It’s been a year where hope has sometimes felt out of reach, and sometimes kept us going: now, NYO’s young people will explore the subject through music.
Teenagers have lived through a year where so much of what they have hoped for has shifted, changed, or disappeared. Without the structure of exams, performances, and seeing family and friends in their lives, many have told us they are feeling lost and not sure what to hope for. But in a year where so much has changed, the one thing allowing us to keep going in the face of shifting restrictions and ever-changing goalposts is hope: not naive, relentlessly optimistic hope, but the conviction that there are better days ahead, and by staying curious, connected, and uplifting each other, our musicians are bravely committing the ultimate act of hope: allowing themselves to commit to a future which looks very different from what they had imagined in 2019.
We are delighted to share the 15 performances recorded as part of NYO’s Lift Off & Lift Up project. In what was our biggest ever digital activity, musicians came together to launch the NYO year, spending an immersive day in creative workshops, webinars, and with instrumental tutors, before performing Jigsaw by composer Dani Howard.
When 775 teenagers from all corners of the UK come together to create music, great things happen! This February, in our biggest ever digital activity, we invited young people to connect with each other and perform a piece of music, live, over the internet. The piece, called Jigsaw and composed by Dani Howard, was specifically commissioned for this activity and is designed to be playable by any combination of instruments: every performance is slightly different, brought to life in different ways by musicians in different areas.
After the end of our nine-day activity, we caught up with NYO Inspire musicians Chloe (flute) and Esme (clarinet) to hear their reflections of NYO Lift Off & Lift Up and what they’ve enjoyed the most during their participation.
We are so delighted to share the news that NYO’s project celebrating and lifting up the voices of Black composers has won a UK Youth Award.
The Coca-Cola Inspiring Inclusivity Award was awarded to the Mighty River project in recognition of the young people at the heart of NYO, who came together in July 2020 to share what they cared about through music: as #BlackLivesMatter trended across the world, our teenagers reached out to us to tell us this was a subject we could not ignore; a subject they wanted to address head-on through the medium they care most passionately about, orchestral music.
We have lift off! Earlier this month, we launched a brand-new year of music-making, inviting 775 teenage musicians to come together in our biggest ever activity, to perform a piece of music, live, over the internet. That piece was Jigsaw, music specifically composed for this activity, by Dani Howard. NYO Inspire musicians Shesh and Vivien joined Dani for an online chat, asking her questions about her upbringing, the inspiration behind Jigsaw and what she would like to change in classical music.
What happens when two worlds collide? We were delighted to bring together two groups of young people: musicians from NYO, and dancers from the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) and watch the creative sparks fly! This unique collaboration was led by dancer and choreographer, Akeim Toussaint Buck and musician and composer, Laura Ayoub. Through music-making, dancing and group discussions, the young musicians and dancers were encouraged to get out of their comfort zone to collectively share their skills, explore and be inspired by each other’s creativity.
NYO musicians Ruby (flute), Danushka (cello) and Eliza (trumpet) came digitally together with dancers Jacob, Leo and Sonny from NYDC, to reflect on their collaboration: what they learned by working together, the impact of this connection to their creativity and what they will be taking forward to their practice.
Mozart and Miles Davis. Musical worlds apart...right? Think again: Dutch violinist and composer Yannick Hiwat joined NYO musicians to discuss the power of creativity and connection, thinking outside the box and the lessons we can learn from Jazz. NYO musician Phoebe joined him for a chat to learn more about his life as a young musician.
We’re marking the start of a brand-new year of music making, kicking off the year with a spirit of positivity and optimism. We invited teenagers across the UK to sign up to play music with us, and an incredible 600 musicians put their faith in the power of the NYO community, committing to playing music together when so many other opportunities have been cancelled or changed. We want to catch these musicians before they fall, giving them the chance to meet each other, play together, and lift each other up through lockdown.
In lockdown, it’s hard to imagine bringing together hundreds of musicians to play in an orchestra. But rather than feeling despondent, NYO musicians are using this time to get creative and play music that might be a little further outside of their comfort zone. NYO bassoonist Eva met violinist and loop pedal artist Rebekah Reid, who specialises in combining classical string techniques with electronics, and our musicians explore the different ways in which music can be created through looping techniques. Here's what happened when Eva and Rebekah discussed creativity together.
Sometimes, connections can be made in the most unexpected spaces, and spark our creativity in ways we never thought possible. Over winter, at a time where schools were closed and socialising with others was limited, NYO’s young people wanted to meet each other and connect with others, to explore how making connections can power up our music making. During the last days of December, NYO musicians participated in an array of digital activities, forging connections with artists and creatives from a wide range of art forms and genres, in an attempt to think outside the box and see the music they love through new eyes.
We were delighted to meet Sam Sweeney, a renowned English traditional musician, former and inaugural artistic director of the National Folk Youth Ensemble, and member of the band Bellowhead from 2008 until the band’s disbandment in 2016, to learn more about traditional English music and create some new pieces, inspired by its rich melodies and rhythmic palette.
NYO musicians Clio (Flute) and Brendan (Horn) asked Sam a few questions about his work and ambitions as a folk artist, what he’s been up to during the pandemic and his advice to young musicians.
At the moment, it’s difficult for NYO to perform together as an orchestra in a large group, and a lot of the time we meet together as faces on a Zoom screen. And although we can’t play together physically, we’re working out new ways to share performance with each other, and to meet new people.
That’s why, this January, we are launching our TikTok channel as a way for our musicians to play and perform with other people, inviting duets from musicians and creatives across the world.
