The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) – the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers – returns in January 2015 for concerts in Leeds Town Hall and London’s Barbican with charismatic conductor John Wilson.
The infectious drive and characteristic youthful spirit of the 163-strong orchestra – comprised of the best young 14-19 year-old musicians in the UK – promises fresh and unmissable performances under the rigorous and inspirational baton of John Wilson. The programme includes Elgar’s Symphony No. 1, widely considered the first great British symphony, alongside Bach’s richly imaginative Fantasia and Fugue in C minor and Respighi’s impressionistic and colourful Pines of Rome.
John Wilson, famed for his work with his synonymous Orchestra, has also garnered international renown for his brilliant performances of British music. Taking the helm of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for the second time, says:
‘Working with the NYO is one of the highlights of my year. These wonderful young musicians are not only highly skilled, but have a limitless fount of energy and enthusiasm. Most of these teenagers will never have played Elgar's difficult and demanding First Symphony - it is a privilege to experience this magnificent work with them.’
Around half of the players join the orchestra for the first time, having won their place through auditions involving almost 1,000 teenagers – all of whom have at least a distinction at Grade VIII – to win their spot for 2015. Under the newly-appointed leader, 15-year-old Stephanie Childress, the orchestra boasts members from every corner of the UK – from Aberdeen to Truro, and from Guernsey to Machynlleth – and an ever broader social mix.
NYO, the only national orchestra in the world comprised exclusively of teenagers, comes together for a one-week residency at London’s Goldsmith’s College ahead of its concert tour. This is one of three residencies each year in which the young players work together, fusing intensive instrumental rehearsals with workshops addressing all aspects of musicality including voice, movement, composing and improvisation.
Rounding off their first residency of the year will be a three-day stay at Highbury Grove School, a music specialist comprehensive school in Islington, London. Supporting the orchestra’s vision of inspiring as many fellow teenagers as possible, their hands-on work will involve workshops and performances aimed at galvanising teenagers’ interest in music.
Founded in 1948, NYO has become a vital part of cultural life in the UK and a world-renowned pinnacle of artistic achievement by young players of outstanding vitality and ability. Part of its drive is to also reach the widest possible audiences, and tickets are £5 for the under 26s (under 25s at the Barbican, 4 January).