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.
The original performances at the Southbank Centre were set to be a festival of music making of all ages, with a whole host of performing groups including Kinetika Bloco, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Finchley Children’s Music Group, Only Boys Aloud and Southbank Centre’s Voicelab, conducted by Marin Alsop as part of the Global Ode to Joy project. So, in lockdown, NYO invited EVERYONE across the UK to take part in the performance, and created the sheet music to be downloaded from the NYO website.
The response was staggering: thousands of musicians from all corners of the UK shared their performances with hashtag #NYOdetoJoy and a dedication which was personal to them. Together we joined a huge community to show our support whilst demonstrating music’s incredible power to lift our spirits and bring us together.
In the days leading up to the NYO Ode to Joy-a-thon, musicians all took part of a week-long digital residency where we spent time playing together in small groups, creating multi-track videos, perfecting 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.
NYO is a charity, and we are doing our best to continue to be a musical community at this time, powered by incredible teenagers who are dedicated to inspiring others through music. We know music is more vital than ever before as we navigate this lockdown period, and our teenage musicians are so excited to rise to the challenge of sharing more music with you than ever before. If you feel able to support NYO financially to ensure we are able to continue sharing music more widely, and prepare for a joyful return to schools and concert halls around the country, we would be extremely grateful. Please donate to NYO here.