Live music is back, powered by hundreds of incredible musicians across the country!
We were so proud to celebrate our return to the concert platform through NYO's Hope Exchange, with performances at Saffron Hall, Royal Festival Hall, London, Birmingham Symphony Hall, the BBC Proms, and Leeds Town Hall in two weeks filled with orchestral music. NYO’s teenagers came together in what was a radical act of hope, working in smaller ensembles to allow for social distancing, and performed four linked musical programmes in five concerts across the country: at Saffron Hall, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Leeds Town Hall and at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms. Each programme explored ways in which music embodies hope for a better world, culminating in a three-way exchange of hope, between NYO musicians, composers inspired by hope, and our audiences whose act of listening makes our hopes a lived reality.
Through a nationwide series of concerts, workshops and performances in primary and secondary schools, digital activities, playlists and residencies, The Hope Exchange performances were all united by the theme that music is the lifeblood of hope: we'll be sharing clips from some of these performances over the coming weeks.
In our long-awaited comeback to the Royal Albert Hall stage, we were joined by the incredible conductor Jonathon Heyward and stellar violinist Nicola Benedetti.
NYO’s performance at the BBC Proms encompassed the endless potential of youth in a repertoire reflecting on hope – where ideals and reality wrestle and are reconciled. Featuring Beethoven’s bold ‘Eroica’ Symphony, Jessie Montgomery’s bright & hopeful Banner, Prokofiev’s powerful Violin Concerto with soloist Nicola Benedetti and CHANT, a new commission by young composer Laura Jurd, NYO musicians gave a soaring performance in a concert hall filled with energy, smiles and emotion.
NYO’s performance at the BBC Proms was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and will be available to listen until 11 October via BBC Sounds. The performance was also broadcast on BBC Four on 8 August and is available to watch via BBC iPlayer for two months.
The reviews are in, here’s what the critics say…
'The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain gave a ferociously committed, exuberant and exhilarating performance of Beethoven’s Third and a buzzing new piece by Laura Jurd.'
★★★★★ The Guardian
'NYO can command tight-knit elegance as well as wall-shaking exuberance.'
★★★★ The Arts Desk
'We know the NYOGB can do passion, but this cool frenzy was something else.'
'This is what an orchestra can be like in the 21st century: an ensemble that speaks with one voice yet also gives voice to each of its members.'
★★★ The Times
'An uplifting and thought provoking occasion.'
(For NYO's performance in Leeds Town Hall on 8 August).
'The theme for the Finale was from Beethoven’s 1801 Prometheus ballet and from Heyward and the NYO it had a transcendent unity of purpose and cumulative expressive impact that suggested the feeling of life renewing itself and the future being faced head-on by the music rushing to its empathic climax.'
NYO’s digital programme is also available to download free of charge, on this page.
Photography by © Chris Christodoulou / BBC Proms.