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Onderstaand de brief die Maarten Brandt heeft verzonden naar de europolitici en uiteraard het bedreigde orkest:

Arnhem, May 15th 2016,

Dear Mr. Navracsics,

The news that one of the best orchestra’s in the world, the famous European Youth Community Orchestra, will have to end its activities from September onwards due to the fact that the European Union will stop their financial support, came to me as ‘lightning-bolt out of the blue’, as a terrible surprise and, not to say, a traumatic shock. So, my first reaction was one of complete disbelief. Why? Because this decision is in the highest extend contrary to the essence of European thought. That is to say: to bridge the gap between the nations and to bring people of different cultures together. Classical music is the embodiment in sound of an intense dialogue. And this dialogue is badly and more needed than ever before in this turbulent – and often violent – time, in which populistic trends and many conflicts threaten the survival of our hard-won democratic culture. The masterpieces of the symphonic literature of the past and today speak the vocabulary and language of democracy and freedom. And, furthermore, they express in a unique way beyond words the fundamental questions of our existence on this planet.

The late German composer, Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012) once stated the importance of classical music. He considers this art in particular as a means to enhance the flexibility of our consciousness in terms of an increasing social awareness in the widest sense of this notion. In other words, classical music is not a luxury but an absolute and pure necessity. She offers us the tools by which we are enabled to mobilize our imagination and creativity. And, in order to find appropriate solutions for the vital problems of our existence, this creativity is now of utmost importance.

Within this context the substantial role and contribution of the European Youth Community Orchestra comes into view, an orchestra in which the best and most gifted musicians of 28 different countries take part. Not only by performing the great heritage of symphonic culture on the highest possible level under the baton of world’s top conductors and in cooperation with the best instrumental and vocal soloists, but also by meeting each other and exchanging their different political, religious and social opinions, which in its turn will lead to better understanding of the already mentioned problems our society has to face. It is this understanding of a new generation who, hopefully, will sooner or later bring those solutions, within reach – solutions being so essential in order to be able to improve our world and make this place a better and more human one.

Apart from these considerations, the European Youth Community Orchestra is in another sense a real community as well. Because, first en foremost it is the source par excellence of top-musicians from which international orchestras, like for instance the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic do recruit their musicians. The damage of the disappearance of the European Youth Community Orchestra will by far not be restricted to the musicians of this famous ensemble itself, but will do fundamental and irreparable damage to the infrastructure of the orchestral landscape in Europe and the rest of the world.

Perhaps you’ll remember the reaction of Sir Winston Churchill when he was asked about his opinion on the subject of stopping the support of the arts. His answer was crystal-clear: “Where did we fight for?”

I do trust in your wisdom and am fully convinced that the arguments I have tried to express in my letter, in order to maintain the financial support of the European Youth Community Orchestra, will lead to a thorough review of your decision.

With best wishes and regards,

Yours sincerely,

Maarten Brandt
Former teacher orchestral repertoire and dramaturgy of the conductors department of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and former artistic advisor of the Limburg Symfonie Orkest in Maastricht

Vondellaan 57
6824 NB Arnhem
The Netherlands
0031 6 54722884
brandt1@chello.nl