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NYO Inspire, Liverpool

There can’t be any more virtuous musical organisation than the NYO, and with the invention of NYO Inspire, they’ve outdone even themselves in creating their own accessible training orchestra. The Inspire courses are free, and all those who join come from state schools, or are home-schooled. The players generally don’t have to pass an audition but are often recommended by their local music hub. Inspire groups meet during the February halfterm, and then some of these players play later in the year in the Inspire Orchestra.

Quite a few of these instrumentalists then join the NYO itself; during my visit to the woodwind Inspirees in Liverpool this week, I learned for instance that four of that orchestra’s current bassoon section came via this route. In fact at Inspire, for the first time in my life I sat in a room with 18 basoonists, dynamically tutored by Sarah Burnett. The way things have been going with instrumental tuition in schools, I was pleasantly surprised even to see that there were eighteen state educated bassoonists in the UK, let alone that they all sounded so competent and engaged with their instruments. As so often, the person most inspired by Inspire was probably me.

Pictured – so amazed was I by the sight and sound of all those bassoonists that I forgot to take a picture. So here is a train window shot, from my travels via Liverpool, the Lake District and the Borders. In many decades of travelling these routes regularly I’ve never seen so much water lying in inundated fields. Thanks to all the Avanti train guards for their help on several mega-delayed journeys during the current floods.




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