The European Union Baroque Orchestra (= EUBO) is unique: every year a completely new orchestra is chosen from the most talented young students from all over Europe who are setting out on professional careers as baroque orchestral musicians. Selected by audition, the twenty-five successful players are members of the orchestra for six months, commencing with training and rehearsals in preparation for a wide-ranging international tour of concerts in collaboration with the world's finest directors. In this short time each year the orchestra attains an amazingly high standard, equalling that of the fully professional period instrument orchestras to which the players aspire. The orchestra then disperses and the process starts all over again.
Apart from a handful of exceptions, individual conservatoires throughout Europe have neither enough baroque music students to make up an orchestra, nor enough suitable directors or teachers. EUBO's training facilities offer an excellent opportunity to young players, without discrimination against language, sex, geography or EU nationality, to bridge the gap between conservatoire study and professional orchestral life. EUBO provides a large number of musicians with this vital link at a critical career point. The success of EUBO can be measured by the steadily increasing number of former EUBO students who are now regular members of Europe's leading Baroque orchestras, such as Les Arts Florissants, The English Concert, Musica Antiqua Köln, The King's Consort, Concerto Copenhagen, Brandenburg Consort, Academy of Ancient Music and Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.
The European Union Baroque Orchestra was created as the major initiative of European Music Year in 1985 and has operated on an annual basis ever since with financial assistance for the training programme from the European Commission and significant sponsorship for the past ten years from Matsushita Electric Europe (Headquarters) Ltd. towards the tour costs. Matsushita Electric Europe (formerly Panasonic Europe) has agreed to continue its support of the Orchestra on a non-exclusive basis until the end of March 2001, giving other companies the opportunity to become partners in this unique venture.