Dear Mr Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport It is with heavy and incredulous heart that I write to you requesting that you reconsider the actions taken against the EUYO forcing them to be wiped out as of September the 1st of this year. The frustration I feel is motivated variously - not only to fight for such a powerfully vibrant symphony orchestra but furthermore to protect what must be one of the most perfectly powerful emblems of our Union.
My first experience of this orchestra was hearing them at the BBC Proms in 1995 as a student of the Royal Academy of Music. I was stunned by the incredible expressive force of this orchestra, its epic fusing of the best young orchestral players from across Europe, as they blazed their way through Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps”. The orchestra’s energy and positivity of spirit gripped me, as well as its obvious awareness of the unique ambassadorial role, the pride of the endeavour clear for all to see and hear. A year later I would be lucky enough to be in the orchestra myself, the first of two years I spent with them in the timpani and percussion section. I would play Principal Timpani for none other than Bernard Haitink in masterworks by Anton Bruckner, and Dmitri Shostakovich. As someone who has gone on to have many fine and uplifting concerts as a soloist, I can tell you that the intensity of playing the latter’s 4th Symphony with this Dutch Maestro in Moscow, with nearly two minutes of heart-breaking silence at the end of the emotional finale, has yet to be matched in my experience.
Away from my own perspective as an alumni, I urge you to consider extremely carefully what you do by dismantling something so valuable and so richly positive to our culture. The European classical music tradition is rightly regarded as one of the finest of all artistic achievements and it is therefore only right to have a youth orchestra, with musicians from each member state, at the top of their games and at the start of their careers, all pulling together to celebrate an art form that every European can feel so immensely proud of. I would further observe that the funding required to maintain this unique flagship is small change in the face of destroying something so core to the beliefs that I must trust, with the position that you are in, you adhere to.
I openly and formally advise you to intervene at this stage to save the European Union Youth Orchestra, and by so doing, keeping an institution alive that represents harmony and idealism. Principals upheld not only in the music that they play, but also in what they stand for by playing it.