Biography

The European Union Youth Orchestra 

Bringing together the most talented young musicians from all EU member states in an orchestra united by a shared sense of European heritage, innovation, and the constant pursuit of excellence

The European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) is one of the world's pre-eminent symphony orchestras. Described by the UK Guardian as having “gripping, exhilaratingly good orchestral playing, surging with energy, laser-sharp focus and collective daring... [with] a technical prowess that is downright terrifying”, and by EU commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as “the best possible ambassador for the European Union” it has provided an exceptional bridge between music colleges and the professional music world for generations of Europe's finest musicians since its foundation in 1976.

The Orchestra has worked with many of the world’s greatest musicians including Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Mstislav Rostropovich and particularly its three Music Directors and current Chief Conductor: Founding Music Director Claudio Abbado, former Music Director Vladimir Ashkenazy, former Music Director and current Conductor Laureate Bernard Haitink, and Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko.

The EUYO’s 3,000 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 the major orchestras of Europe and throughout the world. A truly global brand, the EUYO has performed in most of the world’s major concert halls and festivals, including the BBC Proms at London's Royal Albert Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Musikverein. From Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi, Moscow to Mumbai, Seoul to São Paulo, the Orchestra has appeared in many hundreds of venues across five Continents.

The Orchestra recently established a new headquarters, legal seat and Italian residencies in Italy in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Ferrara, and RAI, the Italian national broadcast organisation. Additionally the EUYO is resident orchestra at its summer home and principal venue partner Grafenegg in Lower Austria, and partner of Campus Grafenegg.

During 2018 the Orchestra has received two awards - the European Orchestra Award in Dresden from the European Culture Awards TAURUS 2018, and a Cultural Diplomat of the Year Award at the Abu Dhabi Culture Summit. In celebration of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, the current season includes performances in fourteen countries throughout Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia, with residencies in Bolzano, Ferrara, Grafenegg, Dubai and Shanghai. 

Founded by Joy and Lionel Bryer in 1976, the EUYO has been a Cultural Ambassador for the European Union for more than forty years. The EUYO’s Honorary President is Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, and its Honorary Patrons include the Heads of Government of the EU’s Member States and the President of the European Commission. In recent years the EUYO has added to its enviable tradition with a series of innovative learning and performance programmes pioneered in its Creative Europe Towards 2020 project, helping to train its members with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of 21st century society and audiences.