Join NYO

Playing in NYO is the greatest adventure teenagers can have through playing and sharing music. You’ll soar in your musical development. Perform on iconic stages. Master new music and new ideas. And play your part as an inspirational changemaker for other young people.

Open a door to NYO

Are you ready for the greatest musical adventure?

Imagine taking your seat in this cutting-edge orchestra, performing in amazing spaces, inspired by the awesome people around you and inspiring others too. It’s a challenge and you’ll receive support. It takes serious preparation but is seriously rewarding.  

As part of the Orchestra you’ll find a place to shape your world through music. You’ll soar in your musical development, discover new music and new ideas, and play your part as an inspirational role model for other young people. 

Applications for the 2025 Orchestra have now closed. We are accepting late applications for some instruments, please email orchestra@nyo.org.uk for more information on how to make a late application. 

 

Applications open on 7 March and close on 2 June 2024; sign up as soon as you can for top tips and time to get ready to do your best.

First round video audition deadline is 16 June 2024 (all instruments have a first round audition – this is different to previous years).  

Invitations for final round assessment days will be made by 19 July 2024.

Final round assessment days are held 2-15 September 2024.

About NYO

The Orchestra is at the heart of our community. Each year 160 teenagers from different backgrounds across the UK come together through their love of music, ready to push their limits, discover new skills and play their part as changemakers for their generation.

They play the epic orchestral music and music by diverse new voices. They shape shift into different ensembles.

NYO is celebrated internationally as ‘the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers.

A year-long adventure

Imagine taking your seat in this cutting-edge orchestra, performing in amazing spaces and surprising places across the UK. Every moment is an opportunity to be inspired by the awesome people around you. And you’ll inspire others too, as a role model and leader you will foster understanding through music and support the musical development of other young people.

It’s a challenge and we’ll support you. It takes serious preparation and is seriously rewarding. NYO musicians take their seat in the Orchestra for a year, or 11 months to be more precise, from October to August. It’s 40+ days of live activity, and some digital, mostly during school holidays and some weekends.

A year in NYO could look like this:

Three young musicians smiling together.
October

NYO Unite

Dive in with an epic day uniting musicians from the whole NYO community, including the Orchestra and NYO Inspire.

December/January

Winter residency

Ten days of community spirit and finding your sound. Tour to perform in concert venues and schools.

Teenage musicians
February

NYO Inspire activity

Three days of honing your skills and taking on the role of mentor. 

April

Spring residency

14 days to deepen connections and extend creativity – a project with a twist! Tour to perform in concert venues and schools.

June/July

NYO Local

Be a local hero and champion music at your local primary school.

July

Inspire Orchestra

Some NYO musicians are invited to support this vibrant project as a mentor.

July/August

Summer residency

14 days to embrace ultimate musical challenges and step up to iconic performance moments.

Who can join the Orchestra?

Is music your passion? Are you looking for a new challenge? It’s time to take on the greatest musical adventure of your life.

You’ll be 13 – 18 years old, a British citizen or living or studying in the UK.

We welcome applications from musicians at secondary school, sixth form college, university and from those who are home-schooled. We don’t accept applications from those studying full-time at a college of music, or on a joint course with a college of music.

If you play your instrument at an advanced level, we want to hear you. Musicians will usually be playing at a level equivalent to Grade 8, but with no need for formal graded exams.

If you are playing at grade 6 level or equivalent (no exams needed) why not consider NYO Inspire? Come and join us, there’s a big part to play for everyone.

How to join

It’s FREE to audition for NYO.

We start from scratch every year, excited to build an orchestra of the UK’s most motivated musical young people. It is a competitive process, but you’ll be supported and have feedback every step of the way.

To apply you fill in our application form and upload your first-round video audition, which will be reviewed by our musical team. For successful candidates the final round is a full day of workshops, in person. At these final round assessment days, musicians take part in warm-ups, creative workshops, playing together and discussions, as well as play their pieces to the audition panel.

For your video audition and for the solo audition part of your final round assessment day, you will need to prepare a solo piece (or pieces), and orchestral excerpts. Orchestral excerpts are an important part of your auditions and are chosen so that you can demonstrate your exploration and understanding of orchestral musicianship. You can find each instrument’s orchestral excerpts here.

The whole process starts in March and culminates in September – see the timeline below.

‘’I said to my Mum, I’m going to give it another try’’ Michael, Trumpet

Applications open
March
Application deadline
June
Video audition deadline
June
First round audition results
July
Final assessment days
September
Final audition results
End September

Cost and financial support

We aim to make sure money is never a barrier to getting involved.

First and final round auditions are FREE, with travel and accommodation bursaries for those who need them.

We ask NYO musicians to make a contribution to the cost of their place in the orchestra. But we understand that for some musicians, any contribution may be out of reach. That’s why we run a generous bursary scheme aiming to support where support is needed.

Frequently asked questions

The NYO Community is open to teenagers, but if you don’t quite fit that age bracket, we would encourage you to get in touch with us before you apply. Email orchestra@nyo.org.uk. We are likely to get in touch with you directly if you would benefit from the experience of NYO Inspire but are just outside the age parameters.

Sometimes our dates clash with some school activity. We try our best to schedule activity in the school holidays, but school holiday dates across the UK don’t always match up. If you have to miss school and are having trouble getting time off, we are more than happy to talk to the school and send a letter of support if required. 

Yes – you can do this within your application.

There is no need to have taken any exams to be part of the NYO community, we are referring to these to give you a sense of the benchmark level.

If you are thinking of applying for the Orchestra, you will be playing at an advanced level equivalent to grade 8 and or above. You can self-assess by taking a look at the music we play and see if they are about the right standard. If you need further guidance, you can email: orchestra@nyo.org.uk.

No musician will be limited from taking part in the NYO activity due to their financial means. There is a cost attached to being in the Orchestra, although The National Youth Orchestra is a charity so this amount is heavily subsidised thanks to our community of generous donors. Auditions and applications are free, and bursaries are available.

Your application for the Orchestra includes you in NYO Inspire activity if you are eligible. Many musicians who apply for the Orchestra find they don’t get in the first or second time. We encourage everyone with feedback and further opportunities. Those musicians who are eligible for NYO Inspire activity will be offered opportunities in NYO Inspire projects.

How do I prepare an audition video?

What is an NYO assessment day?

Stories from our musicians

Events and performances

July 11, 2024 @ 9:00 am
Inspire Orchestra embark on a national tour.
July 11, 2024 @ 3:30 pm
The Castle School, Taunton
England: South West
Play your part in an orchestra made up of local musicians sitting side by side with Inspire Orchestra
August 7, 2024 @ 7:30 pm
The Bridgewater Hall
England: North West
£23
/ Free for teens
Hear teenage musicians from The National Youth Orchestra performing As One
August 9, 2024 @ 7:00 pm
Saffron Hall
England: East of England
£12-26
/ Free for teens
Hear teenage musicians from The National Youth Orchestra performing As One