This year, when our ability to meet face to face has been restricted, we’ve seen the true value of our connections with others. And while it’s more difficult to connect in a large group, we can still power up the relationships we can make with others in order to fuel our music-making.
Hi, my name is Shesh and my main studies are percussion and double bass. I also play guitar, piano, drum kit, bass guitar and enjoy singing. I have admired NYO for a while and wanted to get involved. I knew some musicians who were part of NYO, and they all loved it. I was very happy when I got invited to my first NYO Inspire Day last year. During the day, I had such a good time playing alongside NYO musicians and I knew I wanted to get involved more.
Our musical activity looks a little different this year, but our message is the same: if you were hoping to join NYO 2021, or if you are eligible to take part in NYO Inspire, we want to hear from you!
We are determined to meet as many of you as possible, and create as many opportunities as we can for you to meet each other, share your skills, and create great music together.
We’re doing this by expanding NYO Inspire to make it bigger than ever before, with more musicians and more projects than in previous years.
We are so pleased to be joined by musician and activist Jermain Jackman in what will be our first live performance since lockdown, playing a mighty river of music at the Southbank Centre.
We are delighted to announce that the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust has agreed to continue and increase their support for NYO with a grant to support NYO’s dramatically expanded digital development and output especially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are proud to be celebrate the life and work of Marie-Louise and honour the memory of her father and brother through NYO’s close and ongoing relationship with the fantastic charitable trust.
We are delighted to announce two concerts building on the learnings of our Mighty River project: an interactive, online ‘choose your own adventure’ concert on 30 September, and a live concert for broadcast at Southbank Centre in October.
Our latest digital residency is all about learning and sharing music by diverse musical voices. Too much incredible music has been overlooked in our history, and as young people passionate about diversity in our art-form, we want to educate ourselves and learn about how we can find a more equal way forward. Listen to these six pieces recommended by NYO and NYO Inspire musicians and find out why they are favourites…
As part of our digital summer residency centred on Errollyn Wallen’s piece Mighty River, we’ve been exploring historical and musical context, and learning about Black composers, Black musicians in our art-form and racial justice initiatives that are emerging in classical music. Through a series of inspiring webinars with guest speakers, we have been opened the space for conversation.
We were thrilled to meet Uchenna Ngwe, a renowned oboist and artistic director of Decus Ensemble, whose aim is to bring to light music that has been overseen. Uchenna created plainsightSOUND, which explores music written, performed and recorded by classical musicians of African descent in Britain. In their recent project Hidden Sounds Experiment, Decus Ensemble has explored the following works of five composers during the lockdown period, performing pieces of music which were mostly seen for the first time, and recording from their homes.
My name is Eashan and I am a 16-year-old trumpeter from Eastcote. My first involvement with NYO Inspire was when I was invited to participate in a three-day residency in Liverpool. This was extremely insightful as I was surrounded by trumpet players from all over the country such as myself but also supported by NYO musicians and two wonderful tutors. Shortly after the course, coronavirus impeded any physical activity, so instead I took part in another digital NYO Inspire Day in April, looking at Beethoven’s wonderful Ode to Joy, in which we recorded the piece and a wonderful multitrack was put together to showcase our work.
In this digital summer residency, we are excited to rehearse and perform Mighty River by Belize-born British composer, Errollyn Wallen, a magnificent piece which explores the history of the slave trade in Britain, with spirituals at its core. Ahead of our digital performance, we were thrilled to listen to Errollyn in a webinar talk, where we asked her a few questions about her work as a composer and songwriter.
What role did music play in your early life and musical education?
Music was just a natural part of life. I never intended to be a musician, but a ballet dancer or a writer. Without knowing it, music was actually the very core of my being. Music is the safest place to me, it’s my home and I can be anywhere in the world.
Spirituals take a central role in Errollyn Wallen’s Mighty River, which we’re excited to be learning as an orchestra this summer. So, we were enormously grateful to welcome conductor, presenter and spirituals expert Ken Burton to speak to us. Ken is known for his work on UK television programmes, BBC Songs of Praise, and was choirmaster for the multi Oscar-winning film Black Panther, and he immensely inspired us. Here are five things we learned from Ken about spirituals…
What is a spiritual?
Spirituals are religious songs which voice the hardships of slavery. Mixing expression from two worlds, the root of the spiritual lies in West Africa and the religious protestant hymns of the United States. They grew organically in the places people worked and spread from plantation to plantation.
Dates for your diary! Two iconic archive NYO performances at the BBC Proms will be broadcast as part of the 2020 Proms season this summer.
We are thrilled to re-live the power and emotion of Sir Simon Rattle conducting NYO in Mahler’s epic Symphony of a Thousand on BBC Four on Sunday 9 August. First broadcast in 2002, this epic performance features no fewer than five choirs from around the world including the Toronto Children’s Chorus and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
On Tuesday 11 August, listeners can tune into BBC Radio 3 to hear NYO's forces in Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony, music by Nico Muhly and Varèse, and Anna Meredith's acclaimed tour de force of clapping, stamping, singing and body percussion: HandsFree.
On #BlackoutTuesday, music lovers across the world went silent, flooding social media with black squares to show support for racial justice and equality in the music industry and beyond. But, after the silence, a space has been forged: a space for listening, a space for learning, and a space for speaking out. Our community of young people want to educate themselves and raise their voices in support of racial equality, understanding there is work to be done, but knowing that as individual musicians playing their part in a collective orchestral whole, every person has the power and responsibility to make a difference.
This summer, we are opening up the space for conversation, as NYO and NYO Inspire musicians prepare to take a deeper dive into music by Black composers, with the aim of exploring, learning and discovering music by a more diverse range of voices.
