The National Youth Orchestra is now one of our partner orchestras – here are 8 reasons we’re completely thrilled

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain has decades of experience inspiring the country's brilliant young musicians. Now the fantastic ensemble has become Classic FM’s Orchestra of Teenagers and we're absolutely over the moon.

National Youth Orchestra

Its alumni include Sir Simon Rattle, Alison Balsom and Sir Mark Elder

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain has been a training ground for some of the very best musicians from these shores – including conductors Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder (who played percussion and bassoon respectively), and trumpet player Alison Balsom. That would be one heck of a reunion bash.

Alison Balsom Paris cover


It was founded in the 1940s

The conductor Adrian Boult was its first president, followed by Benjamin Britten and, later, Colin Davis (below). Not bad.

Sir Colin Davis (1927-2013): A Life In Pictures


They play some ridiculously difficult music

Like Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra. All the young musicians in the orchestra are Grade 8+ and they've all auditioned for a place in the ensemble.


But then they also do stuff like this

Which we are so on board with. 

The NYO Inspire Orchestra – completely rocking 'Uptown Funk' it has to be said – was set up with the aim of giving teenagers of all backgrounds experience of orchestral music both as musicians and audience members.

It was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2012 – and the Duchess of Cornwall is its Royal Patron 

And here are some musicians from the orchestra with HRH the Duchess of Cornwall herself.

NYO and the Duchess of Cornwall

They hear a great concerto and they can't help playing along

Like when they came in to visit us in the studio:



The musicians are great even without their instruments

As this video demonstrates…

Under 25? You can get a ticket for just £5!

The NYO is keen not just to inspire the musicians of the future but also the classical music audiences of the future. So if you’re under 25 you can buy tickets to their concerts for just £5. Visit the NYO website for more information.



And finally, we’re thrilled because of this

It’s a quote from one of the first ever musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain after they'd received their letter telling them they'd made it into the ensemble. And we think it perfectly sums up the inspirational work of the NYO – Classic FM’s Orchestra of Teenagers.

National Youth Orchestra quote