What is the European Union Youth Orchestra?

The youth orchestra's musicians are selected from across the EU member states

Published: July 19, 2021 at 3:00 am

Founded in 1976, the EUYO has since become a key cultural ambassador for the European Union.


Currently based in London, the orchestra’s players are selected from each of the EU’s member countries and often go on to careers in the world’s most prominent orchestras. Past alumni have moved on to the likes of the London and Boston Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras.

Notable collaborators over the last 42 years include Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Sir Colin Davis and Daniel Barenboim. The orchestra’s current Chief Conductor is Vasily Petrenko, while its Conductor Laureate is Bernard Haitink.

Despite all of this success and worldwide acclaim – the orchestra has performed the world over – the future looked very uncertain in 2016 when it was announced that funding had dried up and the European Union Youth Orchestra would have to cease making music. After a short and high profile campaign by musicians and allies across Europe, the EU pledged to find the required funding and came up with a plan to maintain its budget.


Is the UK allowed to be in the European Union Youth Orchestra?

After the UK left the European Union in 2019, the EUYO moved operations to Italy and musicians from the UK were no longer be eligible to take part in the programme.


Michael BeekReviews Editor, BBC Music Magazine

Michael is the Reviews Editor of BBC Music Magazine. He was previously a freelance film music journalist and spent 15 years at St George's Bristol. Michael specialises in film and television music and was the Editor of MusicfromtheMovies.com. He has written for the BBC Proms, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, Hollywood in Vienna and Silva Screen Records.

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