NYO Tour Vienna 2018

Each year the NYO is invited to undertake a tour to somewhere in the world!

25 July - 1 August


Post Tour Concert Review - St. Mary's Church, Nottingham - 3rd August 2018

The NYO have been on tour in Vienna.  But instead of sticking stamps on their musical postcards, they brought them back with them and performed them for their supporters in St Mary's on Friday.

Anyone who didn't know this young orchestra might have wondered if they were pushing their luck in taking Strauss waltzes to perform in some of Vienna's most prestigious and iconic venues.  But long-time admirers will know that there's nothing which fazes them, as shown by the elegance, style and rhythmic vitality of their approach to Johann II's Voices of Spring , Blue Danube and Thunder and Lightning Polka .  The experience of playing these at the foot of Vienna's famous ferris wheel ensured that the music spoke with an unmistakably authentic accent.  

The NYO, under dynamic conductor Alex Robinson, packed a powerful punch in their opening piece: the grandly stirring Homage March by Edvard Grieg.  But it's not all pomp and ceremony.  It includes a theme unusually performed by a cello quartet (sensitively handled by the NYO's fine players) and there's an expressive central section featuring the harp.  These strong contrasts to the overall military grandeur gave the NYO plenty of opportunities for showing their range and flexibility.  And the same was true of their approach to the five short, delightfully witty movements of Britten's Soirées Musicales , arrangements of Rossini at his most toe-tappingly entertaining.

And adding even more sparkle to the evening was solo trumpeter Libby Foxley who played the Trumpet Concerto by the just about unknown 18th century Czech composer Johann Nuruda.  Libby combined beauty of sound with a fearless and apparently effortless approach to all the technical demands which the composer throws at the soloist.  The overall effect was dazzling and as such perfectly in tune with a concert which celebrated so much youthful talent.

William Ruff NEP


NYO Tour Loire Valley 2017

23 - 28 July 2017



NYO Tour Prague 2016

27 Jul - 3 August 2016




NYO Tour Holland 2015

Each year the NYO is invited to undertake a tour to somewhere in the world!

26 July - 31 July 2015

Concert programme....


St Mary's Church Nottingham - Saturday 1st August 2015 - NYO Post Tour Concert

Saturday night in central Nottingham was a time of torrential rain and high emotion.  In fact, it almost ended in tears as five retiring NYO players said their farewells to the orchestra, attempting to sum up what being part of such a supportive and creative musical family had meant to them.

The preceding music was a good demonstration of the passion and commitment which has characterised this orchestra for nearly thirty years.  Saturday's post-Amsterdam-tour programme was a mixture of three complete works and three extracts from symphonies, possibly chosen to whet the appetite for the whole thing in future concerts.

The rainy gloom outside was soon dispelled by a vividly colourful performance of Balakirev's Overture on Three Russian Themes , full both of atmosphere and opportunities for all sections of the orchestra to shine.

Then came Schubert's Unfinished Symphony , a piece which demands intense concentration if all its subtleties are to be revealed.  From the opening bars of its mysterious, brooding introduction it was clear that this was going to be a revelatory performance.  Conductor Mike Palin conveyed a strong sense of the music's emotional ebb and flow, crafting a beautifully lyrical slow movement and ensuring that his players were always attentive to phrasing and dynamics.

In the concert's second half Christopher Hoggarth was a similarly perceptive conductor of Czech, French and Finnish music.  The Scherzo from Dvorak's 8th Symphony is really a sort of Slavonic waltz which charmed and danced its way around St Mary's.  

Fauré's Pavane - with languid, swaying rhythms and seductive harmonies - was followed by the finale from Sibelius' 2nd Symphony , full of sweeping melodies and a brilliant showcase for the orchestra's many talents (not least its resplendent brass).

The encore?  A full-blooded, no-holds-barred performance of music from Pirates of the Caribbean.

William Ruff
Nottingham Post


NYO Tour Jersey 2014

27 - 31 July 2014


Post Tour concert


You would never have guessed that the young members of the Nottingham Youth Orchestra had arrived home from their tour to Jersey at 5.00am the previous morning. Because there was certainly nothing bleary-eyed about their post tour concert in St Mary's. Far from it. On Saturday night, their playing was as energetic as their programme was ambitious.

No one could have complained about lack of variety - with over four centuries of music covered. Nor could the audience have said that the pieces lacked drama, as extracts from two ballets and an an opera were on offer as well as strongly pictorial music by Saint-Saens and Borodin.

