Once you leave NCO you become a part of a very special community: NCO Alumni!
Many children in NCO membership progress to careers as adult professional musicians; but the aim is for all to leave with a lifelong love of music. If you have recently retired from NCO and you are interested in exploring your options for what to do next, we recommend that you speak to your instrument teacher for advice. We love to hear from all of our past members, so please keep in touch via our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (search nco_gb), as well as the special NCO Alumni Facebook page!
As well as those who build successful careers as professional musicians, many other NCO alumni go on to excel in other fields – medicine, law and engineering among many others. Time after time the NCO experience is commended by players and their parents for fostering an ethos among our members of aspiring to the highest standards in everything that they do. If you would like to support the NCO, please click here to help future generations of young musicians.
Every year between 33% and 66% of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain is made up of NCO alumni. In 2015/16, 92 players (56%) in NYO began their musical careers with NCO, making NCO the most important training ground for the UK’s flagship teenage orchestra.
NCO's work to develop the talent and enthusiasm of our youngest musicians is pivotal to maintaining excellence in classical music in the UK. NCO makes a unique contribution to the vibrancy and richness of the UK's cultural landscape.
Many of our former members can be found in leading professional orchestras, such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé Orchestra. NCO alumni include winners of the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, Guy Johnston (2000), Nicola Benedetti (2004) and Martin James Bartlett (2014), as well as the Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati, and the internationally-acclaimed conductor, Daniel Harding.
My time with NCO formative for me as a musician and as a person – it was great on every level. I am now a lecturer and still play oboe in a local orchestra. I’m so grateful for the opportunities NCO gave me and the whole ethos of working to draw out the best, most committed performance possible.
I’ll never forget my time with NCO. Looking back on it now I can appreciate how valuable the experience was. It was such an enjoyable time and the chance to work with other musicians from such an early age was an invaluable learning opportunity.
Nicola Benedetti: International violinist, NCO Vice-President and member 1995-1998
As a child, the highlight of my week was playing in youth orchestras – but the idea of playing during the school holidays with children from all over the UK was irresistible! It was at NCO that my dream to become a conductor really crystallised. The encouragement I received from the NCO staff also gave my parents the confidence to allow me to pursue it all.