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- NCO was founded in 1978 by Vivienne Price MBE to provide inspiring and first-class musical training for children. Membership is open to all talented youngsters, irrespective of background or financial circumstances.
- NCO operates 6 national orchestras offering approximately 600 places to children aged 7-14. In addition a regional network of orchestras, which includes associate members, allows NCO to provide approaching 750 young musicians with the best orchestral tuition and performance opportunities each year.
- NCO is a charity which relies on fundraising to cover 50% of its operating costs every year as well as 100% of the financial support it offers to make sure all talented young players can take part. It presently receives no public subsidy or Arts Council England grant.
- NCO makes a unique and vital contribution to the musical education and development of the UK’s youngest musicians. Well over half of the members of the National Youth Orchestra every year received their orchestral foundation and inspiration at NCO, and many NCO members progress to professional careers. Alumni include world-renowned violinist, Nicola Benedetti MBE, and esteemed conductor, Daniel Harding.
- Underpinning NCO’s extraordinary standards and concert output is a committed network of professionals including internationally renowned conductors Peter Stark, Howard Williams and Natalia Luis-Bassa, exceptional music tutors, and a team of committed pastoral staff, many of whom are alumni.
- In 2012 NCO was honoured to be invited to entertain HM the Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
- NCO is proud to be The Classic FM Children’s Orchestra, and to work in partnership with station to promote the enjoyment and engagement of all with classical music.