Thursday, May 12, 2016

How you can help to save the EUYO

The music world has been shocked today by news that the European Union Youth Orchestra is facing closure, since the EU has not found a suitable new way to fund it. The orchestra should have been celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Instead, it's fighting for its life.

The short-sightedness of this decision seems remarkable even by today's crazy standards. The EUYO has been a magnificent institution, its artistic levels astronomical, its value as a training ground for fine young musicians immeasurable. I well remember that in my student days my peers on orchestral instruments regarded membership of it as the biggest peach on the tree. Above all, and just days after the excellence of youth orchestras was recognised by the RPS Awards, which presented its Large Ensemble prize to the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, to let the EUYO collapse would be much worse than cutting off nose to spite face. It would be to throw out a treasure whose effects are only positive, life-enhancing and unifying.

Here, from the EUYO website, is the background to this state of affairs, which is mired in the obtuse layers of systems we know and don't much love (and I write as a decided Remainer, incidentally). Following this, also from the website, is how you can help.

The European Union Youth Orchestra, a world renowned institution celebrating its fortieth year as a cultural ambassador for the EU, is to cease operations from September 2016 due to a lack of funding from the European Union.

  • The EUYO was founded in1976 following a resolution of the European Parliament.
  • For 38 years, between 1976 and 2013, the EUYO was supported by the EU as a Cultural Ambassador for the EU. It includes players from all 28 EU member states.
  • Since 2014 a change in the EU's cultural funding policy meant that the Orchestra was no longer funded by the EU. Funding was only available for projects under the EU's new Creative Europe programme. Representation was made at the time that this method of funding could not sustain the Orchestra, and that the proposed funding method was inappropriate. With no other option, the Orchestra applied to Creative Europe, and from 2014-15 the Orchestra received some funding under the new Programme.
  • The EUYO was informed on 15 April 2016 that its Creative Europe partnership is no longer in receipt of any funding from the EU. Since that time the Orchestra has been in regular contact with the EU to attempt to find alternative funding from the EU. However the funding routes so far suggested by the EU do not allow the Orchestra to plan any form of secure future.
  • Especially considering the high visibility of many agreed performances this summer - such as the Grafenegg European Music Campus, the Slovak EU Presidency concert, the Wrocław European City of Culture concert and the Alpbach European Forum - the Trustees of the Orchestra have come to the conclusion that it would be harmful to the long term interests of the Orchestra, and of the EU, for the summer 2016 tour to be cancelled. They have therefore decided to take responsibility for the forthcoming tour, and together with the EUYO's Residency Partners, to find the monies required to permit this year’s tour to proceed. The Summer 2016 tour is thus assured.
  • However, without EU support the Orchestra has no viable future. In the absence of EU funding it will therefore cease operations from 1 September.
  • The EUYO has supported more than 3,000 of Europe’s young and emerging classical musicians since its foundation by philanthropists Lionel and Joy Bryer and conductor Claudio Abbado in 1976. The EUYO’s alumni have all come through the Orchestra's rigorous, annual audition process conducted in all (currently 28) EU Member States, and many are now notable conductors, soloists, teachers, and instrumentalists working with major orchestras in the world. The EUYO’s Honorary Patrons include the Heads of Government of all of the EU’s Member States, and the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament. Parliament President Martin Schulz is the EUYO’s Honorary President. The Orchestra acknowledges support from all 28 EU member states.
Sir John Tusa, Trustee, Co-Chair said:
For 40 years the EUYO has been the musical expression of European unity, artistic collaboration and partnership. It is a tragedy that the European Community seems no longer to value such work as a key part of the European project.”
Ian Stoutzker, CBE - Trustee, Co-Chair and Orchestra Board Chair, said:
“I and others became Trustees in 2014 with the sole aim of helping the EUYO to fulfil its mission at the highest level. Recent critical acclaim suggests that we are on our way. Should the Orchestra be abandoned at this point by the EU, the European Union will have scored a spectacular own-goal.”
Marshall Marcus, CEO of the European Union Youth Orchestra said:
"If the EU is not able to help fund its own youth orchestra, an orchestra which is the only organisation in the world that recruits and brings together young people every year from all 28 EU member states in support of the ideals of the Union, then the Orchestra will cease to exist. A sad day for the EU".
How can you help? 
We are beginning a campaign to try to help safeguard a sustainable future of the European Union Youth Orchestra. If you would like to contribute to this campaign there are several ways to do so.
Firstly, you can write to the European Union to express your support for the EUYO and to request that Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and Honorary President of the EUYO, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport ensure adequate funding for the continuation of the Orchestra.
If you wish to include information about the EUYO and its achievements then information on the following internet pages may be of use to you:
The letter should be addressed to Mr Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. This can be an email or sent as an attachment to: 
Or by post to:
Mr Tibor Navracsics
European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
European Commission
Cabinet of Commissioner Tibor Navracsics
Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
Rue de la Loi 200, 1049 Brussels
If you write by post we would be most appreciative if you could let us know by e mailing our Development and Communications Manager, Charlotte Hamilton at
Secondly, if you wish to make a donation towards the European Union Youth Orchestra appeal fund, please also email our Development & Communications Manager at to receive details on how to go about this. 
Alternatively, cheques can be posted to: Charlotte Hamilton, EUYO, 6A Pont Street, London SW1X 9EL. Please make cheques payable to: The European Union Youth Orchestra.
We are in the process of creating a dedicated website to receive online donations and will share this with you in the coming days as soon as it is activated.
Thirdly, please post the following messages on your social media sites: 
FACEBOOK: We ask Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and Honorary President of the EUYO, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport to make available funding from the EU to ensure the continuation of one of Europe’s greatest cultural endeavours – the European Union Youth Orchestra. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the EUYO will cease operations on 1 September following a decision by the EU not to fund the Orchestra. For detailed information and ways to show your support, please visit
TWITTER: We ask @TNavracsicsEU @EU_Commission, @Europarl_EN, @EUCouncil to support #EU’s #orchestra @euyotweets. #EUYO to close in Sept. #SaveEUYO