Askonas Holt has called upon the European Commission “to restore the funding which supports the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO)” in a letter to Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and Mr Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
Praising the work of the EUYO, Chief Executive Donagh Collins says, “The EUYO represents all that is great about the European Union. It is an orchestra that unites musicians and cultures from across the EU, and which brings together all of the EU member states in a meaningful and tangible way. Beyond that, the EUYO also represents teamwork, leadership, mutual understanding and respect: the orchestra, as a leading youth institution, represents the pursuit of excellence in performance, and the EUYO has a long and proud history of gracing the great concert halls of Europe.
“I call upon you to restore the funding which supports the EUYO. The very existence of the orchestra is in serious jeopardy and, unless the recent decision is reversed, it will cease to exist in September – just as it celebrates its fortieth birthday. As the custodians of culture and harmony in Europe, the EU must not treat one of its outstanding ambassadors in this way, especially at a time when the very notion of a united Europe is facing such strong and sustained challenges.”
The letter – which comes as the EUYO issue their latest press release
featuring the many messages of support the orchestra has received since the announcement
earlier this month – includes statements from Bernard Haitink
, current Conductor Laureate and former Music Director of the EUYO, and Sir Simon Rattle
Bernard Haitink says: “For 40 years the European Union Youth Orchestra has been the very definition of excellence and commitment, consistently proving the value of bringing together young people from diverse European cultures. At a moment of such challenge for Europe, it is simply unthinkable that this beacon could be destroyed by lack of support and nurturing from the EU. Simply unthinkable.”
Sir Simon Rattle, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Music Director designate of the London Symphony Orchestra says: “On Monday and Tuesday of next week there is a meeting in Brussels of the EU’s Ministers of Culture and Education. During the last two weeks the worlds of music and education have spoken with one global voice about the critical importance of the EU and its 28 countries finding a funding solution to allow the European Union Youth Orchestra to continue. And we want that meeting to be aware: everyone will be watching to see what the meeting decides.”
Find out more about supporting the EUYO’s campaign here