How did your involvement with NYO Inspire begin?
My NYO Inspire journey began in 2019, after participating in the NYO Inspire activity ‘Come and Play’ before an NYO concert at my local concert hall. Since then, I have participated in four NYO Inspire activities, including the NYO Inspire Ensembles last February.
On Friday 29 May we powered up our musical planet by inviting musicians around the world to take part in a socially distanced performance. From Tipton to Toronto; Southend to Scunthorpe; thousands of musicians around the world played, sang, or remixed ‘Jupiter’ from Holst’s The Planets together at the exact same time. At 5.00pm BST, together we showed the incredible power of music to transcend borders, brighten our lives, and connect us across any distance. You can explore the overwhelming response by following the hashtag #NYOMusicalPlanet.
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.
Are you ready to power up our musical universe with #NYOMusicalPlanet? These handy video clips created by NYO musicians have all the top tips to help you prepare.
At 5.00pm BST on 29 May, we are inviting musicians around the globe to take part in a live, socially distanced performance of ‘Jupiter’ from Holst’s The Planets, celebrating the power of music to connect us across any distance. We are asking everyone to play at the same time to family or local audiences, and feel connected to others, even though we cannot see or hear each other.
Of all the millions of musicians on our musical planet, not all of you play an instrument. There's so many different styles of music out there and we want to hear from all of you, especially if you create music electronically.
If you write music on your phone or computer, we're inviting you to create a remix of the theme from 'Jupiter' from Holst's The Planets. NYO musicians have recorded loads of sounds on their instruments for you to remix, taken from the original orchestral piece. And the rest... is up to you!
Play, sing, remix, or create an ensemble performance: we want you to power up your musical community and showcase the incredible power of our musical planet.
While we can’t travel physically, a love of music is allowing us all to connect with others across time and space, and explore further than our own four walls - and we want you to join us!
At 5:00pm on 29 May, we are inviting you to take part in a live, socially distanced performance of 'Jupiter' from Holst's The Planets, celebrating the power of music to connect us across any distance.
What happens when 164 of the UK's most dedicated musicians are supposed to be performing on stage at the Southbank Centre, but instead, they're all in lockdown, hundreds of miles apart?
On Friday 17 April, NYO musicians threw open their front doors or windows, and inspired the nation to perform Beethoven's well-known 'Ode to Joy', from his Symphony No. 9, a piece of music with community and joy at its heart. Every performance was dedicated to people who need a musical pick-me-up at this time: our key workers, NHS staff, or people who feel vulnerable or isolated.
Grab an instrument and play along with thousands of musicians across the UK in a heartfelt performance of Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' dedicated to those who need it the most.
At 5pm on 17th April, NYO's 164 musicians will throw open their windows, get out on their doorstep, and share their own 40 second performance of the well-known piece. In the days before, they will all be meeting on a 'digital residency', where they will spend time playing together in small groups, creating multi-track videos, perfecting their practice techniques, and connecting with each other musically, as well as creating resources and guidance for everyone joining in with the Ode to Joy-a-thon at home.
Join us online, on your doorstep, on your radio from 16th-18th April as we share music together and celebrate community.
This year, NYO musicians are raising their voices behind causes that matter: in January, they came together to 'Rise up!', and the power and potential of teenagers expressing themselves through music shone through on the concert platform.
And while the concert halls and schools are closed, NYO's musicians are still on a mission, ready to share music and inspire others through performance. We simply need to find a different way of sharing it with you over the coming weeks.
As the world's greatest orchestra of teenagers, our superpower is bringing young musicians together to share their love of music with each other, and with audiences around the world. To protect our musicians' health, the health of their families, and our responsibility to wider society, we have made the sad decision that we cannot bring the orchestra together in April. Our scheduled performances at the Southbank Centre and the associated rehearsal residency in April will therefore no longer take place. All NYO activity in April, including NYO Play the School, has been paused.
On 21 February, I took part in an NYO Inspire course in Liverpool which was especially dedicated to stringed and brass instruments. As I play the violin and viola, it was especially interesting for me to see how the different instruments in the orchestra work together and how we all, as musicians, can blend our sound and work with each other as an effective ensemble and try to create the best sound possible. This, along with many other activities, was something that we all worked on during the course and aimed to achieve.
Calling all young musicians, music educators, music professionals, parents, and anyone with a love of music: We need your help.
At the start of the year, our Rise Up! concert tour encouraged you to join a musical movement and raise your voices for a cause you believe in. And now we are mobilising the troops.
NYO Inspire Ensembles have returned to Liverpool for the fifth consecutive year! 360 teenage state educated or home-schooled or Black and minority ethnic (BME) musicians from every region of the UK – from Scotland and Northern Ireland to Wales and Cornwall – came together over the course of nine days to explore ensemble playing and challenging orchestral repertoire, learning a total of 20 pieces.
This winter, 164 teenage musicians came together for the first time, immersing themselves entirely in the music of revolutionary spirit; music with a point to make about the world. Our community of teenagers raised their voices, quite literally, kicking off the concert with a workers' song by Eisler, Auf den Strassen zu singen, before exploring powerful works by Britten and Shostakovich: Sinfonia da Requiem and Symphony No. 11.
Jaime Martín, Chief Conductor of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, will be joining NYO as we tour in Coventry, London and Nottingham. Ahead of our concerts, we were excited to ask Jaime a few questions about working with NYO, what he loves about being a conductor and his advice for teenage musicians.
