“Harmony Beyond Borders” – Stories from the Erasmus Orchestra
At the heart of the Erasmus+ Programme, where diverse cultures converge through a different set of learning opportunities, a “symphony of unity” is resonating through the stories of Erasmus alumni who have so far joined the Erasmus Orchestra.
United through music-making
Established in 2017 by the Italian National Agency INDIRE, the Erasmus Orchestra was born to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ Programme. Through the initiative, students from European Conservatories and Music Institutes who are enrolled in or have concluded an Erasmus+ mobility experience are selected within their institution. They then join the orchestra and participate in a wide range of ad-hoc music events.
Musicians come from different EU countries and non-EU partner countries participating in the Erasmus+ Programme. When possible, musicians rehearse online before meeting physically. They then travel to another EU country where the event takes place and have two/three days to rehearse together and build up their performance. This can be challenging but still a possible opportunity thanks to Erasmus+!
Celebrating an Erasmus founder
On January 31, the Erasmus Orchestra was invited to perform during the official commemoration event for former President of the European Commission Jacques Delors, who passed away on December 27. This event, attended by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Heads of State, High Representatives and Delors’ family, paied homage to Delors' visionary ideas.
Among his many contributions, Delors advocated for the creation of the Erasmus Programme. He envisioned a "Europe of free intellectual exchange" driven by youth's openness to the world and the quest for knowledge.
On this occasion, we met with the orchestra members selected for this event to hear their stories and see how Erasmus+ and the EU have enriched their lives and career path. We also asked them to share their thoughts about the upcoming European elections.
The story of Giordano
Giordano is an Italian conductor from Rome, who graduated from Conservatorio di Musica “A. CASELLA” DI L’AQUILA (Italy), participated in an Erasmus+ mobility in Berlin and is currently enrolled in an Erasmus+ traineeship programme as a conductor in Vienna.
I applied for the Erasmus Orchestra by sending a video through my conservatory who invited us to participate in this initiative and I was lucky to be selected. Leading the Erasmus Orchestra means sharing a common path with other musicians and work together with great artists on something we all believe in. This experience has improved my skills; every time you play in a different orchestra you refine your current qualities and acquire new ones.
I am proud of being European. I see Europe a bit like an orchestra. Many different people gather together to learn and play the same music in the most harmonious way and this is a challenging goal, which is not impossible. I will vote for the European Elections in June. It is fundamental to take part in a democratic process. This is the only way to contrast nationalist currents.
The story of Roberta
Roberta Michelini is from Italy, plays the viola and is currently taking part in an Erasmus+ mobility at the Conservatoire Royal de Liege.
It is very important as a musician to travel and see the world, meet other people and learn new languages. The European Union has played a key role in my career through the Erasmus+ Programme. I consider myself as one of the least privileged students and Erasmus+ has given me access to studying abroad and do this all by myself.
I think that as a young generation we have a big responsibility to vote in the European Elections in June, understand what is going on in the world and be aware that we are part of it. We have the responsibility to take action and change what should be changed and not accept passively what is going on.
The story of Carme
Carme Palermo Ballester comes from Spain, plays the flute and is currently also participating in an Erasmus+ mobility at Conservatoire Royal de Liege.
Even if Spain is a big country, I find it very important for a musician to experience new environments and learn different ways of working. I would suggest to any student who is not sure about participating in Erasmus+ to “just do it” even if at the beginning they feel a little scared and uncomfortable.
Being part of the Erasmus Orchestra and playing at the European Commission today is an amazing opportunity. You see these places on television and then it is really you being part of it! Being European and being part of the European Union is a privilege. I feel supported and safe.
The story of Domenico
Domenico Michele Cetera is from Bari (Italy) plays the clarinet and studies at "N. PICCINNI" Conservatory in Bari. He participated in an Erasmus+ mobility in Iasi (Romania) and and did a short-term mobility in Tilburg (The Netherlands).
It is a great honour to take part in the event commemorating Jacques Delors. It is an event connected with history. Delors promoted integration and multiculturalism that are at the heart of the European Union project. This opportunity is giving me more consciousness of the historical period I have been living in.
I will vote for the European Elections. If I do not decide, somebody else will decide for me instead. It is a moral obligation.
“The Erasmus Orchestra is a celebration of the open, dynamic, and supportive values of the Erasmus generation and of the programme itself” says Sara Pagliai, Director of Italian National Agency Indire.
Since its creation, this unique musical ensemble has become a true success story that witnesses the power of the Erasmus+ Programme to harness talent and enrich people’s lives.