Pioneering National Open Youth Orchestra announces debut performances and world premiere from April to June 2022

Four relaxed BSL-Interpreted performances:

·       24 April – Milton Court Concert Hall, London, 4-5pm

·       15 May – St George’s Bristol, 4-5pm

·       22 May – Lighthouse, Poole (live and streaming), 4-5.30pm 

·       5 June 2022 – Town Hall, Birmingham, 4-5pm

The National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) has announced its first ever series of concerts taking place across the UK from April to June 2022.

The series includes:

●      First performances of a ground-breaking national youth orchestra where talented young disabled and non-disabled musicians play together

●      Live premiere of ‘What Fear We Then?’, by Alexander Campkin, co-commissioned with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

●      Accessible and electronic instruments such as the ClarionLinnStrument and Seaboard RISE alongside more familiar acoustic instruments

●      Double-headliner concert with BSO Resound at Lighthouse, Poole

The National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) is a world first, an ambitious orchestra launched in September 2018 to give some of the UK’s most talented young disabled musicians a progression route. It promotes musical excellence, supporting 11-25 year-old disabled and non-disabled musicians to rehearse and perform together as members of a pioneering inclusive ensemble. Some of the National Open Youth Orchestra musicians play acoustic instruments; others, electronic instruments like the Clarion, which can be played with any movement of the body. NOYO collaborates with cutting-edge composers to create exciting new music for a diverse range of musicians and instruments.

Across this new concert series, audiences will enter a captivating musical universe where the familiar merges with the unknown across a broad ranging contemporary classical programme.

In four separate concerts, over twenty of the UK’s most talented young disabled and non-disabled musicians will take to the stage together for the first time as NOYO, playing exciting new music inspired by the diversity of the orchestra.

NOYO will present a beautiful new work, What Fear We Then?’ by Alexander Campkin, co-commissioned with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Commenting on the collaboration with NOYO, Alexander Campkin says:

“It took me on a journey of discovery – a journey of questioning myself and my own background. I’ve used my own personal journey to depict the story of this piece. I started playing the viola when I was a child, but then when I was 17, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Suddenly I was told, no, you can’t play anymore because you have this disability.

I didn’t tell anyone I’d been diagnosed with MS. It was a secret that put an extra barrier. I was hiding for almost 20 years. And it was only a couple of years ago that I was open and suddenly the world felt a bit easier.

This process [of writing the piece] began with me attending rehearsals in NOYO’s three centres in Bournemouth, Bristol and in London, to get to meet the players and them showing me their talents – what they could play on their instruments, some of which I’d never come across before, for instance the Clarion. I then wrote some sketches. We tried them out.

There are so many things that we can do to level the playing field, to really give people the opportunity to perform music where perhaps traditional acoustic instruments wouldn’t be possible. It’s so inspiring seeing NOYO work around any barriers that musicians might have to be able to realise their artistic visions.”

The afternoon’s music will be a joyful celebration of diversity as a creative force that can push the boundaries of classical and contemporary music in exciting new directions.

NOYO harpist, Holli, who is in her third year with the orchestra says “I like the word influential to describe NOYO. A lot of the music we play, you wouldn’t really get that in a stereotypical classical music concert. It brings a different kind of element of programming.”


What Fear We Then? Alexander Campkin

Day One Liam Taylor-West

Variations on an African Air Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (new arr.)

Sleeping Rainbows Harold Arlen / Traditional (mash-up)

Comptine d’un autre été, l’après-midi Yann Tiersen (new arr.)

Spring (decomposed) Antonio Vivaldi (new arr.)

Time Hans Zimmer (new arr.)

Barriers Oliver Cross

Additional information for the Lighthouse, Poole concert:

National Open Youth Orchestra and BSO Resound

Lighthouse Poole, 22 May 2022 – 4-5.30pm. Relaxed performance

This concert performed to physical audiences and live streamed to online audiences will be available to view for 30 days after the concert.

It will be a thrilling musical experience and a momentous occasion as NOYO musicians share their debut performance at Lighthouse, Poole with BSO Resound, the world’s first professional disabled-led ensemble at the core of a major symphony orchestra.

Together, they will present an original version of Alexander Campkin’s What Fear We Then?’, arranged for the joint ensemble. Like many pieces commissioned by the National Open Youth Orchestra, Alexander Campkin’s composition was written in ‘modular’ form, so it can be adapted flexibly for any number of musicians on a wide variety of instruments, evolving through different versions for each ensemble.

This celebratory joint set will also feature new arrangements of ‘Spring’ by Vivaldi and ‘Time’ by Hans Zimmer.

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra says: “We are delighted to help introduce the National Open Youth Orchestra to our audience on the South Coast. The joint commission of What Fear We Then?’ and the involvement of BSO Resound reflects our commitment to nurturing the talent of young musicians, disabled and non-disabled. We invite audiences to discover a hugely creative youth ensemble that showcases how diversity can open up exciting new musical possibilities and opportunities for the next generation.”

Tickets for the 2022 National Open Youth Orchestra concerts are on sale now.

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