The world's greatest orchestra of teenagers has regenerated for another year! We are so excited to introduce NYO 2020, made up of 164 of the UK's most dedicated musicians, all born this side of the 21st Century.
These totally brilliant and committed teenagers are ready for a year of making music at the highest level, coming together throughout the year to share their passion for orchestral music with fellow teenagers in the concert hall, in schools around the country, and with millions more via TV and radio broadcasts. If you'd like to see where we're performing throughout the year and book tickets for our performances, you can do so here.
'My first experience with NYO was through NYO Inspire, and it was this which originally motivated me to pursue music further and audition for NYO. Returning as an NYO musician to the NYO Inspire Orchestra made me realise how important it is to act as a role model for my peers and share my passion for orchestral music in schools to other young people, many of whom hadn't heard an orchestra performing live before.'
'Having only found out about NYO Inspire at the start of 2019, I was very excited to discover what opportunities were available to me. I vividly remember being very enthusiastic about NYO Inspire Ensembles in February: the music was really fun to learn and play, and also slightly difficult but without becoming unenjoyable.
It was amazing to meet so many like-minded and committed musicians, who were both part of NYO or NYO Inspire like me. It was so refreshing to play with so many dedicated people, and it’s fair to say all this passion was conveyed into the final performance.'
NYO Inspire is the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s game-changing inclusion and access programme, which provides free orchestral opportunities for teenage musicians playing at Grade 6 standard. At the heart of the programme is the power of peer inspiration and learning; NYO believes teenagers can gain so much from open exchange with fellow teenage musicians.
Concluding our summer concert tour, NYO is bringing our totally teenage orchestral brilliance to Berlin, and we are so excited to perform at the Young Euro Classic Festival on 1 August 2019.
Our musicians are looking forward to extending the hand of friendship to other young orchestral musicians at the festival, now in its 20th year, playing alongside a packed programme of youth orchestras from across the world.
Following ten days of intensive learning and rehearsing, 164 of the UK’s most brilliant teenage musicians from all backgrounds across the UK, came together this summer alongside with conductor Mark Wigglesworth to celebrate their love for orchestral music and express their youthful aspirations to reach for the unreachable.
We’re proud to have a section you won’t find in other orchestras – we have our very own teenage composers. They play a vital role in NYO activity, writing new music which is performed by NYO musicians, and we’re thrilled to share their work in this series of short films. Each of our seven brilliant composers has invented a ‘deleted scene’ from Romeo and Juliet, bringing them to life through original music they have written themselves. The pieces were written in just ten days, and recorded in a 20-minute session each.
Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists and most influential classical artists of today. Through her charitable organisation: The Benedetti Foundation, she expands her commitment to support young people’s music education across the UK. Earlier this year, Nicola Benedetti became an NYO Ambassador. We were excited to ask Nicola a few questions about working with NYO and what it was like being a teenager. You can read the full interview including her top tips to teenage musicians below.
John Singer joins NYO, the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers, as Chair with extensive transformational Chair and board experience in private equity, the arts – for example at the City of London Sinfonia, The National Gallery and The New College of Humanities – and education. Singer takes over from Dame Liz Forgan DBE, who retires after chairing the organisation for seven years and steering through a period of huge growth. He hopes his chairmanship will make a huge impact on music education in the UK, and grow the audiences and supporter base for the charity’s vital work in creating outstanding musical talent and audiences for the future.
'I began taking part in NYO Inspire at the age of 17. I wanted to be a role model to other teenagers and share advice on playing techniques. Playing alongside others with a similar interest in music and similar social interests made the environment friendly and relaxed. Meeting teenage musicians from across the UK exposed me to many different backgrounds and cultures. It’s amazing how two people can have completely different upbringings, yet one thing that makes them similar is their passion for music-making. I made friends who live miles away from me!'
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain is joining forces with award-winning violinist Nicola Benedetti, who today announces she will become an NYO Ambassador; together supporting young people’s music education across the UK. The partnership kicks off later this month when Benedetti joins NYO’s 164 teenage musicians on their summer rehearsal residency. She will be performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto as part of NYO’s sold out summer concert tour, touring Stoke-on-Trent, Saffron Walden, and culminating in a highlight of NYO’s year, the BBC Proms 2019.
Are you a teenage musician playing at Grade 4-8 or above? Take part in our fun and friendly Come and Play activity alongside the NYO Inspire Orchestra and discover top tips for developing your orchestral skills. The activity takes place on Tuesday 9 July 2019 after school at Nicholas Chamberlaine School in Bedworth, Warwickshire.
Following our spring tour which took us to London, Liverpool and Birmingham, we took orchestral music beyond the concert hall and direct to our fellow teenagers in secondary schools. We believe music not only has the power to inspire, but to change the world. That is the reason it deserves a place in every school, and it’s why we work with ten secondary schools every year.
Bound by their love for orchestral music, 164 of the UK’s most brilliant teenage musicians from all backgrounds across the UK come together this summer to push themselves to their limits, and perform with energy and enthusiasm like no other orchestra. Expect a thrilling journey through dramatic, powerful and bold music which highlights the youthful aspirations to reach for the unreachable, conducted by the internationally renowned conductor Mark Wigglesworth and performed by NYO and the brilliant violinist Nicola Benedetti.
164 of the UK’s most brilliant teenage musicians from all backgrounds across the UK came together this spring under the baton of Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto to extend the hand of friendship across the Mexican-US border.
'New opportunities, new horizons, new friends.
That has been my NYO journey and I have loved every minute of it.'
Her Royal Highness, who took on the Patronage of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2013, hosted musicians of the orchestra who performed a recital for distinguished guests, including The American Ambassador, at Clarence House on Tuesday 22 January.
