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Concert cycles

The European Union Youth Orchestra

Conductor Paavo Järvi

Program: Maskats – The Tango, Bruckner – Symphony No 5.

The orchestra of 140 talented and dedicated young musicians from the member countries of the European Union working together under internationally renowned professors and conductors to achieve the highest possible standard.


Photo: Kai Biernert

The EUYO was the brainchild of Lionel and Joy Bryer, Chairman and Secretary General of the International Youth Foundation of Great Britain.  The proposal for the creation of the orchestra was first put forward by Baroness Elles MEP (Cons.) to the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Youth of the European Parliament in 1974.  As a result of all-party effort, a resolution tabled by Mrs Kellett-Bowman (Con) based on a report by Baroness Fisher of Rednal (Lab) 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 on 22 April 1976.  The main purpose of establishing the orchestra was to demonstrate through music the cooperation and unity of European youth, thereby setting an example as a symbol of the European ideal - a united community of nations working together for peace, harmony, social justice and human dignity.  The inaugural tour in 1978 was conducted by the Founding Music Director, Claudio Abbado, who donated much of his valuable time to conducting and touring with the young musicians and by the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Heath KG, MBE who was the orchestra's first President.  The EUYO's current Music Director is Vladimir Ashkenazy.

World famous guest conductors have worked with the orchestra including, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink KBE, Herbert von Karajan, Zubin Mehta, Mstislav Rostropovich, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Kurt Sanderling and Sir Georg Solti KBE.  Soloists have included Martha Argerich, Emanuel Ax, Teresa Berganza, Kyung Wha Chung, Barbara Hendricks, Nigel Kennedy, Christa Ludwig, Radu Lupu, Karita Mattila, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Viktoria Mullova, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Jessye Norman, Murray Perahia, Maurizio Pollini, Margaret Price and Ravi Shankar.

The EUYO has appeared in all the major cities, concert halls, and festivals of Europe.  As an ‘Ambassador of Goodwill’, the  orchestra has undertaken important foreign tours which have included China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, North and South America, Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic States.   The orchestra has won an excellent musical reputation and has been compared with the world's finest orchestras. 

The EUYO has also won a number of awards, including the Olympia Prize of the Alexander S Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the ‘Prix d'Initiative Européenne’ and the ‘European Media Prize’. 

The 140 players who make up the orchestra are selected each year from over 4,000 candidates aged between 14 and 23, throughout the fifteen EU countries. The final selection is made by Professor Lutz Köhler, Director of Studies of the EUYO, and David Strange, Head of Strings.  Members of the orchestra have to re-audition along with new applicants each year in order to keep their places.  There is a large number of new players every year, giving many young musicians the chance to play in the EUYO.

The musicians are brought together from their fifteen countries to rehearse before giving public performances.  The rehearsal and tour periods take place during school and college holidays in the summer, and where possible, at Easter and /or Christmas. Apart from the orchestra rehearsals with the conductors and soloists, the musicians also work in sections with specialist instrumental tutors.  There is also a full programme of chamber music, including concerts.

The EUYO has helped to raise funds for scholarships for young musicians and has given fundraising concerts for a number of charities.  The orchestra played an important part in the setting up of masterclasses for young Greek, Spanish and Portuguese musicians to encourage their musical talent and orchestral technique.

For the EUYO's musicians, the experience of being in the orchestra working with leading conductors, soloists and music professors is of tremendous assistance to their careers.    Most EUYO players go on to become professional musicians, and many have found jobs with Europe's leading orchestras. 

A number of highly successful chamber orchestras and ensembles have emanated from the EUYO, most notably the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Gustav Mahler Jugend-orchester.

The Patrons of the orchestra are Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission and the Prime Ministers of each of the fifteen member countries of the EU, and its President is Patrick Cox, President of the European Parliament.  The EUYO is financed by the Commission of the European Communities by means of an annual grant of scholarships (voted by the European Parliament) and it also receives annual grants from the fifteen member Governments.  The remaining budget is made up from private sector sponsorship and income from concert presenters.

Press Reactions – European Union Youth Orchestra

The triumph - for it was a triumph - really belonged to the European Youth Orchestra. It was the reckless energy of their performance, as much as their amazing technical precision and musicality, which made the evening so memorable.

