The Western Balkans Youth Orchestra (WBYO), supported by the EU and the Embassy of the Czech Republic, will start its 2022 tour of the region in Pristina tonight with a concert at the Bogdani Polis hall.
Founded in 2019 as a result of the work done through the annual European Summer Music Academies held in Kosovo since 2012, the WBYO consists of 30 young musicians from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, and several guests from the EU.
“The idea and the mission behind the Academies and the WBYO are to bring people from the Western Balkans and the EU closer together through music and to contribute to the building of good neighbourly relations,”
The benefits of taking part in the Music Academy and in the work of the Youth Orchestra for the young musicians are multi-layered. They acquire professional skills, and learn discipline, but more importantly by studying, playing, and travelling together they widen their horizons and develop a better understanding of the EU and the region they come from”,said Pierre Weber, the Orchestra Manager.
The launch of the 2022 tour was preceded by a seven-day-long Academy and rehearsals held in Pristina. After Pristina, from 22 to 30 July, they will tour Skopje, Novi Sad, Mostar, and Kotor. Following the Western Balkans tour, they will travel to the EU.
Apart from providing support to the first European Summer Music Academy back in 2012, the European Union in Kosovo is now supporting the WBYO tour for the third year in a row.
“Engaging young people from the Western Balkans and the EU in initiatives that foster cooperation and create lasting links between them is an ongoing effort of the European Union. Western Balkans Youth Orchestra is one such initiative, and we are glad to support it, especially after seeing how successful they are,” said the EU Ambassador in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog.
While in Pristina, WYBO musicians also met with the Young European Ambassadors from Kosovo, who are part of a 120-large network of young ambassadors in the Western Balkans, an initiative supported by the European Commission.
The Orchestra, led by its Artistic Director and the initiator of the WBYO, Albanian-born German Conductor and Pianist, Desar Sulejmani, is primarily financed by the Aachen/Land Rotary Club from Germany. Its 2022 tour also enjoys the support of the EU Delegation in North Macedonia, the EU Directorate for Enlargement, foreign ministries of Germany and Luxembourg, Engagement Global, and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Serbia.
This year, the Orchestra had its first Western Balkans performance in Novi Sad, 2022 European Cultural Capital, on 9 May, Europe Day. In August, the young musicians will perform in prestigious festivals in Germany – Berlin, Kassel, Königswinter, Aachen & Essen – further advancing their standing.
For more information about the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra, please see the following link.