Since 2018 Ferrara Musica is the official resindecy of the European Union Youth Orchestra.

The European Union Youth Orchestra 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 former 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 almost 4000 alumni have all come through the Orchestra’s rigorous, annual audition process conducted in all 27 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 Vienna’s 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.

Recent awards include the European Cultural Brand of the Year 2020, awarded by the European Cultural Brand Award, the European Orchestra Award in Dresden from the European Culture Awards TAURUS, and a Cultural Diplomat of the Year Award at the Abu Dhabi Culture Summit. 

During 2020, the Orchestra faced the Covid crisis by innovating and expanding its activities, creating online platforms and also performing live concerts in 20 European countries. EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel commended these efforts stating: “the European Union Youth Orchestra has shown its resilience and become an outstanding example […] You have shown great agility in adapting to the circumstances”. 

The Orchestra’s home in Italy is thanks to support from the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Ferrara, and the Italian national broadcast organisation RAI. Additionally the EUYO is resident orchestra at its summer home and principal venue partner Grafenegg in Lower Austria, and partner of Campus Grafenegg. The EUYO is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission, and by the 27 Member States of the European Union.

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 David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, and its Honorary Patrons include Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, as well as the Heads of State and Government, the ministers of foreign affairs and culture of the EU member states. In recent years, the EUYO has added to its enviable tradition 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.

© Associazione Ferrara Musica/Marco Caselli Nirmal