Welcome to the
National Schools Symphony Orchestra

2021 Applications are open

We look forward to welcoming you to Malvern in 2021, and an exciting return to live music-making.  Our thanks and congratulations to all who took part in our hugely successful Digital Celebration in 2020, which was great fun, but no substitute for the amazing experience of being together with other like-minded young people and making music live in the superb facilities of Malvern College.

NSSO Academy and NSSO Sinfonia – Thursday 8th July to Sunday 11th July 2021
NSSO Big Band – Sunday 11th July – Sunday 18th July 2021
NSSO Conducting Course – Sunday 11th July – Sunday 18th July 2021
NSSO Philharmonic – Thursday 15 July to Sunday 18 July 2021

NSSO 2021 will look a little different to previous years – shorter courses, allowing for fewer people on site if necessary – but, along with our Covid procedures, we are confident we can ensure the safety of our members, staff and their families. Joyfully optimistic that we will all meet again in the summer, we are very much looking forward to welcoming new and returning musicians.

Please note, there are no places available for flutes, clarinets or trumpets in Philharmonic and Sinfonia, and no vacancies for horns or cellos in Sinfonia.  There is only one place left on our unique Conducting Course.


In late March 2020, when lockdown overtook the country, many arts and educational organisations, in the UK and beyond, postponed or cancelled most, or indeed all, of their events and activities. At NSSO we resolutely embraced change rather than postponement or cancellation and launched Project Sunrise with our partners GoodMusic Publishing and PartPlay. Midway through the audition cycle and ensembles not yet complete, our members still submitted almost 200 media files to create a virtual performance of the opening of Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss.

Watch NSSO’s Digital Celebration

As lockdown continued it was clear that the 2020 course could no longer be the annual meeting of more than 200 young musicians for a week at Malvern College. So, following the huge success of Project Sunrise, we launched a three-month long Digital Celebration of our combined musical talent.

We provided members with the opportunity and materials to take part in more virtual performances (supported by our tutors), chamber music, multi-piano ensembles and singing projects, as well as a prize competition each month.  There was also support and encouragement from Nicola Benedetti, Vasily Petrenko and Sir Mark Elder.

The resulting five short films can now be viewed over on the Digital Celebration page.  They offer an insight into the warm, inclusive spirit of NSSO, and all that we value about our engagement with young people – ensuring that everybody can contribute effectively and happily to successful music-making at their own level of ability and experience.


Shortlisted for Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2020

NSSO M&Drama Award Nomination logo
This Music and Drama Education Excellence award, sponsored by Classic FM, honours an educational project which has used classical music in an innovative way, shown musical excellence and has had a positive impact on a significant number of participants.


Latest Tweets

Want to know a little more about NSSO conductors? 🧐 Our latest news article gives a little insight to those who are… https://t.co/Wv5vYxUi7z

1 day ago

You'll remember the game of musical chairs... make sure you've got your place for NSSO 2021! https://t.co/dC5JIMdcI7

2 weeks ago

The week-long NSSO Conducting Course, directed by Bjorn Bantock has only one place available for summer 2021. Detai… https://t.co/aVAFKzYfUa

3 weeks ago

🚨 Vacancies update: Flute and clarinet places in Philharmonic and Sinfonia are now filled, as are those for cello a… https://t.co/aFqPKjrdHz

1 month ago

🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️ The Easter holiday is a great time to apply for NSSO 2021! Several places in Philharmonic and Sinfonia are… https://t.co/9mjKdnMuNU

1 month ago

Do you know someone who you think should give NSSO a try? 🙋 If you refer a friend, we're offering Amazon and music… https://t.co/rLeek3kExC

1 month ago

Congratulations to Bethan Cole who has passed her Grade 8 Flute with Distinction! Bethan will be joining us in the… https://t.co/Mp4pGV7TMx

1 month ago

With COVID restrictions in place, we're still running in 2021! View 'Our Courses' with an updated format for this… https://t.co/xDOOhAJHie

2 months ago

RT @MusicTeacherMag: National Schools Symphony Orchestra (@NSSO_UK) residential courses are set to go ahead this summer, with applications…

3 months ago

"musicians' brains were vastly more structurally and functionally connected than non-musicians" An interesting read… https://t.co/d4WVa5WbGh

