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National Open Youth Orchestra


National Open Youth Orchestra Debut Concert

We’re so excited to finally premiere What Fear We Then? live. We had a very short period of time before the pandemic hit, where musicians were able to workshop Alexander Campkin’s initial ideas for the piece in rehearsal.

NOYO saxophonist Jamie Moody says 'It’s been amazing playing a piece that has only been composed in the past few years and having a living composer who could talk to us about his feelings behind the piece and not only give feedback but also listen to our suggestions.

I think one of the most rewarding aspects of NOYO is feeling like an active participant in the things that we play. All too often in a lot of other music groups, you tend to play from the same repertoire of classical and romantic and baroque pieces, and the interpretations and expressions of that music will either be based on how every other orchestra has played these pieces, or how the conductor thinks it should be played. It's really great to just open up the idea of questions and suggestions. And it turns out, I think, a much more enriched and rewarding experience, both as a musician playing the piece and as an audience member hearing it.'

NOYO harpist Holli Pandit adds: 'I really enjoyed the process of having the workshop with Alexander, just talking about what he wanted with the piece and how we should transfer that to how we play it. Lots of the music we play, you wouldn't really get that in a stereotypical classical music concert. I believe that the whole point of NOYO is to prove that a disabled-led orchestra can punch above the weight of society's expectations of how disabled musicians can create music. 

We believe that it's best if disabled and non-disabled musicians can integrate together, and then we can come up with fresh new ideas and be more creative, explore different parts of music. I don’t think I would ever have played What Fear We Then? in a classical kind of orchestra at all. We wouldn’t have the instruments! It brings a different kind of element of programming. We can be freer with the music.'


Harold Arlen / Gordon Duncan Sleeping Rainbows (mash-up, arr. Doug Bott & Charlie Groves)
Liam Taylor-West Day One (arr. Doug Bott)
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Variations on an African Air (new arrangement by Charlie Groves)
Oliver Cross Barriers (world premiere)
Alexander Campkin What Fear We Then? (NOYO & Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra co-commission, world premiere, arr. Doug Bott)
Antonio Vivaldi Spring (decomposed) (new arrangement by Charlie Groves)
Hans Zimmer Time (new arrangement by Charlie Groves)

NOYO Musicians

David Mac accordion
Jamie Moody alto saxophone
Luke Christian alto saxophone
Connor Bates cello
Alessandro Vazzana clarion
Leo Manh-Carstensen clarion
Elle Nanagara electric guitar
Jake Carswell electric guitar
Rhian Davies flute
Ellen O’Brien french horn
Georgina Spray french horn
Oliver Cross harmonica & bass synthesizer
Holli Pandit harp & percussion
Sally Kidson LinnStrument
Leo Long percussion
Miruna Spiridon piano
Ben Evans Seaboard RISE
Torin Van Breda tenor horn
Ben Bryan trombone
Rhys Stokes trumpet
Sam Carter trumpet
Francesca Shannon violin
Lizzie O’Brien violin
Sophia Breeze violin
Oscar Abbott xylophone & vibraphone

National Open Youth Orchestra

The National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) is the world’s first disabled-led national youth ensemble. It was 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.

NOYO collaborates with cutting-edge composers to create exciting new music for a diverse range of musicians and instruments. When in 2018 Liam Taylor-West won a British Composer Award for “The Umbrella”, our first commission, he talked of a creative process involving the young musicians. This is still central to NOYO’s approach to music-making.

NOYO is a collaborative partnership, a programme of charity Open Up Music delivered in partnership with some of the UK’s leading arts and cultural organisations, who together act as regional NOYO Centres: Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, Bristol Beacon in Bristol, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Bournemouth, Midlands Arts Centre, B:Music and Services For Education in Birmingham.

It is generously supported by founding sponsor ABRSM, Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Boshier-Hinton Foundation, Steel Charitable Trust, The Radcliffe Trust, Borrows Charitable Trust and The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.

We would like to thank every single person and organisation that has helped to make the National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) a reality.  

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