The principal of Scotland's leading acting and music school, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), has joined a campaign to save an acclaimed youth orchestra.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the RCS in Glasgow, is among five leading principals from talent schools across the UK expressing their support of the European Union Youth Orchestra, which has said it will close at the end of the summer because of the end of EU funding.

The orchestra, celebrating its fortieth year as a cultural ambassador for the EU, said it will have to cease operations from September.

In the new letter to Jean-Clauded Juncker, president of the EC and Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, signed by Professor Sharkey, the principals say: "The Principals of the Royal Schools of Music and the Chief Executive of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) have come together to issue a strong endorsement of the importance of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) and to issue an urgent request to the European Commission to restore EU core funding to enable the Orchestra to survive.

"The EUYO represents one of the pinnacles of arts education and performance.

"It has provided students from throughout Europe the opportunity to make music at the highest level, to create lasting bonds between participants and to create a vibrant and visceral approach to music making.

"The EUYO is one of the great cultural ambassadors of Europe.

"Some of our finest students and staff have contributed to the EUYO and the faculties of conservatoires in the UK and throughout Europe have been greatly enhanced by its former members."

They add: "At a time when the very ideals of cohesion and collaboration across Europe are under duress, we believe the EUYO to be an inspiration for young musicians everywhere and to be far more than a showpiece of artistic attainment."

The EUYO counts among its members performers from all 28 EU member states and has been conducted by a host of maestros, including Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Barenboim, Herbert von Karajan and its founder, Claudio Abbado.

It was established by a resolution of the European parliament in 1976.

In a statement, the EUYO said: "The EUYO was informed on 15 April 2016 that its Creative Europe partnership is no longer in receipt of any funding from the EU.

"Since that time the orchestra has been in regular contact with the EU to attempt to find alternative funding from the EU. "However the funding routes so far suggested by the EU do not allow the orchestra to plan any form of secure future."