The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) has announced its 2019 orchestra and season. The 164 teenage musicians represent every region in the country and have been selected following 76 days of auditions held in 11 cities across the country where 710 musicians took part in auditions. Together they will tour major UK concert halls, volunteer 1,000 combined hours to NYO Inspire, and give a debut performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall as part of plans for the orchestra’s first ever tour to the USA.


NYO believes in instilling its teenage musicians with a sense of personal responsibility for inspiring other teenagers, the future performers and audiences for orchestral music. In 2019, NYO musicians will volunteer over 1,000 hours of their time, engaging with 1,000 teenage musicians through NYO Inspire and giving 6,500 live concert experiences to teenagers in secondary schools. As cuts to funding for music provision in schools take hold, NYO Inspire – which provides targeted pathways for musicians from state school and BAME backgrounds – is oversubscribed. Through in-depth workshops, rehearsals, and public performances, NYO Inspire events offer the opportunity to develop ensemble playing skills, meet enthusiastic musicians from across the country, and work closely with NYO musicians and tutors.

Reflecting the success of NYO Inspire, 53 of the 164 musicians gaining a place in NYO 2019 have taken part in NYO Inspire activity, the highest figure since the founding of the programme in 2015. Included in this is the NYO 2019 Leader Kynan Walker, aged 16 from Birmingham, who first took part in NYO Inspire in 2016.

“Before taking part in NYO Inspire I had no intention of pursuing a music career, nor did I ever think I’d achieve a place in NYO. The incredible tutoring I received through the programme and the musicians I met opened my eyes and inspired me to work harder and aim higher. I am thrilled to achieve the role of NYO Leader in 2019 and it would not have been possible without the countless opportunities NYO Inspire has given me.” Kynan Walker, Leader of NYO 2019


Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of all the work that NYO does, and giving young people inspirational role models and support are central to NYO’s ethos. NYO 2019 retains its gender balance of previous years, and sees female musicians in leadership positions within the orchestra including principal trumpet, principal viola, principal horn and principal composer. This balance of representation is carried through to those with leadership positions within the musical and staff teams, including NYO tutors, Management, Support Team and Board. NYO 2019 comprises 52% from the state sector, an increase on 2018, and 17% from specialist music schools – of which 99% are on government bursaries. 19% of musicians identify as non-white which is ahead of the 14.1% national average*.


NYO 2019 will meet for the first time this December, rehearsing in residence at the University of Warwick with conductor Kirill Karabits – Chief Conductor of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Together they will explore music inspired by human anxieties in a changing modern world, including John Adams’s Doctor Atomic Symphony, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 and a new arrangement of Rick Dior’s Science Fiction which has been specially re-orchestrated for NYO and will be performed alongside a film projection featuring sci-fi movie scenes. Presented by NYO musicians, it tours Warwick Arts Centre (4 January), London’s Barbican (5 January) and Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall (7 January).

NYO returns to the Barbican in February to take part in the world premiere performance of a new “National Anthem” written by British Indian musician Nitin Sawhney. The piece reflects the highs and lows of Brexit and reflects on modern day characteristics of Great Britain: multi-culturalism, diversity and openness.

Celebrating the power of music to build bridges, NYO is joined by Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto in April to explore music by American and Latin American composers. Pianist Xiayin Wang will perform Gershwin’s Piano Concerto, and the concert also includes Copland’s Symphony No. 3 and music by Mexican composers Ruvueltas and Chavez. It tours Southbank Centre (12 April), Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (13 April) and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall (14 April).

NYO’s plans to achieve its first ever USA tour were announced earlier this year alongside a major fundraising campaign chaired by David Warburton MP. Centred around an invitation to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall, plans for the tour also include a performance at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, cultural exchange with fellow teenagers from NYO USA and side-by-side projects. The programme will include Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto performed by Nicola Benedetti and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The performance also tours in the UK to Stoke on Trent Festival (25 July) and Saffron Hall (26 July).

“This is a great opportunity to put the UK’s famous National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain to a world stage and to forge links with other teenage musicians through NYO’s internationally admired model for teenage engagement, and peer mentoring. Everyone in and around NYO will be busy fundraising to support the tour and I am delighted to welcome David Warburton MP to lead our funding campaign”. Dame Liz Forgan DBE, Chair of NYO

Continuing NYO’s commitment to building teenage audiences and with thanks to support from Classic FM, tickets remain £5 for under 25s. NYO Teen Hangout events which are free for young concertgoers will provide a space for young people to relax before all NYO concerts. In its 2019 season NYO also launches a series of free pre-concert NYO Come and Play workshops where teenage musicians of all abilities can expand their concert-going experience even further by playing side-by-side with NYO musicians.

NYO’s Young Promoters programme continues to grow in 2019. NYO Young Promoters are a team of dedicated teenagers from across the UK who share NYO’s passion for orchestral music. Those selected will have the opportunity to gain experience and develop wide-ranging skills in event management, stage management, presentation and communications. They will responsible for promoting and hosting NYO’s workshops and performances in their schools, and produce NYO’s series of pre-concert Teen Hangout events at concert halls throughout the country.

NYO also continues its broadcast relationship with BBC Radio 3, who will transmit performances across the season.


© 1999 - 2019 www.classicalsource.com Limited. All Rights Reserved