National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

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The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) is an orchestra for young musicians in the United Kingdom. The members of the orchestra are all aged between 13 and 19 years. It is a very large orchestra with about 150 players. Children who want to play in the National Youth Orchestra have to be able to play their instrument very well. They need to be at least Grade 8 Distinction standard and they need to be very good at sightreading so that they can learn very quickly. They have to pass an audition to get a place in the orchestra. These auditions take place in the autumn in several towns in Britain.

The National Youth Orchestra was started in 1947 by Ruth Railton (later Dame Ruth King). The current director is Sarah Alexander.

The orchestra meet three times a year during the school holidays at New Year, Easter and Summer for about two weeks. They rehearse very hard together and then give one or two concerts in famous concert halls in Britain such as Barbican Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, St David's Hall in Cardiff and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. Every year they play in a Promenade Concert in the Royal Albert Hall. In 2007 they played the Leningrad Symphony by Shostakovich at the Proms. In June that year they played at the Glastonbury Festival. The trumpeters and drummers woke people up with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man In April 2008 the NYO played Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in Birmingham Symphony Hall, and in August they will play at the Snape Maltings and at the BBC Proms conducted by Antonio Pappano with the pianist Boris Berezovsky as soloist.

The concerts are always conducted by famous conductors. Usually the famous conductor will come to rehearse the orchestra for the last few days of the course.

During their courses they also have time to play chamber music together. They are taught by teachers who are famous musicians. Some of them are young composers who are learning to compose music. They are taught by the composer Paul Patterson. The musicians also have time to explore music from other cultures.

The NYO also has Open Days for slightly younger children to explore music.

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