This winter, we delved into our hopes and fears and explored music inspired by human anxieties in a changing modern world. We faced the absurdity of our fears in Rick Dior’s Science Fiction, painted an iconic moment in history with John Adams’s Doctor Atomic Symphony, and restored peace and tranquillity in Sibelius’s beautiful Symphony No. 2. Find out what the critics had to say...
As NYO prepares to perform John Adams's Doctor Atomic Symphony, which reflects on the iconic moment in history - the test of the first atomic bomb - NYO Cellist Thomas Nettle shares five interesting facts about the legendary composer.
'The warmth, inclusiveness and unity of purpose that NYO musicians all share amongst each other is the best thing about being a part of it. Everyone wants to give their absolute best.' - Faye, 16, Violin, NYO
We've announced the 164 teenage musicians who will join together to create NYO's spectacular sound in 2019, along with our plans for the year. Find out who they are, what inspires them and why they think all teenagers should care about orchestral music...
NYO Young Promoter, Hannah, shares her story about her time volunteering for her school to promote NYO projects in support of #iwill week 2018 - celebrating the power and potential of youth social action. "As an NYO Young Promoter I was able to develop my own skills, meet new people from all different walks of life, improve my future prospects and see Britain’s future classical music stars. My school has changed since seeing the NYO perform, as have I. ..."
In celebration of #iwill Week 2018, NYO violist Josh shares his story and adds his voice to this national campaign celebrating the power and potential of youth social action. "Through this volunteering work I learned that orchestral music is not an exclusive hobby,rather it gave me the opportunity to meet and work with people I otherwise never would have before. Furthermore, people were taking what they learned on these courses and sharing their experiences which, is so encouraging for the future of youth social action...
"My involvement with NYO Inspire began when Wolverhampton Music School organised a coach trip to an NYO Inspire Day which was part of the NYO Inspire Orchestra’s tour in 2016. I was amazed by the size of the orchestra and by what teenagers my age could achieve in such a small amount of time...
This summer, 164 of us joined together at the Universtiy of Birmingham for 10 days of rehearsals and preparation before touring our epic programme of orchestral masterworks to Birmingham's Symphony Hall, Snape Maltings Concert Hall and the BBC Proms where our performance was broadcast on BBC Four and live on BBC Radio 3. Find out what the critics had to say about the performance and where to re-watch the broadcast.
What do you get when you cross no holds barred teenage energy and musical brilliance with some seriously sensational music? A totally dazzling concert performed by the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers, that’s what. Throw in a bit of magic in the form of legendary conductor and composer George Benjamin and pianist extraordinaire Tamara Stefanovich and you’re looking at a spectacularly good night out.
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain has announced its first ever tour to the USA in Summer 2019, including a debut at Carnegie Hall in New York, cultural exchange with fellow teenagers, side-by-side projects and a performance at the Ravinia Festival, the oldest and most diverse outdoor music festival in the US, with further engagements to be confirmed. The official launch takes place on 11 July with a special reception with the soloist for the tour, violinist Nicola Benedetti. NYO will continue to accept applications for NYO 2019 until the end of July 2018 to afford the largest number of teenagers to be part of this opportunity of a lifetime.
Think you know what a classical music concert is like? Well think again. Look up from your screen and reset your ears because this April, the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers brings you NYO UNLEASHED, an electrifying, theatrical live music experience like no other. NYO divides into TWO orchestras for the first time, and to top it all up we have a host of free events curated specially by teenagers for teenagers.
400 teenage musicians, 6 ensembles, 32 tutors, 15 pieces of music from Gabrieli to Rodgers & Hammerstein, 117 music hubs, services and organisations, and 3 residencies. NYO Inspire Ensembles returned to The University of Liverpool for its fourth and biggest year to date!
Our winter residency was a musical journey into the magical, the mystical and the weird. Find out what the critics had to say about our performance, which featured a semi-staged production of Bartók's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle...
We're so proud and honoured that NYO Inspire Orchestra has been nominated for the Classic FM Best Classical Music Education Initiative at Rhinegold Publishing's annual Music Teacher Awards For Excellence. The winner will be decided by a public vote which closes 2 February 2018.
Sarah Alexander, who celebrates her 10th season in charge of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2018, has been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours list.
Illustrator and author Chris Riddell, former Children’s Laureate, cartoonist, and creator of the hugely popular series ‘Goth Girl’ is announced as NYO’s first ever Artist in Residence. His illustrations will be integrated into the performance of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, and his live drawings during one of the performances will be streamed.
'I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of NYO 2018 and cannot wait to be making music with other amazing young musicians at such a high standard.' - Theo, cello
Meet the 164 talented teenage musicians, hailing from all corners of the UK, who will join together to produce NYO's spectacular sound in 2018. Discover their unique stories, find out their favouirte orchestral pieces, the musical figures they'd love to collaborate with and why they think all teenagers should listen to classical music.
From urban landscapes to the vastness of space, NYO’s 2017 summer concert tour was a truly special adventure which explored music by pioneering composers. Thomas Adès conducted the UK premiere of a new work by Francisco Coll alongside his own music and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Read what the critics had to say about our performance…
We are saddened to hear of the death of our Vice-President, Alum and former Director, Derek Bourgeois. We would like to pay tribute to his fantastic leadership, his creative passion and his unswerving loyalty to NYO over so many years. It was our great pleasure to be in touch with Derek over our Summer residency this year and to share with him the Orchestra’s fantastic work. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.
