BISYOC promotes excellence in cultural and social interaction between young people from different countries – through making high-quality music together. We are a UK-based not-for-profit organisation. Our annual Youth Exchange project, part-funded by the European Union's Erasmus Plus Programme, is based on a unique approach to combining cultural exchange with music-making of a high standard. This approach has evolved and developed through our 16-year history, and we continue to review and adapt it.
The name is an acronym for “Bedstone International Summer Youth Orchestra Camp” named after the place in England where the first exchange was held.
In 2001 Julian Gibbons founded a summer orchestral and chamber music project at Bedstone College in Shropshire, England: Bedstone International Summer Youth Orchestra Camp, or “BISYOC” as it became known. His purpose was to bring together young people with different musical goals and abilities and give them a chance to experience performing in a large Symphony orchestra.
Participants and specialist instrumental tutors came from 10 different European countries. It quickly became clear that everyone enjoyed the cultural exchange as much as the music-making. So from that time onwards, BISYOC’s unique formula began to evolve; a combination of music-making at ever-improving standards, and cultural exchange activities organised by the participants themselves.
In 2003 BISYOC moved to Moor Park School near Ludlow, Shropshire, which has been its UK base ever since. That year the music activity programme was expanded to include a daily creative music workshop which still forms part of the structure.
BISYOC has been held in other countries as well as the UK:
Through the years since it started, almost 800 young people from the following 25 countries have attended and made BISYOC the cultural and musical highlight of their summer: Germany, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Holland, Norway, Belarus, Austria, Malta, Iceland, Poland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic, Croatia, Kenya, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Denmark, Russia, Canada and the USA.
The short documentary film Welcome to BISYOC explores some of the thinking behind BISYOC, and features interviews with tutors, participants and the Musical Director.