3 months ago

How about taking part in one of the UK's leading children's orchestras this year? If so, auditions are open! Check… https://t.co/18UzhRH6Nu

3 months ago

Looking for inspiration, or learning resources? @ISM_music have a few things that might help!… https://t.co/fzL9zLP1aL

3 months ago

How's this for an achievement... NSSO Member - Violinist Mayle Velasco has been awarded a Grade 8 distinction! Cong… https://t.co/2R16VyXuwx

4 months ago

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." —C.S. Lewis https://t.co/MqQBLNPATH

4 months ago

Merry Christmas! We hope your days are blessed with fun and music over the festive period. 🎶🎄 https://t.co/u98gFwhP2U

4 months ago

RT @DrJoUK1: First Noel https://t.co/HhH6GwNcUD via @FacebookWatch. Big 'Thank you' to junior @BirmCons, @ncogb, @NSSO_UK and @KEHSBham for…

4 months ago

Almost one in 10 primary and secondary #schools are not teaching #music as part of the curriculum at all, according… https://t.co/AedfjRqouZ

4 months ago

Congratulations to Galina Baxter for achieving a distinction on her level 8 clarinet exam! We can’t wait to see all… https://t.co/ZlWoupscYa

4 months ago

RT @benedetti_fdtn: Lucy is back with the 3rd of her Creative Christmas Crackers. Tomorrow we will be LIVE at 5pm on Facebook with @lucy_dr…

5 months ago

RT @OUPMusic: For any organ enthusiasts out there, this is well worth a watch! Hats off to the video and sound editing team behind it... @_…

5 months ago

RT @PurcellSchool: Only an hour to go! #LiveAtLunchtime https://t.co/7krKEvj41t

5 months ago

RT @youthESO: Tune in at 7pm tonight to hear the ESO Youth Orchestra play Brahms' Academic Festival Overture: https://t.co/KlJxaAIaHI Hope…

5 months ago

RT @youthESO: The duckling could be any child feeling that they're 'different'. In an era where social media/pop culture create pressure t…

5 months ago

RT @bexlwood: Big shoutout to @ABRSM and @JaquesSamuel for enabling live music exams to go ahead today. My two children came out buzzing fr…

5 months ago

RT @AdventMusical: Super excited to announce that our Musical Advent Calendar website is now live! You can preview the stunning performance…

5 months ago

RT @bexlwood: Please think about supporting us and treating yourself and your loved ones to some seriously life enhancing music this Decemb…

5 months ago

RT @benedetti_fdtn: Supporting Your Young Musician is a one-off session for all of you out there supporting your young musicians with their…

6 months ago

RT @CCC_LoveMusic: Excited about The Haunted Concert Hall concert this Saturday? 👻 Here's a little taste of what's coming up! https://t.co/…

6 months ago

RT @NucleoProject: @NSSO_UK Awww thanks @NSSO_UK ! We think you guys are amazing too!

6 months ago

Fantastic news for such an important and impactful organisation!! #NucleoNation https://t.co/UHw3dS1fDZ

6 months ago

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If you have an enquiry about any aspect of NSSO please feel free to get in touch:

NSSO, Malvern College, College Road, Malvern, WR14 3DF

T: 01684 581640 // 01684 581616

E: [email protected]

Latest News

NSSO 2021 Personae dramatis May 12, 2021

Along with the chance to practise with wider instrumentalists of similar ages and abilities, NSSO 2021 attendees have the exclusive opportunity to work and play with a number of leading conductors and tutors. This year we’re excited to welcome the following leading musicians back to Malvern College for several weeks of enchanting music making! NSSO […]

Musical Chairs April 29, 2021

You remember the game. The music stops and everybody tries to find a seat, but there are always fewer seats than players and those left standing are out of the frame. Fast forward to July 2021 at Malvern College, the home of the National Schools Symphony Orchestra (NSSO). The music starts again, but there are […]

Refer a friend March 19, 2021

If you love the National Schools Symphony Orchestra nearly as much as we do, we’d love for you to recommend us to fellow young musicians. When you refer us and both sign up to one of our 2021 courses, we’ll give you a £10 voucher for Amazon, as our way of saying thank you.   […]