As we prepare to perform Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring on tour this summer to the BBC Proms, Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Snape Maltings, we reflect on its special place in our history.
This July, 75 teenage musicians from across the country will come together to form the NYO Inspire Orchestra and give a four-day concert tour of the West Midlands, bringing the excitement of orchestral music to hundreds of their peers with Bernstein's On the Waterfront.
NYO Percussionist Simone reflects on her time in Trinidad and Tobago where she participated in the Youth Music Exchange (YMX) programme at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Academy for the Performing Arts.
We are excited to announce that NYO Musicians will be premiering - Linger in Light - a new piece by NYO Principal Composer, Lauren Marshall, in the Morgan Stanley Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, designed by Chris Beardshaw.
All aboard! All aboard! Spring's colours are bursting out so awaken your sense of adventure and come on the journey of a lifetime with the world's greatest orchestra of teenagers. With unstoppable momentum, our intrepid musicians will whisk you from the heat and humidity of the Mexican jungle to the imperial grandeur of St Petersburg.
I remember my first NYO Inspire Day vividly. We played Swan Lake at Durham University. I was relatively new to classical music and very new to orchestral music-making so I was extremely nervous. However, I managed to find my confidence all thanks to the brilliant NYO Musicians helping me throughout the day and I loved it!
NYO 2017 transported us on a truly lively winter journey. Our 164 musicians came together for the first time in late December and spent a week rehearsing at the University of Nottingham, studying the music and perfecting every little detail with NYO Tutors, conductor John Wilson, and guest pianist Tamara Stefanovich.
Lauren Marshall, NYO’s Principal Composer, takes time out of her very busy NYO schedule to tell us about her new work Suspended between earth and air, commissioned by NYO and being performed during our Winter concert tour in Theatre Royal, Nottingham; Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London.
For our very first collaboration with Chandos Records, we are proud to announce the release of our recording featuring Holst’s The Planets and Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra – music perfectly suited to NYO and its epic forces of 164 musicians.
From 16 July to 31 August 2017 every time you give a donation two supporters of NYO will match it. Help us reach our target of £40,000!
We're teaming up with charismatic conductor John Wilson again for a concert tour of orchestral brilliance. The journey begins in the chilly isolation of outer space, lands in the middle of a lively Polish party and ends in the radiant warmth of a show stopping Russian symphony.
‘NYO is a community of teenage musicians all committed to creativity and performing music. I'm excited to be part of this special orchestra!’ - Ilai, violin
Meet our 164 brilliant teenage musicians that hail from all corners of the UK. You can discover their unique stories on our webpage - find out what orchestral piece they’re dying to play, or why they think all teenagers should listen to classical music.
If you would like to support our empowering and dynamic work with teenage musicians across the UK, then join in on the Christmas Challenge. For a limited time, all donations to us will be doubled, starting midday Tue 29 November to Fri 2 December when you donate on our special page on The Big Give website.
164 teenage musicians, 6000 people, and the unquantifiable feeling of being transfixed by live orchestral music. That’s the NYO Prom for you. We concluded our Summer Concert Tour at the Royal Albert Hall for our annual performance at the BBC Proms, receiveing a host of glowing reviews - two shining 5 stars from The Telegraph and The Times (!). You can read all the praise here.
NYO launching it's summer tour at Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
Hi! I’m Stuart Bramwell and I play in the first violins in NYO. Having just performed a stunning concert at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, we now look forward to our concerts in Symphony Hall, Birmingham and the BBC Proms. The concert tour so far has been amazing, and our sell out concert at Snape Maltings was a great start to our chain of performances.
Computer simulation of two black holes merging that lead to the detection of gravitational waves. Photo credit: The Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes
Ahead of premiering our new work Gravitational Waves by Iris ter Schiphorst, we asked astrophysicist Professor Bernard Schutz to give us a rundown on this breakthrough discovery of our time.
Open your ears to the music of the universe…
This summer, we’re shattering the earth’s horizon and venturing into cosmic dimensions of infinite space, sound, and time. Teaming up with conductor Edward Gardner again (the last time was in 2014), our 3-day concert tour sees us return to Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, and the BBC Proms from the 4th to the 6th of August.
Hi! I'm Bridget and I play the oboe. This year I took part in NYO Inspire for the first time. In February, I went to the NYO Inspire Wind Ensemble Residency where I was one of sixteen in the oboe section! I really enjoyed being part of such a big section and I learnt a lot from the other teenage musicians and our excellent tutor, Melinda Maxwell.
Today starts off a 10-day celebration of epic teenage orchestral music-making on the national level. 74 young musicians from around the UK are coming together to form our second-ever NYO Inspire Orchestra, continuing the bold mission to give breakthrough experiences of orchestral music to teenagers of all backgrounds, both as musicians and as audience members.
After 6 days of rehearsals at the University of Wolverhampton, they will embark on a 4-day concert tour of the West Midlands, bringing orchestral music to their peers in diverse places from schools to art venues to a youth centre. You can catch them in action at mac birmingham (Fri 8 July 6pm) and Forest Arts Centre (Sun 10 July 4pm) - more info here.
Photo © Simon Jay Price: Millie Ashton (NYO Leader) & Sarah Alexander (Chief Executive/Artistic Director) receiving the Ensemble Award on the behalf of NYO.
Big news for the NYO family at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards last night! We were thrilled to have been awarded the Ensemble Award for our work in 2015, and also very honoured to have been nominated alongside such a brilliant shortlist of ensembles – Chineke! Orchestra, the Fidelio Trio, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – who have all made a huge difference to the classical music industry in their own unique ways.