Despite this, perhaps the highlight of the concert was the delightful performance of Vivaldi's A minor Concerto for Two Violins. Joy Hodkinson and Becky Adams were the fleet-footed, sweet-toned, highly responsive soloists. The slow movement in particular was beautifully played and seemed perfectly matched to the church's ample acoustics.

The 3rd movement of Mahler's 1st Symphony was full of quirky idiosyncrasies - and featured a famously unusual double bass solo (played with plenty of character by Matt Sutton).

The stage music was performed with vivid tonal colour. In the first half conductor Christopher Hoggarth directed a series of evocative dances from Massenet's El Cid, whilst in the second Mike Palin drew plenty of excitement from Khachaturian's Gayane suite, concluding with its fast and furious Sabre Dance.

As if this was not already enough virtuosity and brilliance for one evening, the orchestra's brass ensemble dazzled with pieces by Howarth, Praetorius, Gastoldi and Jeremiah Clarke.

William Ruff
Nottingham Post


NYO Tour Vienna 2013


A Tutors perspective











The 2013 NYO Tour to Vienna was a tour of firsts; first without Derek as conductor, and without Margaret on the tutoring team. It was also one of the easiest and least stressful tours I have been involved with since becoming a tutor in 2007. This was almost entirely due to the fantastic supportive environment created by the lovely group of musicians who participated. From the very start everyone just had a great time, creating their own entertainment on the coach journeys (no DVD's at all - another first!) singing, chatting and laughing the whole way. There was no complaining when our bus travelled via Munich in the rush hour and arrived over an hour (and with significantly less comfort breaks) later than the other coach.

The first morning's rehearsal set up the rest of the tour. Everyone was in situ early, and practicing before the conductors arrived. I don't recall ever seeing such commitment at the start of a week away. As a result the standard of playing rapidly improved. The first concert at Gustav Adolph Kirche was extremely well received by the coach loads of Slovakians, and passing by Viennese, who attended. We must thank the kind Slovakian audience member who provided a last minute translation on the day! Subsequent rehearsals were used to fine tune specific sections of the repertoire and the orchestra, and the final rehearsal ended in a celebration of music making with numerous members of the orchestra swapping instruments!

Unfortunately we faced extreme Austrian doggedness on the Sunday, when officials at Schonbrunn Palace refused to allow the Orchestra to play their concert in the shade. The temperature was 41 degrees, a record for Vienna by some way, and there were plenty of shaded areas available. In fact NYO played in the main shaded area outside the front of the palace in 2009; I have the photos to prove it! However the palace was adamant. Despite our music rep making the necessary arrangements a week in advance in response to the weather forecast, they would not budge. The shaded areas were for an emergency exit, horses, a wedding (which did not materialise) and too close to the offices and would disturb the officials. Once it was confirmed the only option would be for the musicians to play in the middle of the sunny courtyard with no breeze and in extreme temperatures, we had no choice but to cancel the concert. This was a disappointment to all, but despite having carried all the heavy instruments down the long driveway, once again the young people in NYO showed their true professionalism. They all helped to reload the van and coach with very little complaining.

Thank fully we had arranged to go to the outside swimming pool that afternoon. Having attended this facility the day before, and everyone having such a good time, it seemed sensible to do this again after the outside concert. I don't think any of us have been so happy to see a pool as we were that day! After the heat and stress of dealing with the concert situation, it was wonderful to be able to cool off in the grounds of the palace.

At this point, observers might have been forgiven for thinking this tour was more about free time than about music making. With a concert cancelled and two afternoons spent in the pool, we had spent more time swimming that playing! However, this served to make the orchestra even more cohesive as a group. All ages mixed and there were no cliques. It was lovely to see everyone just having so much fun and getting on together. The evening before the orchestra had visited Prater Park, Vienna's fairground originally built for the aristocracy. With the tutors opting for the fairly tame cat and mouse ride, some of the musicians made a beeline for some ridiculous rides with names like "The Ejector Seat"! I did have the tour insurance with me...but I don't think it covered activities like that!

On the last full day we visit the Haus der Musik, an interactive music museum in Vienna. Exhibits range from traditional displays about the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to opportunities to create your own waltz using a dice, hearing what Jupiter sounds like, and exploring alternative notation through sound. Much fun was had by individuals conducting the virtual Vienna Philharmonic with the youngest member of NYO showing great potential as a conductor! This afternoon NYO were back at Schonbrunn for the final concert of the week in the Orangerie. Thankfully this was much more straightforward. The orchestra unloaded and set up quickly and without fuss, optimising rehearsal time, which was good as the audience were super keen to get into the venue! This concert was a resounding success. The orchestra played fantastically well as a whole, and there were some beautiful solo moments too, from the cello in Poet and Peasant, and the trumpet in Blumine, to the horns in the Hubler. The full audience thoroughly enjoyed each and every piece, showing their appreciation with a long standing ovation at the end, no doubt buoyed up by Chris' camp clapping in the Radetzky March! We collected just under 800 euros from this concert alone - another first!

