WATCH LIVE 10.30AM THURSDAY: Brexit debate and European Unison piano concert on Facebook Live

A Brexit inspired piano concert will get its world premiere with a free public performance in Yorkshire - but we are giving you an exclusive preview on Facebook Live.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 3:07 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:01 am
European Unison composer Ruth Spencer Jolly
European Unison composer Ruth Spencer Jolly

We want your Brexit views, via comments, during a special Question Time-style debate which will follow, discussing the effects of Brexit on all things regionally and nationally, including the arts.

LIVE: Watch and interact with our Facebook Live stream on Thursday, March 23, from 10.30am to 11.30am - CLICK HERE.

The piano piece, called European Unison, was conceived by emerging artist Ruth Spencer Jolly and will feature 28 pianists - representing the members of the European Union - playing out the history of the EU from its birth to Brexit.

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It deals with Britain’s ECC in/out referendum in 1975, Black Wednesday in 1992 and Brexit in 2017.

We will feature the first 10-minutes of the 30-minute ensemble, chat to the artist who conceived the project and then debate Brexit. You can interact, express your views, comments and ask questions, on Facebook and other social media, using the hashtag #BrexitPiano

Our Facebook Live audience, including members of the business community, students and media, has been specially invited but you can still attend the world premiere of the 30-minute concert itself and tickets, subject to availability, are free.

FREE CONCERT TICKETS: The world premiere of European Unison will take place at Besbrode Pianos, Unit A, Holbeck New Mills, Braithwaite Street, Leeds, LS11 9XE on Sunday, March 26, at 6pm. To reserve your free tickets visit

Composer Ruth, aged 23, describes the work as a eulogy to the rich cultural exchange and peacekeeping cooperation that the EU was founded upon.

She says the ensemble of pianos demonstrates that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ and the UK Brexit piano will symbolically be white.

“Exiting the European Union will sorely impact a young generation of people - my generation – born European citizens with the right to travel freely and work anywhere in the European Union," says Ruth, from Birmingham. She recently graduated from the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford and is currently Artist in Residence at St George’s School, Ascot.

"We now face an uncertain future in which these rights are likely to be revoked - another unwelcome blow in a series of unfortunate events, leaving a generation already financially stretched and disillusioned.

“I was shocked and saddened by the EU referendum result of June 2016. I felt the need to respond artistically to such a momentous occasion and the idea for the work originated from a place of disappointment about the position in which we currently find ourselves. The score is the most complex thing I’ve ever written. The piece is written for 28 pianos, each representing a European country. The composition tells the story of the EU chronologically and the pianists join the ensemble in the order that their country did, marking their entrance with their national anthem.”

She has been noted as ‘one to watch’, profiled on Radio 3 Young Artists’ Day in 2015 and has featured in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibitions this year. She specialises in an interdisciplinary practice called Musart, which lies in the grey zone between the visual arts and music.

Melvin Besbrode is hosting our Facebook Live event and the world premiere at his family business for over 30-years. Besbrode Pianos is a specialist piano dealer and wholesaler based in a 1780’s mill in Holbeck, consisting of three storeys contains hundreds of European antique and modern pianos.

A specialist restorer of grand and upright pianos, he stocks Steinway Bosendorfer, Bechstein, Yamaha and Kawai.

He said: “I am delighted to support Ruth and her artistic vision.

"Even though we export £1m worth of pianos to China I am saddened by the potential impact of Brexit and the possible break-up of the EU. I travel extensively around Europe to buy and restore antique pianos and I worry for the future, not just for trading opportunities, but the potential rise of discrimination, isolationism, inequality and division.”

For more about Besbrode Pianos visit