National Open Youth Orchestra



NOYO describes itself as "the world's first disabled national youth orchestra". Its 11-25 year old cohort includes disabled and non-disabled musicians, and like the NYO which I heard the previous evening, it aims for musical excellence, and a progression route for its young performers. The afternoon concert I heard at Milton Court was officially its debut, four years after its foundation (with, as we all know, two years of Covid faff getting in the way).


I didn't know what to expect, but did imagine that this might be a complicated event to stage (which I'm sure, behind the scenes, it certainly was.) But the presentation, compered by orchestra members on mic along the way, was in fact extremely suave and relaxed for us audience. I'd gladly hear hour-long Sunday concerts like this more often. And no new-music-furniture-moving at all, so well planned was the programme.


Out of which programme, I especially admired the two energy-radiating world premieres by Oliver Cross and Alexander Campkin, melding the very sonically varied platform-full of instruments with great expertise. Those instruments included items I would love to see and hear more of in new music ensembles. For instance the LinnStrument (Sally Kidson) which is a finger-sensitive midi controller, and the Seaboard RISE (Ben Evans) a quite beautiful finger activated keyboard. A really interesting afternoon of music, and I can't wait to hear them all again.



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JUDITH WEIR

Composer