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.
These quickly disappeared however as they got down to business – five days of intense rehearsals alongside Principal and Tutor-led sectionals in preparation for our Winter concert tour led by Nicholas Collon, an NYO alumni, who lead the Orchestra for the very first time. Joined by violin soloist Tai Murray, our concerts at the Barbican and Leeds Town Hall ‘all but raised the roof’ (Telegraph) and received some incredible reviews. You can download our full roundup of reviews here. And if you missed us live in concert, you can listen to our Barbican performance on BBC iPlayer for this whole month.
‘The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain describes itself as "the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers”. And I’m not going to dispute the label, especially after this dashing concert, conducted with bright eyes and incisive gestures by Nicholas Collon, a former NYO player himself. To judge from those powerfully sorrowing lower strings at the start of Tchaikovsky’s Hamlet overture, these teenagers had already been through life’s wringer. Maturity also roared from the brass, whose venomous harmonies landed like boxers’ knockout blows. If all 2016’s musical Shakespeare throbs like this, we’re in for a blistering year.’ - The Times, 4 stars
‘As it does annually, the National Youth Orchestra set the New Year alight, with a concert that all but raised the roof… [In] Korngold’s Violin Concerto, the young players proved they were capable of tact and finesse as well as power.’ - The Telegraph, 3 stars
‘The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s standard of playing is consistently impressive, so much so that it’s easy to forget that the ensemble is effectively reconstituted from scratch each autumn. Last night’s fresh incarnation, deftly conducted by Nicholas Collon, sounded as if they’d been playing together for decades, though without any sense of complacency which that might bring....this account of Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony was immaculate.’ - The Arts Desk, 5 stars
‘The orchestra got Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary off to a rousing start with Tchaikovsky’s 10-minute summation of the Bard’s longest tragedy.’ - The Guardian, 4 stars