NCO's orchestral programmes are centred around the children who take part and the joy and progression they experience making music together! 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!

NCO's annual National and Projects programmes

NCO brings together more than 650 remarkable young musicians into our annual auditioned orchestral programmes:

  • Four regional Projects Orchestras, for ages 8-14, that meet for two jampacked non-residential orchestral weekends and celebratory family sharing concerts.
  • Three National Symphony Orchestras, for ages 11-14 (Under 12, Under 13 and Main Orchestras) for two week-long residentials in the spring and summer school holidays, culminating in astounding concerts in public concert venues.

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 and Ninja Warrior Henry Cookey 
  • 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

NCO Horizons

Our expanding NCO Horizons programme connects children and young people with free, open access musical and orchestral opportunities, including:

  • First access KS1 & KS2 school concerts led by our team of professional musicians
  • Side-by-side performances, orchestral workshops, pre-concert talks, open rehearsals and much much more!
  • Student placements in tutoring and mentoring
  • Free first experience tickets to our public concerts

Explore more about each programme through the individual pages in the menu.