When the South African National Youth Orchestra performed Benjamin Britten’s ‘Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ with none other than Archbishop Desmond Tutu as narrator, the legendary activist and leader had this to say: “Music is important in the lives of young people, it is rare not to see a young person engrossed in music. The National Youth Orchestra is important because it opens up another world of music to the youth. It allows them to become makers of the music not just listeners. Youth in South Africa have so many opportunities available to them and my hope is that they are able to engage themselves fully in these opportunities.”
With Tutu’s wise words in mind, hundreds of young musicians are expected to apply to audition for a place in the prestigious South African National Youth Orchestra for 2016.
The orchestra is formed each year at the National Youth Orchestra courses and comprises the top talent of young South African musicians. Members include players from communities all over the country, and are chosen on merit through two auditions. The first of these is an anonymous recorded audition after which a live audition played behind-screen, in front of an expert audition panel.
The South African National Youth Orchestra has supported the training and development of South Africa’s young musicians nationally through its courses and development programmes for nearly half a century. Its legacy is far reaching with representation of alumni in top professional orchestras in South Africa and across the globe. The National Youth Orchestra courses create exciting performance opportunities for young musicians to interact with music professionals, both nationally and internationally, and are the perfect way for finding pathways to professional careers, bringing people together, and forging lifelong friendships.
The audition dates are as follows:
- 22 and 24 Feb 2016: Cape Town (venue TBC)
- 23 Feb: Stellenbosch at the Stellenbosch Konservatorium
- 26 Feb and 5 March: Johannesburg at the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company at the University of Johannesburg
- 27 Feb and 7 March: Pretoria at the Department of Music at the University of Pretoria
- 27 Feb: Durban at the Durban Music School
- 29 Feb and 1 March: Port Elizabeth at the NMMU Department of Music
- 3 March: Bloemfontein at the University of the Free State
- 4 March: Potchefstroom at the NWU School of Music & Conservatory
To make the courses open to all who qualify to attend, bursaries, scholarships and payment plans are available. Applications are now open, and can be completed online on their website. Applications close on Friday 12 February 2016. Young musicians wishing to apply must play an orchestral instrument at Grade 7 level and be resident in Southern Africa. The first three cellists who apply this week to audition for the National Youth Orchestra in 2016 will not have to pay their audition fee.
This year, the Foundation boasts a whole series of National courses and programmes for young orchestral musicians between the ages of 13 and 25 that have attained a minimum Grade 7 music level. The courses help to prepare young people with the skills to perform in a professional musical environment, and introduce them to a necessary network of fellow musicians.
- The annual Winter Course in Cape Town 11-17 July 2016 (where the National Youth Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Fifth Symphony) is an intensive programme filled with challenges and fun for the National Youth Orchestra and National Youth Concert Orchestra.
- The advanced National Youth Wind Orchestra and National Youth String Orchestra course is this year’s Summer Course in Johannesburg from 8-17 December 2016.
Can you help with a donation for a young, talented musician to attend the orchestra course in 2016? If so, click here.