans; it is the envy of many.  Musicians, artists, music-lovers and culture-lovers travel every year to experience what Europe has to offer.  To my mind, the EUYO has played, and hopefully will continue to play its part in this wealth of artistic excellence.  Not only are the concerts given by the EUYO comparable with those of the very best professional orchestras in the world, but membership of the EUYO provides a unique opportunity to hone skills with the very best of Europe's young musicians under the tutelage of Europe's greatest mentors.  With the skills I learnt as a member of EUYO, I was able to get a job with the London Symphony Orchestra and I continue to use those skills every day.  With the LSO, I travel all over the world, often playing to sold-out concert halls, continuing to bring European excellence to audiences throughout the world.  A great number of my colleagues are former members of the EUYO and I am certainly not alone in the knowledge that we would be artistically poorer had it not been for the lasting influence of the wonderful EUYO.

The lasting legacy of each and every member of the EUYO is that they can play even more inspiring, uplifting concerts, cementing the view that Europe really is where culture is at its very best.  Without culture extending beyond the boundaries of the individual member countries, what is Europe all about?  Economic, agriculture, justice, environmental policies?  These all have their place, but without Art and Culture, the European Union risks becoming a rather dry, uninspiring place, which is surely not what anyone is trying to achieve.

I appeal to you most strongly to find funding to safeguard the future of the EUYO.  This will help to ensure that future generations of European musicians will keep Europe at the very pinnacle of cultural life.” Anna Bastow, Viola, London Symphony Orchestra

“The European Union Youth Orchestra is the very symbol of the European project. It brings young people together from all over the continent, only based on their love for, and skill at music. That is when real lasting international friendships are born. By bringing a whole generation of stellar musicians together, the EUYO creates everlasting bonds and a renewed understanding of the different cultures.” Asbjørn Ibsen Bruun, Member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester

“In a time when the great traditions of western civilization and culture are are being orphaned and gradually lost, please do not let the incredible value of this shining beacon of music end. The EUYO not only teaches the value of discipline, citizenship and cooperation to young people, it also enriches the EU countries by continuing to hold up the great tradition of which our world-famous orchestras are the pinnacle, like the London Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, and so many more. We need this in the world. These young students need this opportunity.” Denise Dillenbeck, Yakima Symphony Concertmaster, Northwest Sinfonietta Concertmaster, Lake Chelan Bach Festival Concertmaster, Central Washington University Artist in Residence

“As principal flute of the world-renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for 21 years, I can say with my hand on my heart that I would not be in this position today had I not initially had the opportunity to hear EUYO (or ECYO as it was back then) as a teenager, conducted by maestro Claudio Abbado at the Proms in London… and a couple of years later, to successfully audition for this wonderful orchestra.

I was fortunate enough to have played in EUYO (ECYO) for 4 years from 1988 to 1992 under such great conductors as Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jeffrey Tate and Zubin Mehta to mention just a few. The musical training which we received was exceptional and was undeniably intrinsic to so many of my generation (and generations before and after) winning positions in top orchestras throughout Europe; some in their home countries, but many, such as myself, in other European countries. We travelled extensively throughout the European Union, sparking a love and deep respect for the unified variety within the 28 countries of the EU. At our concerts, both performers and audiences alike shared some absolutely unforgettable musical highlights. In addition, deep and lasting friendships were forged, friendships which link Europe, and which bind audiences to musical culture throughout our glorious European Union.

Music is an international language, youth is our future and these European friendships are the foundation of our future Europe…” Emily Beynon, Principal Flute, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

“I believe that the European Union Youth Orchestra is one the great Cultural Ambassadors of the European Union, and that for 40 years it has been a consistent beacon of excellence for the EU's highest values and ideals.

I understand that without direct core funding from the EU this unique organisation will cease to exist after 1 September 2016. I call upon President Juncker, President Schulz and Commissioner Navracsics to act to make available, with urgency, a level of EU core funding directly for the Orchestra that will enable its survival.” Fiona Kelly, Principal flute Swedish Chamber Orchestra

“…How are we to motivate and energise the next generation to buy into the collective spirit of the EU if one of *their* projects, one of the few that actually belongs to them, is taken away from them? It begs the question of what the EU is for and what good it actually does if it can snatch away something that manifestly does so much cultural and psychological good in Europe today.” Iona Bain, journalist, author and musician

