Breaking: European Union kills its youth orchestra

Breaking: European Union kills its youth orchestra


norman lebrecht

May 12, 2016

press statement:

The European Union Youth Orchestra, now in its 40th anniversary year, is to cease operations from 1 September, 2016 due to the lack of funding from the European Union.

For 38 years, between 1976 and 2013, the EUYO was supported by the EU as a Cultural Ambassador for the EU.

Since 2014 a change in the EU’s cultural funding policy meant that the Orchestra was no longer funded by the EU, as funding was no longer given to any cultural organisation, but 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 funding under the new Programme.

The EUYO was however informed three weeks ago that its Creative Europe partnership is no longer to be 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.

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, the Alpbach European Forum opening concert and the launch of a major 40th anniversary 3 year tour to all the 28 Capital cities of the EU’S member states – 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 therefore assured. Details of this tour are attached. Thereafter, without funding from the EU, the EUYO has no alternative but to cease operations.



UPDATE and reactions here.


  • Peter says:

    That can not allowed to be.

    European integration

    Those three, exemplary combined in such orchestra.
    No funding?
    Shameful, the barbarians are not only inside the gates, they are the rulers.

  • David McNally says:

    This is scandalous. It’s only a tiny part of the European budget and such great value for money which is more than can be said of many of the projects Brussels supports. How do we get this decision reversed.

  • Barney Thompson says:

    Norman, why not start a petition? I imagine every musician in Europe would sign it.

    • Denis says:

      You are imagine wrongly.
      I wouldn’t sign it.
      Waste of money.
      EU has plenty of troubles needing attention.
      Youth Orchestras are pointless when things aren’t going well for so many.

      • Barney says:

        Because the EUYO includes a lot of young musicians who don’t have any money but who benefit from the experience enormously. The funding for this orchestra is a drop in the well compared to the money governments waste on all sorts of other things; as an international cultural organisation, the EUYO is also a cultural ambassador and a unifying force, so it gives a return on the investment.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Typically demonstrating why the EU strongly needs reform. It seems to have got into the hands of underdeveloped bureaucrats who have no idea about the European idea. Where are the European millionairs?

  • Leentje says:

    You only know what you miss when it’s gone … apparently

  • Marko Kassenaar says:

    Hey, the ever rising salaries from the “Parliament Members” [insert satirical laughter here] have to come from somewhere!

  • Marko Kassenaar says:

    With your permission, Mr. Lebrecht:

  • Sebastian says:

    I played one project with the orchestra and this was enough. My negative opinion about that orchestra doesn’t come from the musical quality – it’s OK. For me it’s no surprise that the orchestra is not financeable: The management and organization, on top Marshall Marcus, is so incapable and not worthy for an EU-wide youth orchestra. Flights are booked in the last moment, so they are the most expensive though tour dates are fixed months before. Some members of the management treat you in the most unfriendly and arrogant way, don’t tell you what will happen next (sometimes I felt like being in the military service). And of course Mr. Marcus always stays in better hotels than the rest of the orchestra. He presented himself as the big boss with great speeches – quite ugly. Maybe some Germans have to fix this inefficiency of our funds.

    • Henrich EUYO says:

      Interesting to hear that. But back in my times this was one incredible organization (still EUYO). Treated us with respect and office helped me solve my request without hesitation. It was flawless experience.

  • Robert says:

    Plenty of youth Orchestras in Europe.
    Stop freaking out as if Music has been killed.
    The EUYO is going to be missed by whom, exactly?
    The young ‘artists’ who mostly love traveling for free and hooking up in the hotels after a ‘successful’ concert?
    What is their service really?
    Replacing Classic FM by playing the top 10 warhorses which EVERY orchestra plays all the time anyway?
    What’s impressive? Young people can play Scheherezade and not mess it up?!
    When your existence is meaningless do not be surpised if you are no more.
    EUYO simply is not needed. Go to School, practice, win a job. No need for this pre-professional nonsense.

    • Henri ECYO says:

      I feel sorry that some of you feel this way. You must be very empty human beings or hurt by some tough events. I will never forget my experience in ECYO. It was border less experience meeting all those teachers, conductors, and young musicians in my age. IT CHANGED MY LIFE and I build my carrier on this experience. I wish that there would be more such places for young people. At the end, you have to earn to be part of this youth orchestras. People who believe that this is not necessary are bitter and lost frustrated empty human beings. I wish EUYO quick recovery.

  • Marko Kassenaar says:

    Why the venom, Mr. Robert? The EUYO is just as much a valuable asset in the development of young talent as any professional field with its organizations and trainees. You don’t blame the young musicians for gaining experience and having fun at it at the same time, do you? And what’s the harm in giving people a good time, from which they can benefit for the rest of their lives? If we’re talking ‘superfluous’ as an argument for existence or not, surely the cultural field isn’t the first one to hit hard, nowadays. And, with all due respect, working with Abbado, Haitink, Ashkenazy and the like…”pre-professional nonsense”? “Puhlease!”

    • Robert says:

      It sounds great!
      So great in fact, maybe the EUYO members should pay to gain this great experience?
      Why should it be payed for by anyone else?
      For something so obviously great and benefiting the members of the Orchestra,
      it only makes sense to charge, no?

      • Antonija says:

        Some people like me could never have the opportunity to play in such a orchestra and get so much experience if we had to pay for the trips and for aeverything else because I could never afford it.
        Im my country we dont have an orchestral tradition so if I had to pay for it i would never know how is to play in professional orchestra and hear about other peoples experiences in professional orchestras
        And I’m sorry. but I think you’re generalizing when u say that everyone that goes to EUYO just go there to have free trips, drink and fuck. Of Course there are people like that but they are only exceptions.

  • Hmm, what is the average salary of the bureaucrat that is working for the communist “EU”? 10k/month?
    What is the number of bureaucrats working in EU? 10 000?
    That is 10k * 10 000 = 100 million EU / months.
    Well we can do great things with this money 🙂