Championing orchestral music as a powerful agent for teenage development.

The National Youth Orchestra was founded in 1948 as a post war symbol of hope and confidence. For over 70 years our pioneering spirit has made us a leader in high quality music education and a champion of teenage potential.

Our purpose

We activate teenagers’ confidence, optimism and skills to play their part in the world today, through performing and sharing extraordinary music.

We open doors for young people, equipping them with new ideas, new experiences, new friends and new music to master. By developing their potential as role models, we employ music to create a movement of changemakers making a positive impact for their generation.

Over the next decade we aim to create a significantly bigger national community for teenage musicians of all backgrounds and different levels of ability.

Whether you’re a musician, parent, music educator or supporter, there’s a part here for you.

The need for our work

The world is changing beyond measure for young people. Society is increasingly divisive. The crisis in young people’s mental health in one of the biggest challenges of our time. We believe in the power of music to address this.

We know that 82% of young people from low-income families who participate in arts activities at school report better well-being. Researchers have been unable to identify a comparable activity that develops the cognitive capacity of young people, in the same ways, or to the same extent as music and arts education. World leaders agree that the interpersonal, social and emotional skills that are fostered by the arts are most needed in the workforce.

Our high-quality opportunities address the growing limitations in music education provision, especially where social inequality exacerbates challenges faced by young people. We have a track record for supporting teenagers to excel whatever their background and circumstances. Our equity initiatives have strengthened the representation of young people from all backgrounds in the NYO community.

Our unique approach fosters understanding and hope between young people, cultivating positive disciplines, values and skills, supporting their futures. Our work plays a vital role in diversifying and sustaining the talent pipeline for the UK’s world class music industry alongside an array of different professions.

In numbers

160 teenage musicians in the Orchestra

1,000 NYO Inspire musicians with a further 1,000 participating through NYO Open

8,000 teenage audiences in concert halls, schools & youth centres nationwide.

15,000 music loving audiences in iconic venues across the UK

Teenage bassoon player with The National Youth Orchestra

Meet the team​

Get to know the passionate and dedicated staff and trustees working hard to inspire, nurture and learn with young musicians. 

Our history​

Founded in 1948, The National Youth Orchestra has a proud history of opening up opportunities to play and share orchestral music. Find out more about our founder, Dame Ruth Railton and key moments that have shaped our organisation.

Latest news

This February, in partnership with Blackpool Music Hub, NYO is opening up the buzz of orchestral music to teenagers from across the UK in Blackpool.
  • NYO Inspire
  • The National Youth Orchestra
  • The Orchestra
The National Youth Orchestra welcomes Dani Howard as Resident Artist in 2024.
  • NYO Inspire
  • Performances
  • The National Youth Orchestra
  • The Orchestra
We marked the start of the New Year with an ‘earth-shaking’ tour in London, Nottingham and Coventry.
  • Performances
  • Reviews
  • The National Youth Orchestra
  • The Orchestra