“As a musician from the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and a violin and viola teacher, I can assure you that the EUYO is an absolutely unique orchestra of major importance for the European classical music panorama. If you do care about European cultural values, which you surely do, please do your best to ensure the funding of the EUYO for the future.” Johannes Eva, Violist, Nürnberger Symphoniker

“The EUYO gave us a vision for life. We strive to experience, cultivate and create world-class music that brings people together and celebrates unity through diversity. The EUYO embodies the ideals of the EU. If the EU cannot fund its talented young musicians, many of whom would be inspired to devote their lives to these ideals, then the EU is straying in the wrong direction. I urge you to find a way to ensure that the EUYO can continue to inspire future generations of the EU’s greatest musical talents.” Sarah Sew, EUYO Violinist 2006-12, Concert Master 2010-12

“The decision to put an end to the European Union Youth Orchestra is a stab to the heart of the Union itself. Nothing short of an act of high treason to those values the Union was meant to foster, defend and export. It is a short-sighted, short-term based decision which contributes to undermine and erode the European ideal even further at a time when those values need defending most.” Dr Oscar Colomina i Bosch, Professor of Orchestration, Royal Academy of Music (London); Conductor/General Music, The Yehudi Menuhin School

“As ambassadors for the EU project, young musicians performing at the top of their game, led by the world's finest conductors, are surely worthy of the support of the organisation whose name they have so faithfully and enthusiastically promoted across the world for the last four decades.

Alumni from the EUYO perform in orchestras across the world, and teach thousands of young aspiring students. The message that this cancellation of funding sends both to the alumni and to aspiring future performers is hugely damaging to the EU name - especially at a time when many are questioning its worth.” Michael Bawtree, Music Director, Glasgow Chamber Choir; Chorus Director, Edinburgh Choral Union; Lecturer, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; Assistant Music Director, Festival Lyrique de Belle Ile en Mer, France; Staff Pianist, Orkney Conducting Course



Furthermore, a joint letter of support was sent by Wiener Jeunesse Orchester, Austria; National Music School Bulgaria; Latvian Academy of Music, Latvia; Bozar, Brussels, Belgium; Jeunesses Musicales, Croatia; Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Malta; ARS/KONCERT, spol. s.r.o. Czech Republic; NJO: Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble, Netherlands; Danske Musikkonservatorium, Denmark; Ministry of Culture & National Heritage, Poland; Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Estonia; Direção-Geral das Artes Portugal; Sibelius-Akatemia, Finland; ARTEXIM/Romanian Cultural Institute, Romania; Orchestre Français des Jeunes, France; Slovak Music Centre, Slovakia; Goethe-Institut, Germany; Department for Musical Production, RTV Slovenia; Megaron Thessalonliki, Greece; Academy of Music and Drama, Gothenburg, Sweden; National Youth Orchestra of Ireland; National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, UK:

“We strongly believe that the European Union is making an appalling mistake by undermining the importance of such a remarkable cultural organisation in Europe. The EUYO can only keep representing its Union if the European Union itself is prepared to continue funding it. Partnership project funding through ‘Creative Europe’ is clearly not appropriate for the EUYO.”



"The recent announcement of the closure of the European Union Youth Orchestra due to a loss of funding from the European Union has shocked the music world, and stirred up reactions from complete incomprehension to openly issued bewilderment. The decision to deprive the orchestra of its EU funding is a capital mistake, and was made by European policy-makers who for decades have embraced the EUYO as a metaphor for a Europe united by its youth and musical excellence".
Renate Böck, President and Pierre Barrois, Vice-President, The European Federation of National Youth Orchestras, on behalf of youth orchestras in Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and UK.

“The orchestra has provided opportunities for many young Irish instrumental players to participate at the highest level artistically, to act as cultural ambassadors for Ireland and Europe and to develop friendships and working relationships that span the European Union. For 40 years the orchestra has show-cased classical music as a truly pan-European art form at its best, both for its members, and its audience, helping to foster a sense of European identity in everyone who is touched by it.  It has also contributed to the development of classical music itself, providing a life changing opportunity for its extraordinarily gifted members to grow artistically and personally surrounded and nurtured by the diversity and richness of music traditions from all of our member states. 

