EUYO - promoting an ideal for more than 35 years
The European Community Youth Orchestra (later to become the European Union Youth Orchestra) was founded in 1976 by the late Lionel Bryer and Joy Bryer, respectively the Chairman and Secretary General of the International Youth Foundation of Great Britain, with a view to creating an Orchestra which would represent the European ideal of a community working together to achieve peace and social understanding. At the same time it was also designed to provide an invaluable professional development experience for young orchestral musicians.

Since its inception it has received the support of the European Parliament and the European Commission with major financial support and political backing. The EUYO's Honorary President is the President of the European Parliament and its Honorary Patrons are the Heads of State and Prime Ministers of each of the EU member states, headed by the President of the European Commission. The EUYO is unique for a number of reasons, not least because it is the only orchestra in the world to have been formed through a vote in Parliament and represent every single one of the 28 EU Member States.

A rehearsal with Claudio Abbado in 1979



Landmark Moments in the History of the EU and the EUYO


1957 – The six EU founding countries sign the Treaty of Rome creating the European Economic Community (EEC).

1974 – The proposal for the creation of the Orchestra is put forward by Baroness Elles MEP to the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Youth of the European Parliament.

1976 – The Orchestra is founded on 8 March by Joy and Lionel Bryer, following a resolution adopted by the European Parliament. On the 22 April the European Commission confirms the official Patronage of the Orchestra.

1978 - Inaugural tour conducted by Founding Music Director Claudio Abbado, to Amsterdam, Bonn, Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels, Milan and Rome.

1980 – Herbert von Karajan conducts the orchestra in Salzburg with soloist Anne-Sophie Mütter.

1981 – EUYO performs under the baton of Daniel Barenboim.

1982 – Tour to Mexico.

1984 – Tour to China and Hong Kong.

1985 - Tour to Japan with conductor Leonard Bernstein and soprano Barbara Hendricks.

1986 – The Single European Act passed.

1988 – Tour to USA performing in New York, Washington D.C and Boston.

1989 – Tour to India with Zubin Mehta.

1992 – “Maastricht” Treaty established the title “EU” on 7 February. 

1991 – Tour to Russia.

1994 – Bernard Haitink appointed as the ECYO’s Music Director succeeding Claudio Abbado, and the following year, mirroring the changes in the EU, the ECYO becomes the EUYO (European Union Youth Orchestra).

1996 – South American tour to celebrate the Mercosur Treaty with conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.

1998 – EUYO performs at the World Economic Forum with Ivan Fischer

2000 – Vladimir Ashkenazy succeeds Bernard Haitink as the EUYO’s Music Director.

2004 – The Orchestra returns to Brazil to celebrate the city of São Paulo’s 450th anniversary. 

2008 – Tour to Japan, China and Korea.

2010 - EUYO performs at Shanghai Expo.

2012 – Second tour to USA including performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

2013 – EUYO performs in the last remain EU Country Malta. Co-Founder Joy Bryer appointed as the Orchestra’s President. Launch of the “Great Europeans” Award, with polish composer Witold Lutosławski as the first recipient.