European Union Youth Orchestra

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European Union Youth Orchestra
Founded 1976
Location London
Principal conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy

The European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) is an orchestra for young people in the European Union. The EUYO is funded with support from the European Union's Culture Programme and from the 28 member governments of the European Union under the auspices of the International Youth Foundation, along with donations from charitable foundations and corporate sponsors. It brings together young musicians from the EU and professional instrumental coaches to form an orchestra composed of players from all 28 EU member states.[1][2][3]


The European Community Youth Orchestra (later to become the European Union Youth Orchestra) was founded in 1976 by Lionel Bryer and Joy Bryer, Chairman and Secretary General of the International Youth Foundation of Great Britain, with a view to creating an Orchestra which would represent the European ideal of a community working together to achieve peace and social understanding. At the same time it was also designed to provide a professional development experience for young orchestral musicians. The proposal for the creation of the Orchestra was first put to the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Youth of the European Parliament in 1974. As a result of an all-party effort, a resolution was adopted by the European Parliament by an overwhelming majority on 8 March 1976 during its plenary session. The European Commission officially confirmed the Patronage of the Orchestra in April 1976. The EUYO's Honorary President is the President of the European Parliament and its Honorary Patrons the Prime Ministers of each of the EU member states, headed by the President of the European Commission.

EUYO operates under the auspices of the International Youth Foundation, an educational charity registered under English law with headquarters in London.[4]


The Orchestra at Washington's Kennedy Center, April 2012.

The Orchestra is made up of up to 140 players, representing all 28 member countries of the European Union. The players are selected each year from over 4,000 candidates aged between 14 and 24, who take part in auditions throughout the EU. Incumbent members of the Orchestra are required to re-audition along with new applicants each year in order to keep their places.

Once the members have been selected for the year, they are invited to rehearse and perform major orchestral works by composers including Mahler, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Beethoven, and Strauss, as well as contemporary repertoire which has included works by Ligeti (who joined the Orchestra as composer in residence on tour), John Adams, Erkki-Sven Tuur, and Arturs Maskats, in venues all over the world.

The experience that the EUYO provides is intended to be of social and cultural value to its members, whilst also as training for a future career in the professional music world.

Music Directors[edit]

Concerts and tours[edit]

Since the EUYO’s inaugural tour, which took the players to Amsterdam, Bonn, Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels, Milan and Rome, the EUYO has undertaken at least two tours each year as well as a number of other engagements. The Orchestra regularly plays alongside professional symphony orchestras in music festivals including the Salzburg Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms and the Concertgebouw's Robeco Summer Concert Series. In addition to performing in major cities, concert halls and festivals in Europe, the EUYO’s concert schedule has taken them to China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, North and South America, Russia, Kazakhstan and Korea as Ambassadors of Goodwill.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Breckenfield, Nick. "European Union Youth Orchestra". Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  2. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (12 August 1999). "Footlights". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  3. ^ "UPS announces sponsorship of EU Youth Orchestra in time for the Proms! 2001 Press Release". Archived from the original on 2008-01-05. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  4. ^ THE INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FOUNDATION, Registered Charity no. 281420 at the Charity Commission

External links[edit]