Who can apply?


Join our teenage community

If you play an orchestral instrument at Grade 8+ standard the National Youth Orchestra is the community for you. We look for musicians and composers who combine considerable technical aptitude and flair for orchestral playing with a taste for adventure, open minds and a great team spirit. Our musicians have a responsibility not simply to themselves as performers but to each other and as ambassadors, encouraging other young musicians to deepen their relationship with orchestral music. In this section you will find details about eligibility requirements and what financial assistance is available to cover the cost of auditioning and being part of the orchestra.  



     As a strictly teenage orchestra, we have the following requirements:




  • You will need to be between 13 and 18 on 1 September 2023 in order to apply for NYO 2024.   

  • Orchestral Instruments: NYO is a large symphony orchestra and we therefore look for those playing orchestral instruments: 

    Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Orchestral Percussion, Harp 

    NYO plays a wide range of repertoire and often has opportunities for other instruments, although often these instruments are not included in every project. Some years we also hold auditions for Orchestral Keyboard and Saxophones.

  • Standard: If you are playing your instrument at a high standard, then we want to hear from you. We suggest a Grade 8+ standard but there is no requirement to have taken any grade exams at all. If you’re unsure, have a look at the orchestral excerpts, and if you feel confident performing them then you should feel confident to apply. 

  • Nationality: You must be a British citizen or resident or studying in the British Isles.  

  •  Education: You must be at secondary school, sixth-form college, university, or home-schooled. We are unable to take applications from those studying full-time at a college of music, or on a joint course with a college of music.  

  • Commitment: You must be available for all of the rehearsal residencies, tour dates and performances and between 3-10 days of NYO Inspire activity. In addition, we may ask if you would like to attend other activities that come up throughout the year. These will be voluntary.

Financial information: costs and assistance

We can help you be part of NYO.

Your audition is free, and we offer means tested travel bursaries to those who need them (just email auditions@nyo.org.uk for more information). 

Those musicians invited to be part of NYO 2023 are joining a large community of supporters who champion young musicians and help fund your development in the orchestra. We invest over £8,000 in each NYO musician every year, covering all the experiences you will have across an average 38 days of activity. We ask each musician to contribute £2,250 for the NYO 2023 year, and then we turn to our supporter community who work tirelessly to help raise the rest. 

We ask you to make your contribution at the beginning of the year, which enables us to plan and widen the scope to include many more young musicians who need opportunities. We also offer a ten-month instalment plan if needed.    

We understand that for some musicians this level of contribution may be out of reach. We welcome applications to our means tested bursary scheme that will help with some or all of the contribution. We can also offer a guide to applying to other organisations for funding help.     

Over the year we will talk to you, and your family about your role in fundraising for NYO, engaging with and thanking our nationwide community of supporters.    

I feel very welcome in NYO – it's like I’ve been here all my life!


Sophie Bell




Without NYO, I would never be where I am today. I joined a self-doubting and nervous 13-year-old and the organisation massively helped me, as a musician and as a human being.

Michael Buchanan

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