History of ESO

“Very good to get to know each other and play & create an artistic matter out of a European friendship that would never have been possible without the ESO”
~ anonymous participant of ESO’17


During the 2017 edition of the European Student Orchestra Festival (ESOF’17), a new concept was launched: the European Student Orchestra. Out of the nine present student ensembles, a new orchestra was created. This new orchestra has a real European feel and lets people, who never met before, play together to rehearse and perform a symphony.

The participating musicians were very enthusiastic and therefore, during ESOF in Strasbourg in June 2018, the European Student Orchestra was formed again out of the eight participating orchestra’s.

Thanks to the success of these experiments, a new initiative was born: The European Student Orchestra, or ESO in short, was launched as a standalone project.

The first real project of ESO took place in summer 2019. After an intensive week of rehearsing in Brussels, Belgium, the orchestra played a fantastic concert in Bozar, best known for hosting the concerts of the Queen Elisabeth competition.

In the summer of 2020 the first real concert-tour of ESO will take place. After rehearsing in Belgium for a week, the orchestra will travel to Belgium’s neighbouring countries and perform four to six concerts. 

What is ESO all about?

What happens if you put young people together who do not speak the same language, but are connected with each other via music? During the festival editions for student orchestras ESOF ‘17 and ESOF ‘18 in Leuven and Strasbourg, this concept of a united European Student Orchestra was established.

The members of the ESO experienced their participation as very amusing, educational and all wished for a sequel. We can finally announce the continuation of these ESO projects: the official European Student Orchestra is now launched.

During summer, different members from student orchestras from all over Europe will gather together to form a new ESO and experience the pleasure of playing together. After an intensive week of rehearsing, the orchestra will show the result of the hard practice in a concert-tour, going from city to city.

In the summer of 2019, a pre-tour project was organised, but the first real concert tour will take place in the summer of 2020!