Launch of the European Union Youth Orchestra's Spring Tour 2011
''By including for the first time two pre-accession countries from the Western Balkans, Croatia and Serbia namely, in its tour this year, the orchestra delivers a powerful signal, similar to the work we all do together for a larger, stronger, united Europe.'' said Commissioner Füle on 15 March at the press conference.
Mrs Bryer, Mr Scognamiglio, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear musicians,
It is my great pleasure to host this press conference today on the occasion of the start of the Spring Tour of the European Union Youth Orchestra.
The European Union Youth Orchestra is not just any orchestra. Not only does it have an outstanding international reputation as one of the world's finest orchestras, regularly rewarded at international level. Not only does it unite Europe's most talented young musicians following a very demanding selection process, long rehearsals and hard work.
But, for me, it is much more than that, it is a genuine European project touching the essence of what the EU is about: composed of over 120 young musicians from all of our 27 Member States, European Union Youth Orchestra symbolises our motto “united in diversity”. Being dynamic, young and ever involving, the European Union Youth Orchestra is a perfect symbol of the European Union.
This cultural initiative just demonstrates how people can be brought together in harmony through the universal language of music: the orchestra and its members are playing on different instruments, just as we could be speaking different idioms, and as a result making music for the pleasure of all of us.
I am sure that this pleasure is shared by the musicians themselves, not least through the reward they get from playing in such a prestigious platform. This shows also what Europe can achieve when we manage to pull together our best resources and talents.
This orchestra is indeed a very special musical project, with over 30 years of history, which provides a vital training ground for the future generation of leading orchestra musicians, by giving them both experience and confidence for their future artistic carriers. With outstanding musical directors and conductors, this goodwill ambassador of the European Union performs on an excellent level. The EU could hardly be better represented on the musical field!
This year, I am especially delighted to note that the Orchestra within this Spring Tour will also play in Belgrade and Zagreb. By including for the first time two pre-accession countries from the Western Balkans, Croatia and Serbia namely, in its tour this year, the orchestra delivers a powerful signal, similar to the work we all do together for a larger, stronger, united Europe. Just like this orchestra, enlargement has been successful in the past and can be a success in the future, making the EU not only bigger, but politically and economically stronger bringing peace, stability and prosperity for the new members. In its own way, the orchestra is contributing to our daily endeavors towards the enlargement of the European Union together with our member states and the candidate and potential candidate countries.
For both concerts, two local young musicians respectively from Croatia and Serbia will be invited to join the orchestra for the concerts in Zagreb and Belgrade. It fills me with great emotion to see how culture can serve to build bridges between countries, which share the same future within the European Union. Irrespective of our histories, we have a common future together. This tour proves it and gives both a compelling and vibrant symbol of hope for a more peaceful future.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Main Partner for the Spring Tour 2011, UniCredit Bank, which kindly accepted to complement the funding provided by the EU under its cultural programme. Even in difficult economic times, it is a message of hope that such a project can still find partners not only from the institutional side but from the private sector, through individual trusts and foundations.
I hope that this tour already projects the future: the idea of a European Union Youth Orchestra that could include, in the coming years, young Serb and Croat musicians playing side by side, along with their counterparts from 27 different nations and other potential candidate countries. The future of Europe belongs to its youth, since it is through the universal language of music and with the dedication, energy and passion of young people that cultural, political, social or economic boundaries can be overcome bringing joy and peace to others.
Have a wonderful tour!