Four NYO Musicians teamed up with four string players from the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO), giving a joint free public performance at the Southbank Centre. This was our first project as Southbank Centre’s newest Associate Orchestra, and it was an insightful and incredible learning experience for our musicians to collaborate with top-class artists from an international orchestra. The project was part of the BFO’s vision to share classical music with a new generation, fulfilling their commitement to play side-by-side with different youth orchestras on each stop of their tour. Patrick, our co-principal second violinist, reflects on what this collaboration meant to him.
We just finished our Blaze of Youth Spring Tour, performing in three stunning halls across the UK – Royal Festival Hall in London, Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, and The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. It was a scintillating adventure, exploring and performing Stravinsky’s Firebird and Michael Daugherty’s Fire and Blood with conductor Kristjan Järvi and violinist Chad Hoopes.
We're extremely excited to announce that we are now part of Southbank Centre’s brilliant family of Resident and Associate Artists from 2016/17. We launched this partnership at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday 8 April 2016, the first concert of our Blaze of Youth Spring Tour. Along with the announcement, our concert was live-streamed on Southbank Centre’s YouTube channel and you can watch the full concert below.
Hi there! My name is Bruce and this is my third year as a NYO Musician of the bassoon section. After a short Winter Residency, it has been great being able to spend an extended period of time with the rest of the orchestra this spring, getting to know each other both musically and socially.
NYO Musicians got the royal treatment today. They met Her Majesty the Queen this morning and shared the power of peer inspiration to her as she attended an NYO Inspire session at Lister Community School in East London – all part of an incredible day to showcase the work of charities funded by our supporter The Queen’s Trust.
A huge extravaganza of teenage music-making takes over Liverpool this week from 13th to 21st of February. Kick-started last year, NYO Inspire Ensembles will return to the University of Liverpool and has grown dramatically over twice its size this time around.
Sign ups are now open NYO Inspire Days in London (20 March) and Nottingham (29 March)!
We’re excited to announce some incredible collaborations for our 2016/2017 season at the Barbican! We’re teaming up with our friend the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam this December for true orchestral brillaince.
Huge congratulations to our musicians who have made it to the category finals of BBC Young Musician! The NYO family is well-represented in this year's category finalists, making up more than half of the musicians at an astounding 11 out of 20. After having gone through an extensive audition process, current and past NYO Musicians and an NYO Inspire Musician will go on to compete on 6-10 March at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.
Presenter Margherita Taylor (left) with Sarah Alexander (right), NYO Chief Executive and Artistic Director. Photo credit: Neil Pugh
We are extremely proud to say that our very own Sarah Alexander, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of NYO, has been named Orchestra Manager of the Year at the fifth annual Association of British Orchestra/Rhinegold Awards, which honour the ‘backstage heroes’ of the classical music industry. We're honoured and grateful to be the first youth orchestra to receive this award.
Photo credit: David Levenson
After our Winter Concerts, the music didn’t stop there - we continued on to our signature Play the School events, bringing orchestral music out of the concert hall to our fellow teenagers. This year, we returned to Lister Community School and Highbury Grove School with conductor Duncan Ward (NYO Alumnus, Composer ‘05-‘07) for two full days of more music-making and peer learning.
On a beautiful sunny winter day, as the world was awaking from the haze of its post-Christmas slumber, Goldsmiths, University of London was a hive of activity as it welcomed our new orchestra – 164 of the UK’s brightest and most committed teenage musicians - for our Winter Residency. Amidst the familiar faces of returning musicians, we welcomed 82 new musicians, so nerves were to be expected.
If you ask an NYO Musician, 'What's been your most memorable experience of NYO?', the answer will nearly always be, 'My first NYO rehearsal'. Before I joined NYO, I'd wondered why people found the NYO rehearsals so special. They didn't sound like they'd be that different from other rehearsals I’d been part of, but I got to experience the difference for myself on the very first day of the Winter Residency.
After our concerts, it'll be our signature Play the School events, where we'll takeover Lister Community School and Highbury Grove School for two full days of more music-making.
Our Winter Residency is less than a week away...
'It's amazing to be a part of such a huge team working together, not just to make music to the highest quality, but to make an impact representing our generation!’ - Eleanor Walton, Viola, High Wycombe
164 teenagers, 164 unique stories, 164 different musical journeys from every corner of the UK. NYO 2016 is truly a national team of brilliant, committed, and passionate teenage musicians, hailing from Aberdeen to Bournemouth, from Cleethorpes to Truro, ready to make a difference in orchestral music.
Drum roll please… we’re very excited to announce that we are now Classic FM’s Orchestra of Teenagers.
We’re teaming up with the radio powerhouse to inspire a new generation of young people to classical music, expanding our total orchestral brilliance to an even bigger audience.
After sixty hours of intense rehearsals in Birmingham, three concerts around the UK, and one big world premiere, we ended our summer in Berlin at the youth orchestra festival, Young Euro Classic.
'Mahler himself could not have imagined it more sensitively realised.'
Classical music writer Norman Lebrecht on our playing of Mahler's Ninth Symphony and what we learned from him when he came to visit us in Birmingham.
I first heard about NYO taking on Mahler’s Ninth Symphony just over a year ago. It was not long before audition season, and I remember listening to the fourth movement on Spotify whilst wondering if I’d be lucky enough to perform it the following summer.
My name is Lily Frascina, I'm 18 from Sheffield, and very excited to have played French horn in the very first NYO Inspire Orchestra!
