The need for support
The start and the first projects of the WBYO demanded an enormous amount of time and energy from the initiators and organizers, because in addition to the complex organization of such a transnational project in this not exactly easy region, it was always necessary to start looking for financing from scratch - a time-consuming and sometimes nerve-wracking undertaking that the main actors could not keep up with in the long run.
At the same time, the enormous potential of this project was seen in the context of efforts to further integrate the Western Balkan countries* into the European Union. Therefore, in the summer of 2022, the organizers of the WBYO, together with some partners in the Western Balkans and in Germany, applied for funding under the Creative Europe Program of the EU.
The EU grant
To the great delight of all those involved, the commitment for this project WBYO Accelerando, the name standing for the aim of advancing the development of the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra, came in early 2023. Over a period of 4 years, from 2023 to 2026, the orchestra and its 10 partners will receive a grant of almost 1 million euros. This covers 70% of the costs for 8 major music projects with a total of 37 concerts, 4 composition competitions or commissions and a coaching program for cultural journalists in the Western Balkans. Raising the remaining 30% equity remains a challenge for the WBYO. In order to provide the necessary support and win sponsors, the ProWBYO support association was founded in Germany in spring 2023.
WBYO Accelerando goals
Summary of the objectives from the project application:
"The WBYO Accelerando mission is to make of the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra (WBYO) a permanent body for coaching young musicians in the Western Balkans at professional levels and fostering ongoing cross-border and interethnic cooperation.
The WBYO, initiated in 2019, is a transnational platform for young professional musicians of the 6 Non-EU Western Balkans countries* (WB6). Its purpose is musical capacity building, audience development and reconciliation in the WB region. Due to Covid, it was only in October 2021 that the orchestra could have its pilot working phase and first limited concert tour – which became a resounding success! The WB-YMusiCA will now seek to develop the WBYO’s organizational structures, financing & sponsoring processes, public recognition, as well as a certain operational routine – in order to guarantee sustainability, financial viability and continued impact.
The youth will work across national, ethnic, religious, and cultural barriers to form an orchestra that will play anything from classical and avantgarde to opera, pop and rock. During the project’s 4 years, 8 residencies will be held in various WB6 and EU locations, with masterclasses and intensive orchestra training under the guidance of eminent EU lecturers, followed each time by a concert tour, yielding a total of 37 concerts in the WB6, plus some in the EU. To facilitate this process, the lead partner ThinkYoung (administrative) and Artium Eudora (artistic) will cooperate with 7 musical associations and festival organizers in the WB6 and the EU. This will reach a live audience of at least 20.000, with many more hearing about the WBYO via an extensive media programme.
The whole project will be accompanied by a coaching process for young cultural journalists, offered by the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle – a crucial measure for fostering interest in such cultural offers and developing audiences."