On Wednesday 6 August, 22 members of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain (NCO) had the privilege of joining forces with the European Union Youth Orchestra at the world-famous Royal Albert Hall.
The lucky musicians were from two of the NCO’s five age-banded Orchestras – Under 12 and Under 13. The repertoire included Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance and Ravel’s Bolero, and after a 90 minute rehearsal, they delivered an amazing performance to family and friends. The children’s infectious enthusiasm and incredible talent wowed the audience. It was apparent to all listening that for many of these children their musical careers will see them return to perform at the Royal Albert Hall and, indeed, the BBC Proms.
“It is a musician’s dream to perform at the Royal Albert Hall!” said Nicholas Bacon, violinist with the NCO’s Under 13 Orchestra. “I loved playing alongside brilliant musicians, I learnt so much working in an orchestra of 165 members under a fantastic and inspirational young conductor and to be playing at the Royal Albert Hall – well how can you possibly beat that!”
Elliott Neal, double bassist agreed: “It was a real inspiration to work with young professional players and really showed what we may be able to do in years to come”..
Roger Clarkson, NCO’s Principal Director of Music expressed his gratitude both to Marshall Marcus, CEO of EUYO, for providing this fantastic opportunity, and to the BBC Proms team for their welcome and superb organisation. “It was heart warming to see a number of familiar faces in EUYO who were Alumni of NCO-GB” he said, “all of whom remember NCO with fondness”.
NCO Chairman, Peter Stark, said: “The influence and impact of this wonderful organisation continues to develop apace. The acclaimed performances of the five national age-banded orchestras astonish, with audience and staff continually remarking on the unbelievable standards achieved. The six regional orchestras and Associate Membership scheme are taking the name of NCO to an ever increasing market place and giving invaluable opportunities to more and more young musicians. No one should be under the misapprehension that this organisation produces performances that sound as though played by children!”
The National Children’s Orchestras provides exceptional orchestral training to musically talented children between the ages of 7 and 14 irrespective of background and financial circumstances. Its orchestras regularly enthral audiences at some of the finest concert venues in the country, performing repertoire usually confined to adult professional orchestras. NCO’s performances are renowned for their intensity, vivacity and commitment, but above all their professionalism. This summer has seen the NCO’s Under 12 Orchestra perform at Birmingham Town Hall and the Main Orchestra perform at Colston Hall, Bristol; both performances receiving five star reviews in the press. On Saturday 16 August, NCO’s Under 13 Orchestra will take to the stage of Leeds Town Hall to perform a programme that includes Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue.
NCO performing at Leeds Town Hall