NYO Inspire Orchestra to tour secondary schools enabling more young musicians than ever to have breakthrough orchestral experience of NYO, and give more teenagers the chance to hear the power of brilliantly-played live orchestral music
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO), the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers, announces the creation of a new NYO Inspire Orchestra.
NYO Composers are the neutrons of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain - you rarely see them but you know they exist. They are an extended part of the orchestra. The Composers are musicians themselves and also have to audition for their spot by portfolio and interview.
We’ve been rehearsing and composing away on our Spring Residency in Durham University. It’s been exciting diving into the music with our new Associate Conductor Duncan Ward, getting to grips with the fine details and colours of our imaginative programme - Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, Percy Grainger’s The Warriors, and Unsuk Chin’s thrilling new work Mannequin.
Unsuk Chin is one of the most imaginative and celebrated composers of our time. We're thrilled to be giving the world premiere of her new work Mannequin on Thursday 9 April at Sage Gateshead. Unsuk shares her musical journey and the ideas behind her new work written especially for us in our Meet the Artist section here.
We'll be performing Mannequin on our world premiere tour around the UK. £5 tickets for under 25s at Sage Gateshead, Victoria Hall (Stoke-on-Trent), and the Royal Festival Hall (part of Strive festival).
Last weekend, NYO wind musicians gathered with teenage musicians from all over the country to take part in the Inspire Wind Ensemble at the University of Liverpool. The aim of the whole weekend was to inspire young people by forming a large ensemble to perform challenging works from the classical repertoire, as well as giving them a taster of what happens at NYO.
Hi! I'm Deronne White. I'm 17, a flautist and I attend Highbury Grove School in London. I was drawn to participate in the Inspire Wind Ensemble through auditioning for NYO and luckily being involved in the NYO music workshops that were held at my school.
After an intense and musically fulfilling past three days, here is a quick recap of what we were up to at Inspire String Ensemble.
Hi! My name is Eddie Curtis. I’m 16, a bass trombone player, and from Essex. I came to NYO Inspire Brass Ensemble to try and see what NYO life is like, and develop some of my playing techniques.
Forty brass players, the works of Rimsky-Korsakov, Grieg and Strauss all packed into three days. NYO Inspire Brass Ensemble has begun!
9 music-filled days, 130 Inspire Musicians, 72 NYO Musicians, 21 music hubs, services, organisations and 14 pieces from Purcell to Rimsky-Korsakov. It’s the very first NYO Inspire Ensemble, launching this Saturday at the University of Liverpool!
A giant orchestra of NYO Musicians and Highbury Grove Students under the baton of Zoe Martlew.
The day after our sell-out Barbican concert, I woke up buzzing, still with snippets of Respighi’s Pines of Rome playing on loop in my head. Usually I feel heavy hearted at the idea of going back to normal, non-NYO life, but not this time. Thankfully I was part of the reduced orchestra that would stay on for another three days as part of a very special project in secondary schools - NYO Inspire.
With exciting artistic plans and the launch of NYO Inspire this is an exciting moment to be part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Development Manager, Trusts and Statutory
We are seeking an experienced Trusts and Statutory Manager to join a team of five Development staff.
John Wilson's first day of the residency with the orchestra was unforgettable. That same day was also the last day with our tutor who had coached and supported us along the way. It meant now it was up to us to put everything we had learned in the past few days in practise!
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain acknowledges with great sadness the passing of Ivey Dickson OBE FRAM. Miss Dickson has been part of NYO since its inception in 1948 and her influence and legacy will always be a central part of this organisation and its future.
Two weeks, three concerts, four fantastic musical works, and five thousand people packed into the Royal Albert Hall. What a great way to finish NYO 2014.
Jenny and OSK musicians performing in Colston Hall, Bristol. (Photo credit: Chris Cooper/Shot Away)
Hi! I’m Jenny and I’ve been a flautist in NYO for two years. As soon as I heard about the project with the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste (OSK), I knew I had to get involved...
Together with the Last Post Project, we're thrilled to have been invited by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to represent the UK at a global event marking the 100th anniversary of the last day of peace before WW1.
Our five-strong ensemble of trumpet, horns, tuba and cornet - Joel Ashford, Ben Goldscheider, Matilda Lloyd, William Barnes-McCallum and Chris Karwacinski - will join performers around the world, performing a specially arranged 'Last Post' that combines the moving music of this final salute with the hymn 'Abide with Me'.
Come and join us at the Library of Birmingham, Amphitheatre this Sunday, 27 July 3pm. You can read more about the event here.
We are delighted to share the news that Britain’s world class teenage orchestra is for the first time to be funded by Arts Council England as one of its new national Portfolio organisations 2015/18.
On hearing the news Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, said: “We are very grateful for this endorsement from Arts Council England - its support of our work will create opportunities for young people to excel and take ownership of classical music. This announcement allows us to build and expand on the internationally recognised work we do with young musicians and endorses our goal to bring the sound and inspiration of NYO to every teenager in the UK through an ambitious new endeavour to expand our role and relevance.”
Being part of NYO was something I knew I always wanted to do; I especially wanted to join as a composer, as the composition section is unique to NYO and would allow me to write music for a whole symphony orchestra of exceptionally talented musicians my own age. After applying I had to...
On Friday, a group of NYO musicians travelled to Newcastle to perform in a musical adaption of the children's classic "We're going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen. This brand new adaption was composed by ex-NYO member Duncan Ward and was performed in Seven Stories (the National Children's Book Centre) to lots of excited young children and parents. Here are a few snaps from throughout the day!
NYO is supported by a committed group of Trusts and Foundations which provide an invaluable source of income for the orchestra allowing it to consistently fulfil its role as Britain's most.