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National Open Youth Orchestra Centre for Birmingham

10th February 2020

A progression route for talented young disabled musicians in the Midlands is being offered for the first time. 

Town Hall Symphony Hall, Midlands Arts Centre and Services For Education have announced a major partnership with the National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO). Together, they will act as the Birmingham NOYO Centre.

Launched in September 2018, the National Open Youth Orchestra is a pioneering ensemble where young disabled and non-disabled musicians play and perform together. It promotes musical excellence and diversity, working with cutting-edge composers to create exciting new music written for a wide range of musicians and instruments: both acoustic and electronic, such as the Clarion, which some National Open Youth Orchestra musicians play with the movement of their eyes.

Between now and the end of March, the partner organisations are calling out for 11-25-year-old disabled and non-disabled musicians to apply for the Birmingham NOYO Centre.

Nick Reed, Chief Executive for Town Hall Symphony Hall says: “We’re looking for young people with a passion for music and the ability to demonstrate significant musical potential on either acoustic or electronic instruments. They could be talented musicians already or proficient at using assistive technology, with a determination to persevere and progress musically.”

Following an audition process, the first Birmingham NOYO Centre cohort will be supported to realise their musical potential through monthly rehearsals and one-to-one tuition, starting from September 2020. They will come together with musicians from other NOYO Centres in London, Bristol and Bournemouth for residentials and concerts.

Stuart Birnie, Head of Music Service at Services For Education says:  “The National Open Youth Orchestra is a ground-breaking, hugely creative orchestra where music is played by notation but also by ear. It’s set to push the boundaries of orchestral music, and we’re very excited to be part of its ecosystem, exploring together how to make orchestras more inclusive.”

Holly Radford, MAC Makes Music Producer says: “This partnership reflects our shared commitment to championing talented young disabled musicians and creating a supportive environment where they can flourish. Being a National Open Youth Orchestra musician is an experience like no other, so check it out and apply.”

For more information and application details, visit the National Open Youth Orchestra website at Applications to audition will be open online 1-31 March 2020.