Hundreds of young musicians are expected to apply to audition for a place in the prestigious South African National Youth Orchestra 2016.
The orchestra is formed each year at the National Youth Orchestra Courses and comprises the top talent South Africa has to offer. This has been taking place since the SANYO was established in 1964. 71% of South African musicians currently performing with professional orchestras in the country have participated in these prestigious orchestra courses. Members include players from across the country, and are chosen on merit through anonymous auditions – the first, a recorded audition (held in audition centres across South Africa for acceptance to the orchestra courses) and the second, a behind screen audition at the orchestra course (for placement in the orchestra).
The National Youth Orchestra has supported the training and development of South Africa’s young musicians through its courses and development programmes for over half a century. In recent years, it has been funded by the National Lotteries Commission and the SAMRO Foundation, among others.
This year the National Youth Orchestra will team up with the Academy of Sound Engineering in an exciting new partnership for the first round of their auditions, where students from the ASE will record the first round auditions.
Kgaugelo Mpyane (25), a violist and National Youth Orchestra member from Pretoria, had this to say about the experience: “It is a platform where one can meet different young musicians and get to play beautiful music together. Also, one gets to perform with the world’s top conductors – now that doesn’t happen every day!”
This year the Foundation boasts a whole series of Nationals courses and programmes for top young orchestral musicians under 25. 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, both student and professional. It is also about fostering a love for music and performing with an orchestra, and all of the benefits that come with it – teamwork, discipline, achievement, and joy.
The National Youth Orchestra Winter Course will take place from 11 – 17 July in Cape Town. This is an intensive programme filled with challenges and excitement for the National Youth Orchestra: this year the musicians will perform Mahler’s Fifth Symphony conducted by Polish conductor Ewa Strusinska.
The advanced National Youth Wind Orchestra and National Youth String Orchestra Course runs from 8-17 December in Johannesburg.
There are also various “What It Takes” short courses running throughout the year for instrumentalists and conductors, the first one is for brass instruments in Cape Town in March with UK brass specialist Mark Hampson from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, then the violists are lucky to have Louise Lansdown, Head of Strings from the Birmingham Conservatoire, return to South Africa for their “What It Takes” course, and next on the list is a course for oboists in partnership with the KZN Philharmonic, with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra oboist Alexei Orgrintchouk.
To make the courses open to all musicians who win coveted places in the orchestra, bursaries, scholarships and payment plans are available. Applications are now open, and can be completed online. Applications close on 12 February 2016. Young musicians wishing to apply must play an orchestral instrument, be of at least Grade 7 music level and be resident in Southern Africa (this year there are limited seats for candidates from Namibia, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Zimbabwe). Audition requirements include excerpts from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and a piece and a study to demonstrate the candidate’s musical level and strengths. Applicants are also required to be 25 years of age or younger, in the year 2016.
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. We are grateful to the National Lotteries Commission for providing sponsorship to the National Youth Orchestra. If you are able to provide funding for a young musician to attend the course, or would like to contribute in any way to the success of the National Youth Orchestra, please contact us.
Audition dates and venues:
22 and 24 Feb: Cape Town at the SA College of Music, University of Cape Town
23 Feb: Stellenbosch at the Stellenbosch Konservatorium
26 Feb and 5 March: Johannesburg at the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company
27 Feb and 7 March: Pretoria at the Department of Music, 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
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information