NCO's annual programme brings together remarkable young musicians aged 8-14 into:

  • Three National Symphony Orchestras for two week-long residentials in the spring and summer school holidays, culminating in astounding concerts in public concert venues, and
  • Four regional Projects Orchestras that meet for two jampacked non-residential orchestral weekends and celebratory family sharing concerts.

More than 650 musicians aged 8-14 are taking part in NCO's 2024 orchestral programmes this year, performing a varied repertoire, exploring their creativity, championing their wellbeing and above all, having fun!

NCO's orchestral programmes are centred around the children who take part and the joy and progression they experience making music together as a large orchestra! Children's wellbeing and happiness are paramount and activities are designed to enable children to explore their creativity, expand their skills, celebrate their voices and identities and to have fun!

A particular highlight for 2024 is our new collaboration with Bristol Beacon Music Education Hub. This April, NCO’s Main Orchestra will perform a special family concert at Bristol Beacon including a side-by-side performance of Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with musicians from Bristol Beacon Music Education Hub.

Outside the brilliant in-person activity they take part in with world class tutors, conductors and soloists, NCO's programme is strengthened by its complementary online programme. Included are online sessions and resources to help children prepare for their in-person activities, hundreds of resources for musical learning and inspiring webinars with guest artists. This year the webinar series includes

  • Tips & Tales from NCO Alumni
  • There’s no planet B with CBBC’s Naomi Wilkinson and Adrian Bending;
  • Being the Best YOU can be with Team GB fencer Claire Bennett, Ninja Warrior Henry Cookey and teen performer and wellbeing champion Cheer Up Charlie;
  • How to support young musicians (for parents/carers) with Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason
  • An introduction to some of our 2024 Guest Artists including Aaron Akugbo, Nikolaj Henriques and Jonny Abrahams.

“He absolutely loved NCO! The best music he has ever played! NCO gave him an excellent opportunity to play at a high level.” Parent of NCO Projects Member, age 9

“The NCO experience all around was absolutely unbelievable. There isn’t a single thing I would change about it.” NCO National Member, age 11

Explore more about each programme on the National and Projects membership pages in the menu.