European Union Youth Orchestra under threat

24 May 2016

The Berliner Philharmoniker oppose the impending disbanding of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO).

The imminent disbanding of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) from 1 September 2016 due to lack of funding from the EU would symbolically be a cultural and political disaster second to none and a terrible indictment against a background of increasing nationalistic and anti-EU tendencies.

As a result, we call on the political leaders and representatives of the European Union to do everything possible to ensure the survival of this artistically and politically irreplaceable institution.

Since its inception in 1976, the EUYO has been one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and brings together the most talented young musicians from all 28 EU member states to create a unique orchestra. In the 40 years of its existence, more than 3,000 young musicians from all EU member states have performed in the EUYO.

Through working together with world-renowned conductors and soloists, including our former chief conductors Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan, the orchestra has acquired an outstanding reputation over the years in terms of musical education, and is a unique reservoir of young talent for all the world’s leading orchestras. For example, no less than nine colleagues of our orchestra are former members of the EUYO.

The impressive music educational aspect is nevertheless secondary to the symbolism of this unique EU cultural institution, where the idea of a peaceful and united Europe is lived out and made tangible to the public.

The work in this collective of 140 members provides a perfect example of how different nationalities and languages can be purposefully united towards a joint solution despite differing viewpoints and perceptions. 

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

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European Union Youth Orchestra
(Photo: Copyright: Peter Adamik)