The Daily Telegraph, London

Es gibt Konzerte, da wunscht man sich, die ganze Welt Hatte sie miterlebt. Was das European Union Youth Orchestra jetzt beim Rheingau Musik Festival im Kurhaus Wiesbaden bot, war phenomenal...

There are concerts one wishes the whole world had experienced. What the European Union Youth Orchestra offered at the Rheingau Music Festival was phenomenal...

OffenbachPost, Hessen

Tchaikovsky's Fourth, a performance in which [was]...playing that surmounted the music's emotional peaks and ignited its flames. The Elgar was simply superb, confident, stirring and suffused with a rich humanity

Daily Telegraph, London

EUYO: on croirait un cri de guerre. Les jeunes de L'European Union Youth Orchestra...sont plein d'ardeur bouillonnante dans leur tenue bleue etoilee.

EUYO: one will think of a war cry. The young people of the European Union Youth Orchestra...full of bubbling enthusiasm in their starry blue dresses.

'Das European Union Youth Orchestra, das aus Musikerinnen und Musikern zwischen 15 und 25 Jahren besteht spielte mit Leichtigkeit und spuerbarer Spielfreude, was der Musik noch einen Zusaetzlichen Zauber verlieh'

The EUYO, which consists of male and female musicians aged between 15 and 25, plays with an ease and noticeable joy that lent the music an additional magic.

Berner Zeitung

....It was with Rachmaninov's story of loss and nostalgia that Pletnev - together with the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy - achieved glory.

On Saturday it [Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony] was performed by the EUYO with the utmost joy.

Tages Angzeiger Zurich

Photo: OMS PHotography

Paavo Järvi

Estonian-born conductor Paavo Järvi is one of the most sought after conductors of his

generation. He studied percussion and conducting at the Tallinn School of Music and then, in 1980, moved to the USAwhere he continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute with Leonard Bernstein.

He was appointed Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in September 2001 and has recently extended his contract with the orchestra until 2006/07. Last season saw his first domestic tour with the orchestra, which included Boston Symphony Hall, WashingtonKennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and a tour of Japanis scheduled in 2003/04.

He also holds the post of Artistic Adviser to the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and has championed many works by Estonian composers including Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Lepo Sumera and Eduard Tubin. Paavo Järvi has previously held the posts of Principal Guest Conductor with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras.

Paavo Järvi is in great demand as a guest conductor and appearances include the Philharmonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, LondonPhilharmonic, Munich Pilharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Israel, St Petersburg, BBC Philharmonic (including the London Proms), Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, RAI Turin, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (with whom he conducted Fidelio last season to mark the opening of the Festival), NHK Tokyo, Vienna, London and Sydney Symphony orchestras. Future projects include debuts with Orchestre de Paris and Concertgebouw (with whom he will conduct the world premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s Symphony no.8) and return visits to Filarmonica della Scala in Milan, WDR Cologne, Hessischer Rundfunk.. He will also tour Italywith Bayerische Rundfunk. In North Americahis future engagements include Detroit, Chicago, Clevelandand Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Paavo Järvi makes it a priority to work with youth orchestras and conducts the UBS Verbier Youth Orchestra each summer, both in the Verbier Festival and on tour. He also works regularly with the Russian American Youth Orchestra in Moscow, Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Ferrara, the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miamiand the European Union Youth Orchestra.

Mr Jarvi’s discography for EMI/Virgin Classics includes Sibelius Lemminkäinen Legends and Kullervo (with Stockholm Philharmonnic, an Estonian Portrait recording of works by Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Tubin and a Stenhammar recording, a Bernstein recording with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sibelius Maiden in the Tower, Sibelius Cantatas and 2 CDs by Arvo Part with the Estonian Symphony Orchestra. With the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, he has released a number of CDs on Telarc featuring works by Berlioz, Sibelius, Tubin and Stravinsky; the next one, featuring Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, is being released during the current season.

Concert takes place:

Date, time, place


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12.08.2004  19:00
Dzintari Concert Hall

The European Union Youth Orchestra
The orchestra of 140 talented and dedicated young musicians from the member countries of the European Union working together under internationally renowned professors and conductors to achieve the highest possible standard. Program: Maskats – The Tango, Bruckner – Symphony No 5.


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