NYO news

taking orchestral music beyond the concert hall

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. As always, our workshops and musical sharings spanned a wide range of music from pop song ‘Photograph’ by Ed Sheeran/Johnny McDaid to Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. Most exciting of all, we shared our skills and love for orchestral music with 400 young musicians in workshops, and gave a schoolwide musical sharing that reached nearly 700 teenagers. 

For the first time, we teamed up with some dynamite NYO Young Promoters from both Lister and Highbury Grove, who worked hard months in advance organising and getting the buzz going about Play the School. They made sure everything ran smoothly on the day, fabulously presented the concert, and spearheaded our #HelloNYO social media campaign. Big thanks to all of our superstar NYO Young Promoters: 

Lister Community School - Danielle Abbia Kwayke, Jazmin Ahmed, Tahia Ajrin, Carlos Byles, Sarah Carvalho, Kwabena Dalloway, Ricky Dam, Silviu Gaitan, Kiara Graham-Morris, Jessica Leedham, Darshanaa Patel, Shafinur Rehman, Emilija Sakaviciute

Highbury Grove School - Ryanne Binns, Melisa Bolat, Sabrina Boudali, Amara Brown, Rhian Graham-Benjamin, Griffin Knipe, Feven Mezghebe, Joya Molyneux, Poppy Rawlings, Oliver Szczepanski.

Here’s a taste of what we got up to at Play the School.


Lister Community School

NYO Young Promoters proudly showing off #HelloNYO! 

Jumping right into a full rehearsal workshop on the second movement of Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony. 

NYO Musician Matt guiding a Lister musician through the clarinet part.

Splitting off into sectionals, NYO Musician Jedidiah shares some top tips with a Lister violinist.


Getting ready for our schoolwide sharing - NYO Young Promoter Ricky handing out programmes to the excited audience.

NYO Young Promoters Kwabena, Carlos, and Darshanaa (left to right) enthusiastically introduce Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and talk about why they’re excited to hear us share the piece.


Now for the highlight of the day, the musical sharing of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 is in full swing with Duncan Ward conducting. We shared the spotlight with Lister musicians, who joined us for the second movement of the symphony – the culmination of what they learned in the workshops earlier in the day.

Every nook and cranny of Lister Community School is filled with audience members!

After our musical sharing, there was still more music-making in store. We had our Come and Play session with Lister students and teachers, where we played side-by-side and rehearsed a number of pop pieces with a big focus on ‘Photograph’ by Ed Sheeran/Johnny McDaid.

We even had our own section of singers…

A special guitar section…

And the glorious Lister Big Band with teachers and students!

Highbury Grove School

NYO Young Promoters are ready to say #HelloNYO!


Starting the morning in a full rehearsal workshop with Highbury Grove musicians and getting into the grooves of pop song ‘Photograph’ by Ed Sheeran and Johnny McDaid


And look who came to support us? ‘Photograph’ songwriter and rock star Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol!

He left us a special message.

Now splitting off to sectionals - here’s NYO flautist and Highbury Grove student Deronne working with his fellow classmates 

Eleanor, NYO Principal Oboe, working with a Highbury Grove oboist.

Zoë, NYO Principal Trumpet, leads the trumpet section in getting to grips with Prokofiev. 


Back in our full rehearsal workshop, percussionist Jonathan gives some rhythmic pointers to a Highbury Grove percussionist before our big musical sharing.


In between all these activities, there was a slither of time for London Live TV to interview Derrone, NYO Musician and Highbury Grove student. For the camera, Deronne shares about his love of contributing back to his school and inspiring his fellow classmates in music. 


Our Young Promoters speedily setting up the chairs for our schoolwide musical sharing.


Young Promoters Oliver and Ryanne tell their personal stories about why listening to orchestral music matters and give a passionate introduction to Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.


And we take off through the soaring and mighty sounds of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. See everyone next year for more Play the School.

Third party cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of these cookies. If you would like to review what is used and how to opt out please click our cookie policy here.