Weather struck (or not!) again on the last night. The forecast of a super storm forced the organisers of the Vienna film festival to close for the evening. This was disappointing because NYO had planned to attend to watch Lang Lang live in Berlin. We consulted the met office website, and the satellite images showed a storm stretching from just north of Vienna all the way to Berlin. In the end the storm did not materialise, however we were able to have a relaxing last evening in this beautiful city.

On the final day, some of the older members of the group handed out some "awards", for specific members, tutors and for each section of the orchestra. This was a lovely way to celebrate an extremely positive week in Vienna. Whilst we may have had to cancel playing one concert and watching another due to extremes in weather, the members of NYO had shown that they were professional, flexible and committed to making the tour a success. I would like to thank you all for creating some fantastic music, for helping each other out without complaining, and for making the week so much fun. Well done everyone!



NYO Tour Belgium 2012

BELGIUM 22 - 26TH JULY 2012



NYO Tour Berlin 2011

Each year the NYO is invited to undertake a tour to somewhere in the world!

Where did we stay?
From Friday 22nd until Thursday 28th July we stayed at:

Hauptbahnhof A&O Youth Centre
Lehrter Strasse 12-15
D - 10557 Berlin
telephone (from the UK): 00 49 30 322 920 4200
e-mail: reception@aohostels.com


Just click on a thumbnail to view a larger picture

Feeding the 5000......

Shop til you drop! Feeding the 5000! Pizza devoured

Triumphant concert in the Jesus Christus Kirche, Dahle.

click for larger image

Outdoor concert in the Tierpark, Berlin-Friedrichsfelde.

Click for larger image Daniel Bell and NYO


Day out at Wannsee... a beach by the lake

Matt the Mermaid!


Post Tour Concert Review and Slideshow

Saturday 30th July 2011 - St. Marys Church Nottingham - Berlin Tour ConcertBerlin Tour 2011 - Flyer

Vltava - Smetana
Concerto for 2 trumpets - Manfredini
Peer Gynt - Grieg
Scheherazade - Rimsky-Korsakov

Derek Williams - Conductor
Amanda Bruce - Leader
Rachel Tooley & Chris Hart - Soloists


View the Post Tour Concert Slide Show in Google Picasa..............



Post Tour Concert Review

To bring off Rimsky-Korsakov's exotic Scheherazade suite, an orchestra needs special talents in every section. Prior to St Mary's, the NYO gave three concerts (two with expatriate violinist Daniel Bell playing Glazunov) at different locations in Berlin - and even the sternest of German judges must have been impressed.

Inspired by the Tales of the Arabian Nights, Rimsky painted an animated fresco of melody, rhythm and instrumental shadings. Images of Sindbad's ship, a prince among dervishes and a festival in Baghdad are evoked by various groups of players.

Leader Amanda Bruce linked the scenes with her captivating violin. The graceful interlude for a young royal couple produced real enchantment. In the final build-up to a reprise of the sultan's theme, the way that the ensemble sustained the momentum was thrilling to hear.

In the opening performance of Smetana's Vltava, Bohemian dances were deftly inserted into the changing flow of the river depicted. Under conductor Derek Williams's scrupulous guidance, movements from Grieg's Peer Gynt music were executed with poetry, pathos and gusto.   
And Rachel Tooley and Christopher Hart played beautifully matched trumpets in a baroque concerto by Francesco Manfredini. Noble music-making all round.

Peter Palmer - Nottingham Evening Post

Below is a list of recent tours with some links to more information:

2015 Holland (details to follow shortly)

2014 Jersey (click for details)

2013 Vienna
(click for tour details)

2012 Belgium (click for details)

2011 Berlin (click for details)

2010 Normandy (click for tour details)

2009 Vienna (click for tour details)

2008 Tuscany (click for tour details)

2007 France (click for tour details)

2006 France (click for tour details)

2005 Barcelona (click for tour details)

2004 Italy (click for tour details and photos)

2003 Spain (click for tour details and photos)

The Nottingham Youth Orchestra