I urge you to reconsider the situation regarding the EUYO and find a way in which it can be funded as the pan-EU cultural institution that it has been.” On behalf of the Board of Directors and members of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras

“… Among those superb projects that inspired us over the years to develop our own musical institutions, the EUYO is the best example in the world of commitment to the future generations and excellence in training young musicians. Generations of Brazilian musicians in their training years (me included) dreamed of having a similar project to integrate our continent. We learned to love music and our art form listening to projects like the EUYO… The EUYO is a worldwide asset that must be defended by all human beings. The threat is not hitting only a youth orchestra, but the global musical community and, worst, the bet creation of the human spirit which is the music. I hope you reconsider your position and give back the support to the orchestra. It is still time for the EU to recover from such a bad decision.”  Marcelo Lopes, Osesp Foundation, Executive Director

“I understand at first hand the enormous and positive impact that membership of such an orchestra can have on young musicians from across Europe. Whilst not a member of EUYO myself, in 1995/96 I was privileged to tour as a violinist with its sister orchestra, the European Union Baroque Orchestra. As is without doubt the case for the thousands of players who have played and toured with EUYO, some of my most enriching, inspiring and energising musical experiences were with this group of highly professional, engaged and keenly learning musicians.

Players of both orchestras then and now learn not only from internationally acclaimed directors and soloists, an invaluable opportunity for young players, alone worth beyond its funding with regards its impact on a wider cultural ecology. They learn from each other, musically, culturally, playing into the night, breaking bread together and challenging one another to be the best artists they can be. They grow professionally and artistically from the diversity of audiences and contexts in which they present work, learning to communicate across boundaries with passion and intellect.

EUYO provides opportunity and mobility to the creative and cultural sectors and visibility and audibility to the ethos and ideals of the Union. In myriad ways the European Union Youth Orchestra enriches lives and our society.

To discard four decades of work, by dint of the technicalities and shifting sands of funding structures would be beyond tragic. I believe that you understand this too.” Matt Burman, Artistic Director, Yorkshire Festival

“It is with great sadness that we write to you on behalf of the Sibelius Academy at the University of the Arts Helsinki after hearing the news that the 40 year history of the European Union Youth Orchestra will cease to exist after September 1, 2016.

We Believe that the European Union Youth Orchestra is one of the great Cultural Ambassadors of the European Union, and that for 40 years it has been a consistent beacon of excellence for the EU's highest values and ideals. It has served as a stepping stone of young European musicians towards the professional careers not only in their own countries but all over Europe. It promotes tolerance, creates friendships and work opportunities that would not appear otherwise. Thru EUYO, young musicians get to learn different styles and interpretations of music as there are so many cultures represented. This rich environment is everything EU is supposed to offer its citizens. We understand that without direct core funding from the EU this unique organisation will cease to exist after 1 September 2016. Therefore, we call upon President Juncker, President Schulz and Commissioner Navracsics to act to make available, with urgency, a level of EU core funding directly for the Orchestra that will enable its survival.” Matti Perttula, Head of the Department for Conducting, Chamber Music and Orchestra Studies; Anna Rombach, General Manager of the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra

"This Orchestra is one of the important cultural symbols of European cultural cooperation providing invaluable opportunities for the cooperation of young people across borders and then their performance of high quality orchestral music to European citizens. The loss of this youth orchestra is, quite frankly, unthinkable and would run counter to the principle of the Union being obliged to uphold cultural and linguistic diversity. We therefore urge you to re-consider your position regarding the funding of the EUYO as a matter of urgency".Carole Tongue, President of the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

"We are writing to express our shock and disappointment at the news of the closure of the European Union Youth Orchestra. The International Society for Music Education draws its 2000 plus members from 90 countries around the world – including most of the 28 countries from which members of the orchestra are drawn. Not only does the work of the EUYO contribute to the music development of the next generation of musicians, the EUYO also provides a unique forum in which young people from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds may meet and work together in a common enterprise. Investment in the European Union Youth Orchestra is an investment in the youth of Europe and sends a message about the importance of music and culture across Europe and the World. In addition it provides a focus for the pride of the European nations in their youth. I speak for our thousands of members, and millions of affiliate members when I ask that you reconsider your funding decision and provide the vital support that will enable this orchestra to continue". International Society of Music Education, Sheila Woodward (South Africa / USA), Margaret Barrett (Australia), Lee Higgins (United Kingdom) President, Immediate past President and President Elect

"The European Union Youth Orchestra is one the greatest Cultural Ambassadors of the European Union, and for 40 years it has been a beacon for the EU's highest values and ideals". “The EUYO is a great ambassador for Europe, it would be an absolute disaster if it closed down”. John Gilhooly, Chair Royal Philharmonic Society and Rosemary Johnson, Executive Director, Royal Philharmonic Society


“The European Music Council (EMC) is the umbrella organisation for musical life in Europe. It is a platform for National Music Councils and European music networks involved in all fields of music from many European countries. Our 74 members are based in 30 European countries. 

