In 2006, Jim Sutherland, composer and musician, was awarded the Creative Scotland Prize for Artists of Distinction, one of the most generous arts awards in Europe. The award allowed him time to germinate his idea for an orchestra that would create a unique 'sound of Europe’.
In 2007, with a commission from The Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and additional funding from The Scottish Arts Council and in-situ, Jim was able to bring La Banda Europa together for its first performance – ‘Before the Wolf’, a large-scale, outdoor theatrical production. Alongside La Banda Europa, Jim incorporated a forty strong choir, a twenty strong drumming group and two boy sopranos from the Vienna Boys’ Choir. ‘Before the Wolf’ was directed by Hilary Westlake (previously of Lumière and Son, and more recently artistic director of Euro Disney).
'The idea of having all European families together, united in one voice, in one orchestra, will send a strong signal that as Europeans we should use our differences to create a new Europe rather than have them as an excuse to destroy it. Our traditions should become part of one unique European culture where all the families will contribute with their own identity, with their own culture, with their own music. Therefore I believe that La Banda Europa could do miracles, especially in my region. When people see that their own culture is respected they will learn to respect other cultures as well.'
Slobodan Trkulja - Serbia