NYO news

An update on NYO activity this summer 

We are sorry to share the news that we are unable to go ahead with the live performances we had planned this summer.


During lockdown, NYO musicians have shown their generosity of spirit, their dedication to incredible music-making, and their willingness to adapt in the face of challenges. We can’t wait to meet again as a full orchestra, and blow you away with what is sure to be an incredible and emotional return to live music performance. 
However, even as the lockdown restrictions gradually lift, our partners have gradually stepped away, unable to open to host us in residency or live performance and we are not in a position to make something live happen this summer. We are very sad and sorry to cancel the summer rehearsals and tour. NYO and the whole cultural sector is eager to have Government guidance that will enable us to plan a clear and achievable timeline for live activity, but we are unable to do so at the moment. 


In place of our summer performances, we will invite our musicians to come together digitally for a special project to mark the end of our musical year.  We will be consulting our community of teenage musicians to make sure this is something musically exciting and innovative. 


What does this mean for NYO 2021?
After an incredible start to the year, the musicians selected for NYO 2020 have played a very different, unexpected role as musical role models in society. We had hoped to continue the spirit of the Rise Up! concerts in live performance, but instead all the 2020 musicians have adapted to become musical beacons closer to home, sharing music in a different way. And while we see the huge value in powering up these musical relationships close to home, we also recognise the live performance opportunities this orchestra has missed out on. This is why, for the first time in our history, we will not be auditioning for a new orchestra in 2021. 


This means, even for teenagers turning 20 or musicians who are attending music college, every NYO musician in 2020 will able to take part in the full year of NYO 2021 activity. These projects will respond to the ongoing situation, with physical performance taking place as soon as it is safe to do so. 
We don't just want to invest in this cohort of 164 musicians, at the expense of others: every year we meet almost a thousand orchestral hopefuls, and we know hundreds of you who have been working so hard to gain a place in the orchestra will feel shortchanged. We're so sorry if anyone feels like this, and we want to make a promise to you: this isn't the end of your musical journey with us. This October, we have announced our NYO Inspire programme is going to be bigger and better than ever before, and we are expanding the programme to every teenage Grade 8 musician in the country, as well as keeping it open to every teenager playing above Grade 6 standard who is at a state school, who is homeschooled, or who is Black, Asian or ethnically diverse. You can find out about this programme here, or share your details with us here to be the first to hear about the projects we are planning this year.


We can’t wait to join you for a triumphant return to the concert hall whenever we possibly can. In the meantime, if you felt able to support us on the road back to live performance, we would be extremely grateful. 


We know a lot of you will have questions, and we hope these answers below will give you the answers you need: 


Why have you cancelled the concerts? 

Our partner venues are not in a position to open and host us for live performance in August, and our rehearsal residencies rely on schools, hotels, and public transport being open for business so we can house the entire orchestra to rehearse in the week leading up to the performances. 


Will there be concerts in 2021? 

We hope so, but at the moment, we don’t know when they are likely to be, or on what scale. NYO is flexible, creative, inventive and committed, we know that when concerts can happen we will be bringing musicians and audiences together again. We are currently working towards a series of flexbible, blended events which will be hosted around the country, to prevent musicians from having to travel long distances, and which can be physical or digital depending on restrictions at the time. This will feature NYO musicians and musicians who have applied for NYO Inspire this year.


Why have you cancelled auditions? 

The 164 musicians who make up NYO 2020 have adapted to this period of lockdown and shared music with so many people, even during this difficult time. But, while we’ve loved playing together using technology and creating live, participatory performances, we also understand this is not a substitute for live concerts, or for meeting together as an orchestra. That’s one of the reasons why we have decided to carry these musicians forward, because we want to see this orchestra fulfil its potential after an incredible start to the year. We have also worked so closely with these musicians to create music for others during this period of lockdown, and we know they are incredibly dedicated to reaching out to the thousands of musicians we hope to work with next year. 
As well as this, auditions would normally be hosted in venues across the UK, and at the moment we have no guarantee these buildings can open in time to allow auditions to take place. 


I wanted to audition for NYO 2021, what do I do now? 

In this unusual year, we want to continue to use our NYO musicians to be the ‘energy cell’ of our activity, and ask them to share music widely with other people. NYO’s entire model is based on casting the net as widely as possible and including as many musicians as we are able, so in 2021 we will be inviting NYO Inspire musicians, as well as everyone who wanted to be in NYO next year, to be part of our projects as much as possible. We know there are hundreds of hopeful musicians out there, so please tell us by sharing your name and email address with us on this page of our website. We want to include you and find a way of playing music with you. Next year is going to look very different, and no one will be left out. 


I’m in NYO at the moment, what happens now? 

We know you will be as disappointed as we are to have to say goodbye to the summer performances. Hannah Mears-Young is on hand to chat to any of you who need support. We’ll be in touch soon about how to get involved with our upcoming projects and the roles you can all play 


I’ve paid for tickets for concerts, how do I get a refund? 

Please contact the venue for a refund on tickets. 


Will NYO Inspire activity carry on? 

NYO Inspire activity is a core part of NYO’s activity, and we can’t wait to meet together in person again, when we are able. Until then, NYO Inspire activity will continue in new ways, digitally, with NYO musicians continuing to share their skills with other teenage musicians around the UK. All the NYO Inspire musicians who were hoping to audition for NYO this year should email us and let us know so we are able to keep delivering activity digitally. 


When will you be performing live again? 

Unfortunately, we are led by advice from the Government and until venues are able to open safely again, we’re not able to confirm when we can perform live again. 


I’m a donor and I’ve paid towards bursary funds, what does this mean if the musicians aren’t performing live? 

Thank you for your donation. At the moment, through our digital activities, NYO is supporting, nurturing and maintaining spirits of musicians as well as investing in their musical trajectory. Musicians are learning a lot about leadership, peer inspiration and being a galvanising force in their communities. If you would like to speak to someone from the team about how your donation is helping NYO at this time, please email Nicolette Shaw, Director of Development on n.shaw@nyo.org.uk.


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