The National Schools Symphony Orchestra has established itself as one of the foremost youth orchestras in the United Kingdom.
Founded in 1994, NSSO is the bridge by which the nation’s most talented young musicians can cross the testing waters from the front desks of our excellent county youth orchestras and leading school orchestras to the ranks of the National Youth Orchestra and, for some, the UK’s professional scene.
Each NSSO course seeks to bring together approximately 100 committed young players between the ages of 13 and 19 for a week of high-quality orchestral music under the baton of leading international conductors and with the assistance of a hand-picked team of expert instrumental tutors, each recognised professional orchestral players in their own right. Through a combination of challenging programmes, uplifting rehearsals and inspirational musicianship, NSSO endeavours to provide our young players with a realistic taste of the professional orchestral world and many of our players have gone on to perform not only with NYO, but also with some of the world’s leading orchestras.
The National Schools Symphony Orchestra provides all the foundations necessary for building a future as an orchestral musician, whether professional or enthusiastic amateur. For three days at the start of the course the young players work largely with specialist instrumental coaches, developing their technical ability in a sectional environment. As the week progresses, the students move first to “full sectionals” (wind, brass and strings) before coming together for the climax of the week in full orchestral rehearsals which can shake the rafters and tingle the spine. Repertoire is challenging, varied and engaging, giving the musicians the opportunity to experience some of the truly great works, from Elgar’s Cello Concerto, through Strauss’ Four Last Songs to Mahler’s titanic symphonies.
The course is always held in a residential school with good, modern boarding and leisure facilities and whilst music is at NSSO’s heart, the body is filled out with a wide variety of social activities under the supervision of a passionate and experienced pastoral team, many of whom have played with NSSO in the past. Students may find themselves playing rounders against their tutors one evening and kwik cricket against a rival section the next. NSSO firmly believes that the friendships and contacts developed at this age will be vital supports for our students as their careers, musical or otherwise, progress.
The National Schools Symphony Orchestra will extend and deepen any young instrumentalist’s experience of orchestral playin and is thriving on the talent and drive of its members. Auditions are held each year for new members and details are provided provided in the “Taking Part” section of this website.
We look forward to welcoming you to NSSO as you begin, or continue, your journey as a young orchestral musician.
13th – 20th July 2014
How do I apply?
Go to the Applications page and download an application form.