Wroclaw, 22 May 2016

After the first 2.5 years under the operation of the Creative Europe programme, the EMC is concerned about the serious impact the changes in funding structures have had. The programme offers valuable support to the culture sector and has enabled important collaboration projects to happen. However, the abolishment of operational grants and the reduction of the number of European networks funded is a serious threat to the existence of culture networks and ambassadors. The EUYO’s impending closure is one of the latest prominent examples how these changes in the funding structure have affected the sector.

Therefore, the Annual Meeting of members of the EMC regrets the decision taken to close the EUYO (European Union Youth Orchestra) and appeals to the European Union and other funding bodies to ensure the continuing operation of the orchestra.

During the 6th European Forum on Music, EMC members and delegates discussed the critically important nature of music and musical expression – which encapsulates the very identity of our cultural understanding and dialogue in Europe; values that are so essential in European societies today.

In a time when the European Union is facing enormous challenges such as the migration of people to Europe bringing the diverse identities of their musical homelands with them to enrich Europe’s culture, it is important that the citizens of Europe have an appreciation and understanding of the diverse nature of that cultural expression as seen and heard in the high quality musical enrichment that is evident in the activities of the EUYO.

The public image of the EU is in crisis because the values of the European community, of people living together in peace and harmony, respecting a diversity of cultures are often not fully nor effectively communicated. This is why the lack of EU funding for the EUYO needs to be revised and measures should be found to secure EU funding for the orchestra.

We therefore appeal to the EU to recognize the potential of culture for a Europe that brings people together and contributes to mutual understanding and respect. Furthermore, we know and have all experienced that a positive image of the EU can be achieved through significant and long-term investment in the arts and culture - an investment that supports young musicians and celebrates excellence, such as the EUYO and many other music initiatives. Surely this is an aspiration we should share for all of Europe’s emerging artists celebrating the diverse culture that is today’s Europe.

The EMC supports the campaign to secure EUYO’s existence.”




“Few orchestras embody the pan-European spirit and values as ideally as the European Union Youth Orchestra. Therefore, during the 17 editions of the festival, we have tried to present it whenever possible, and EUYO has appeared no less than twelve times, in five cases performing the grand final concert of the festival, receiving accolades from the press and adoration from the audience.

…The spirit and message behind this orchestra has been widely understood: it has been understood by our audience, which returns faithfully and enthusiastically to the EUYO’s concerts. It has been understood by the press, which has praised the orchestra’s level as being “equal to a professional top orchestra” Der Tagesspiegel  

…This year, the European Union Youth Orchestra is scheduled to open our festival on August 17, once again under the patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, yourself, and Berlin’s Governing Mayor, Michael Müller. We are proud and gratified that Mayor Müller and Monika Grütters, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, out of whose budget the German contribution to EUYO’s finances comes, have agreed to deliver keynote addresses before this concert. The event is one of the first to celebrate the EUYO’s 40th anniversary.

As a platform for youth orchestras the world over, but located at the heart of Europe, we urge you to rethink and reverse the decision to defund the European Union Youth Orchestra. Few other institutions embody the idea, the philosophy, the spirit of Europe as purely and wholeheartedly as this orchestra does. In times in which the European Union is questioned and attacked on so many levels, we need ambassadors to breathe life into the European Idea, and to remind us why Europe is the only way towards the future. Please use your high position and influence to find a way to ensure the financial future of the European Union Youth Orchestra.” Dr. Gabriele Minz, General Manager, Young Euro Classic,   Dr. Dieter Rexroth, Artistic Director, Young Euro Classic

“The decision to put an end to the European Union Youth Orchestra is a stab to the heart the Union itself. Nothing short of an act of high treason to those values the Union was meant to foster, defend and export. It is a short-sighted, short-term based decision which contributes to undermine and erode the European ideal even further at a time when those values need defending most.” José Luis Sosa Muñiz, Professor at the Conservatorio Superior de Música" Andrés de Vandelvira" de Jaén, España

