We ask some of our alumni to remember what it was like to play with the EUYO (or its forerunner, the European Community Youth Orchestra). Below we hear from Emily Beynon - click on the names in the left hand column to read more profiles.
Emily Beynon (UK) was a member of the EUYO from 1988 until 1992 and is currently the Principal Flautist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam. She is equally at home playing in orchestras, chamber ensembles or as a soloist and has worked with a number of composers on works written especially for her.
© Eric Richmond
When you were first selected for the orchestra, what were your initial thoughts about joining the other European musicians and playing under some of the world’s most celebrated conductors?
I was totally shocked and somewhat terrified to be honest! But it was such an exciting opportunity to work with these top musicians and celebrated conductors. Gurrelieder with Abbado - what a way to begin my time with ECYO (as it was then!) - totally unforgettable!!
On the 1989 Summer Tour, you played in the Concertgebouw under Maestro Haitink. Did you ever imagine that you’d return to that venue as the Principal Flautist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra?
No - not in a million years!! I remember sitting next to a Dutch player in the bus on the way back to the hotel and having the hardest time learning how to pronounce Concertgebouw. The concert was actually on my birthday, so an amazing bonus that day was having Happy Birthday played by the entire orchestra at the rehearsal... conducted by Haitink himself! I will never forget the amazingly long applause and ovation Haitink received when he came down those stairs (I think it was the first time that he'd returned to the hall since leaving the Concertgebouw orchestra). Since then, I've been privileged to work with him many, many times and the man is a magician.
Throughout your career you have lived and worked in a variety of countries. Do you feel the EUYO helped to prepare you for life as an international musician?
Very much so!
You’ve had a number of pieces written especially for you by some of today’s most renowned composers. When performing these works do you approach them in a different way to an established piece of flute repertoire?
I always try and 'get inside the head' of the composer whether it be Mozart, Bach, Beamish or Woolrich. What is a such huge advantage with playing music by living composers is that you can actually speak to them and ask questions!
Finally, what were your most memorable moments of your time spent with the EUYO?
Oh, there are simply too many to name - I just felt so lucky and privileged to have spent 4 years in this GREAT orchestra. The people, the music, the conductors & soloists and the travel - very, VERY happy times!!