Well done - and well deserved Mrs Bryer OBE!!!

17/06/17 - Mrs Joy Bryer, President and Co-Founder of The European Union Youth Orchestra, receives an OBE in recognition of more than 50 years of dedicated and passionate service to arts, culture, youth, education and international relations

"Wonderful and richly deserved recognition for a visionary pioneer of musical cooperation in Europe." 

Sir John Tusa and Ian Stoutzker CBE, Co-Chairmen IYF Trustees

Mrs Joy Bryer, Co-Founder, President and the most significant motivational force behind the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) has been awarded an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List in recognition of over 50 years of services to arts, culture, youth, education and international relations. 

Joy Bryer and her husband Lionel founded the International Youth Foundation of Great Britain (IYF), with Sir Edward Heath KG, as its first President, in 1969. The IYF was the beginning of the couples’ vision: an educational charity devoted to promoting international cooperation and understanding amongst the world’s young people, particularly in the performing arts. In the years to follow, Joy and Lionel pioneered the “International Festival of Youth Orchestras and Performing Arts” held in Switzerland, which in 1973, expanded to Aberdeen and to London; the “Festival Youth Orchestra” led by conductors including Claudio Abbado and Carlo Maria Giulini.  Shortly afterwards Great Britain joined the European Community and Joy and Lionel Bryer founded the “European Community Youth Orchestra” (EUYO).  For over 40 years, Joy has been selflessly committed to promoting the EUYO, which provides invaluable support to thousands of young musicians, whilst also representing the European Union’s strongest ideal: a community working together to achieve peace and social understanding.

Joy Bryer’s work extends beyond the EUYO and she is recognised all over Europe, having influenced the careers of many thousands of musicians, including Francis Cummings (violinist), Colin Currie (percussionist), Gautier Capuçon (cellist), Renaud Capuçon (violinist), Leonidas Kavakos (violinist) Paul Meyer (clarinettist), Paul Watkins (cellist), Tanja Tetzlaff (cellist), to name but a few.  

She received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government in 1996, the Officer de l’Ordre Grand-Ducal de la Couronne de Chêne from the Luxembourgish Government in 1997, a medal of honour from President Gil Robles from the European Parliament in 1998 and the Comandante della Repubblica Italiana in 2004. She has been interviewed around the world on radio and television, constantly delivering an impassioned message about the importance of access to culture for all as a fundamental human right, and for the need for continued investment from governments and institutions in Europe’s youth.

The strength of Joy’s vision and energy from the early years which she shared with her husband Lionel has undoubtedly led to an increase in cultural opportunities for many thousands of young Europeans. She has given over 50 years of inspiration, drive and energy to the arts. Without this, the EUYO and many other musical bodies would not exist today.

Our congratulations to Mrs Bryer: we cannot think of no more deserving a candidate for Royal honour.


All press requests should be addressed to Rebecca Humphrey rebecca@euyo.eu +44 20 3370 5462