Today, Tuesday 4 June 2024, applications open for Overture, the Royal Ballet and Opera’s orchestra mentoring programme, in collaboration with Black Lives in Music and the National Open Youth Orchestra

Established in 2023 by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Overture provides tailored opportunities for young musicians aged 18-25 years who currently encounter barriers in their musical training.  

Each Season musicians are partnered with a member of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, and mentored throughout the 2024/25 Season. Applications are open to those who identify as being from an underrepresented group, including (but not limited to), global majority, Disabled, LGBTQ+, and from a low-socio economic background, and play one of the offered instruments. See the full list on the website. The deadline for the first stage of applications is Monday 1 July 2024

Lucy Irving, a clarinet mentee in the 2022/23 Season said: ‘When I was accepted onto the Overture programme it gave me a huge confidence boost, and it has been a real privilege to be taught by someone who has been in the industry for so long. Through Principal Bass Clarinet Marina Finnamore’s expert mentorship, I have really developed as a musician. She has made me think more deeply about my breathing and support whilst playing, the shape of the music, and the overall sound quality that I produce. This great advice has led to a really noticeable difference in my playing.’ 

Opportunities will be tailored to each individual and will include side by side rehearsal sessions playing alongside members of the OROH across ballet and opera productions, audition preparation, private rehearsals and pastoral support from Black Lives in Music and National Open Youth Orchestra. 

Roger Wilson, Director of Operations, Black Lives in Music said: ‘Black Lives in Music are thrilled to be working with the Royal Opera House on Overture. This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with world class musicians and staff from one of the world’s grand opera houses.  It’s been great to see the impact the initiative has already made, but equally, we know that Overture can very positively touch the lives of so many more aspiring young musicians.  I’m excited to see the launch of the next cohort and wholeheartedly look forward to meeting the musicians who will be taking part.  We hope to see as many young people as possible applying, it’s a unique opportunity.’  

Koen Kessels, Music Director of The Royal Ballet said: ‘It’s truly wonderful to bring together young musicians with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House to make music. Exploring ballet and opera repertoire in this way – and working with exceptional dancers from the Royal Ballet – is an exciting and inspirational opportunity for everyone involved. Our mentees really learn the importance of connecting with other musicians in the Orchestra, the conductor and the dancers on stage, whilst our mentors enjoy sharing their expertise and passing on their knowledge to the next generation. It’s great to see everyone joining together to create this wonderful artform.’ 

Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera said: ‘The Royal Ballet and Opera is known for its development and support of young artists and that very much includes the Orchestra. Talent development is something that I have always been passionate about and I loved working with those in the inaugural year of Overture alongside our wonderful musicians. I would encourage anyone eligible to apply and I look forward to seeing the next generation of opera orchestral musicians have flourishing careers.’ 

For more information and to apply, visit www.roh.org.uk/about/orchestra/orchestra-mentorship