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joining in players


Bringing together around 165 players from across Britain, NYO is this country’s biggest team of teenagers. It’s a place to meet, work and play with musicians like yourself, eager to take their talents to new frontiers. It’s an opportunity to learn from inspiring professionals and make sensational music with wonderful conductors and guest artists. It’s a chance to communicate with audiences in iconic venues across the country, to share the excitement and joy you get from being a musician. It’s an experience like no other, enabling you to develop in character, confidence and musicianship, to take the lead, and make some of the best friends you’ll ever meet along the way.

In the words of 2012 member David Wong: ‘NYO is absolutely unique. We all learn so much from each other, and there’s a huge range of ideas from the conductors, tutors and soloists who give us inspiration about music, and new energy and enthusiasm to inject into whatever we do. I have learned a great deal about teamwork and team values. I’ve made lifelong friendships, which is one of the most valuable things the NYO offers: friendships forged in music. Of course, the music we play is an experience in itself. The sheer excitement of the repertoire is enough to not only please audiences, but to inspire more people to become involved in music-making.’

Every year, we hold auditions in locations throughout the UK. The orchestra is recruited anew each year, so even those who have been members already must re-audition for a place. Alongside strong technique, intonation and rhythmic sense, you should have huge energy for making music, an appetite for discovery, an open mind, and a great team spirit. Specifically, you should:

• play an orchestral instrument to a standard equivalent to Grade 8 with distinction (ABRSM/Trinity Guildhall/London College of Music) or higher, although you don’t need to have taken any exams
• be 18 or under on 1 September of the year in which the application is being made (ie 1 September 2013 for this year’s applicants)
• be a British citizen, or be resident or studying in the British Isles
• not be studying full time at a college of music or on a joint course with a music college

Current and former NYO members are entitled to re-audition so long as they are under 20 when the NYO year culminates (usually considered to be on or around 10 August – this time it’s 10 Aug 2014). Current and former members are also welcome to apply for the principal role in their section and – in the case of violinists – for Leader. To find out more about these roles, click here.

The membership fee for 2014 is yet to be confirmed. However, it is always less than one third of the actual cost to NYO of providing you with the exciting musical opportunities outlined above plus five weeks annually of accommodation, three meals daily, up-to-seven days per course of intensive tutoring, workshops and visits from a range of professional musicians, travel to venues, and pastoral support from a dedicated team. Please don’t let the cost of membership deter you from applying: if you are chosen to join NYO, you will be sent details of our Financial Support Scheme which can cover your costs in full if necessary.

Read more about the audition process

Read our FAQs

Section Principal

Being a section principal is a position of responsibility that NYO values and takes seriously. As well as leading the section musically, principals look after the well-being and unity of their section whilst working as a team with other principals to cultivate strong ensemble spirit across the orchestra. At the start of the year, principals meet with Sarah Alexander (NYO’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director) to define the values which they believe the orchestra should stand for. Training sessions preceding each course aim to cultivate skills that are relevant to the role of principal and will prove useful in other creative ventures beyond NYO. Meetings during courses enable principals to share views with the management team, evaluate progress and shape future activities. As well as demonstrating musical leadership qualities, we expect our principals to be alert, open-minded, positive team-players who are communicative, approachable and supportive, and ready to act as advocates for NYO.

The Leader of NYO should be an exceptional musician who sets a high standard for all to follow in every aspect of NYO life. They should inspire all other members in their level of preparation, their engagement with repertoire, their positive attitude and enthusiastic participation in all activities beyond rehearsals, and the respect and consideration they show to all other participants. Working alongside the other principals, the Leader should motivate all members to take initiative and play with equal commitment, energy, passion and accuracy, wherever they are sitting. They are a figurehead for the orchestra, building key relationships through regular dialogue with the Director, conductors NYO staff. They are expected to be a passionate advocate for the NYO experience, able to articulate its values fluently, inspiring other young musicians and supporters in our concert programmes, media coverage, at open days, workshops and other encounters with the public. Support and training will help them achieve this uniquely significant and exciting role.

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The National Youth Orchestra is a registered charity no 290598 and a company registered in England no 1858278. VAT reg no 218 6738 40.

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