“The EUYO is an essential element of the European Union's musical culture, and their efforts provide important opportunities for participants to live and work together to develop friendships and understanding, to increase their awareness of the musical and cultural aspects of Europe, as well as Europe’s place in the global culture. Our organization (, which transforms lives through the power of diversity in the arts, count the EUYO as vital international colleagues - the ensemble provides young artists with incredible opportunities to grow as musicians and citizens of our global world. For the continued advancement of our field, and classical music in general, we implore you to sustain the future of the EUYO.” Afa Dworkin, President & Artistic Director, The Sphinx Organization


The Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Sir András Schiff perform for the EUYO #SaveEUYO:

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mariss Jansons perform the European Anthem in support of EUYO:

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra plays in support of the EUYO, featuring Emily Davis, Graham Sibley & Anthony Howe (& 10 other EUYO alumni):

IMG Artists staff sing European Anthem:

I, CULTURE Orchestra plays in support of the EUYO:

Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia plays in support of the EUYO:

Casa da Música Porto plays in support of the EUYO:


The betrayal of the European Union Youth Orchestra by the EU Commission [is] a miserable, petty, crass, stupid kind of betrayal for which there is no sensible explanation, but after 40 years this fabulous band, described by the EU president Jean-Claude Juncker as “one of our most distinguished ambassadors” and “a potent symbol of our European Union”, is being closed by the EU.

It is not because of some artistic judgement by the funding authorities; it isn’t that the orchestra has had a dip in form, or that audiences have stopped coming to hear it; there is no funding crisis that makes the EUYO an intolerable luxury. It is being killed because it doesn’t fit a new policy: it isn’t a national body seeking to become more European by forging partnerships with other national bodies in other European countries in the current imperative; it is an existing pan-European organisation, and they are no longer to be funded."

The EUYO was the result of a European Parliament resolution of 1976 and until 2013 was supported as a cultural ambassador for the EU. It has players from all 28 member states and its quality is such that it has been conducted by Bernstein, Karajan, Barenboim and Rostropovich, and its music directors have even the likes of Abbado, Ashkenazy, Haitink and currently Petrenko. It has performed in all the great concert halls of the world in four continents, 43 countries and 177 cities, and its 3,000 alumni now populate the orchestras of the world”. Simon Tait, 'Taitmail'.

“Jean-Claude Junker described the European Union Youth Orchestra as ‘one of our most distinguished ambassadors...a potent symbol of our European Union.’ …

The benefits of an organisation like this - micro and macro - far outweigh the costs of running it both in Europe and the world. Closing the orchestra for reasons of re-organised funding arrangements looks like the worst act of cultural vandalism, cynicism and uncontrolled bureaucracy at a time when the EU needs to be prove it is not curtailed by such things.” Andrew Mellor, Journalist, Denmark/UK

“…the founding principles of the orchestra: of unity, of friendship, of exceptional music making, breaking down the barriers of borders within the EU are as strong as ever. The EUYO is unique. It is special to the thousands of musicians who call themselves alumni with pride. It is simply incomprehensible that this amazing organisation will cease to exist.” Andrew McCoy, British Trombone Player, Member of the EUYO

“Where else is there such a strong voice for the EU - a large community of people travelling the continent as 28 nations, working in absolute harmony together? Isn't this everything that the EU should stand for?” Emily Davis, Concertmaster EUYO, Principal First Violin, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

“Looking at Europe’s present political landscape, I strongly believe that this sort of transformation, which the EUYO offers is exactly what a stable, future-orientated EU needs for and from its people.” Magdalena Sammer, violin, EUYO


List of related press articles,-the-European-Union-Youth-Orche.aspx;art2512,740315

The European Union Youth Orchestra is in the process of collating the hundreds of messages of support sent in all formats, and in due course will publish these online for public consumption. The depth of emotion and general sentiment of shock is prevalent in these messages that have flooded in from all corners of the music world and beyond.

The EUYO is continuing its campaign to secure long-term core funding for the European Union Youth Orchestra that has served as a cultural ambassador for the EU since 1976. It needs one million euros per annum to continue to operate in its current guise, serving all 28 EU Member States’ emerging classical musicians, providing a complex and substantial array of touring and training opportunities from Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi, Moscow to Mumbai, Seoul to São Paulo and beyond.

If the EU will not support the EUYO’s core costs, and an alternative long-term financing mechanism cannot be secured before the Orchestra’s summer tour in July, the EUYO will perform its final concert in Amsterdam on 29 August, 2016.

For all press enquiries, please contact EUYO’s Development & Communications Manager:

Charlotte Hamilton, 7966 888 917