Category Archives: Headline

Applications 2017 are now open!

Nationals-are-you-goingEstablished in 1964, we are South Africa’s oldest youth orchestra, and the leading orchestra in the youth orchestral movement. Our National Youth Orchestra members are the national team that represent an incredible youth orchestra movement that stretches from the Western Cape to Limpopo and everything in between. Alumni from our courses have gone on to play for internationally renowned orchestras, and their achievements bare testament to the ability of South African musicians to be exceptional and true ambassadors for our country.

As a participant, you will be part of the Nationals community and benefit from a range of programmes associated with our courses including opportunities for international music exchange, instrument repair courses, musician mentorship, arts administration internships and composition and conducting workshops. With a rich mix of South African participants, and a faculty made up of renowned local and international music professionals, the National Youth Orchestra Foundation offers diversity that is worthy of celebration. The orchestra course experience is for young people interested in music, from grade 7 level to those just starting their professional careers.

After you apply we will confirm receipt via email and/or SMS within the week. Do not hesitate to contact us should you need further information. (Where applicants are unable to apply online they should contact us to do them telephonically on 083 272 2117.)

We are proud of the orchestra course participants, each of whom contributes to the vitality of the National Youth Orchestra. We look forward to receiving your application and hope to welcome you to our 2017 courses.


In order to complete this application online you will need a working email address and your South African identity number, or, if you are an international applicant, your passport number. This year we have limited seats for candidates from Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

You need to
1. Play an orchestral instrument
2. Be at at least Grade 7 level (Unisa, ABRSM, Trinity)
3. Be 25 years old or younger in 2017


In February and March live recorded auditions will be held in
Bloemfontein: 13 March 2017
Cape Town: 1 and 2 March 2017
Durban: 4 March 2017
Johannesburg: 24 February and 10 March 2017
Port Elizabeth: 6 and 7 March 2017
Potchefstroom: 14 March 2017
Pretoria: 27 February and 11 March 2017
Stellenbosch: 2 March 2017


Application Fee: A non-refundable fee of R50 is charged to each applicant to cover administration and processing costs. Only one application fee is required, regardless of how many programs you wish to apply for or how many instruments you apply on.

Please note: NO late applications or auditions will be accepted.

Candidates should prepare a solo piece and a study of their choice to demonstrate their standard and fluency on their instrument. Your programme (that means both study AND piece together) should not exceed 5 minutes in length and you may make any required cuts to fit within the time limit. NB: Accompanists are not allowed.


Travel: You are expected to get yourself to course. Auditions start on the first day of each course (be there before 12:00 please) and the course ends with our final concert in the evening on the last day of each course (most out-of-towners therefore leave on the morning of the day after the last day of course.)

National Youth Orchestra Course fee: R2300. This fee includes accommodation, meals and tuition. Proof of payment is to be received by our offices a month before each course. Please use your name/surname as the reference. If you are unable to afford the course fee, there are various financial assistance options available, including a payment plan and bursary options. Please contact us on if you require more information, and indicate that you require financial assistance in the application form.

APPLICATIONS:  OPEN for 2017 and the application FORM is now available.

December Performances in Johannesburg



To the Roots hosts South Africa’s best loved music and artists, performing together in aid of the National Youth Orchestra’s Bursary Fund at the magnificent Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden on 11 December. Shortstraw, Bombshelter Beast, Goliath and Goliath and the National Youth Orchestra are all in the line-up. It’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon to kick off the December holidays in style!

A live broadcast from the SABC M1 Studio on SAfm is on Monday 12 December, and our final concert is at the Linder Auditorium on 14 December. Thank you to our venue partners, the SABC Foundation and the Music Department at the Wits School of Arts.

The National Youth Orchestra, the green and gold team of our most talented young musicians, is embarking on an adventure in cutting-edge South African performance in a new collaboration with Bombshelter Beast, a genre-busting music collective of some of SA’s most colourful and innovative musicians. Think Black Cat White Cat meets Brenda Fassie – add an opera singer, a polish refugee, a Manchester born kwaito star and SA’s most cunning linguist, and you have half the picture. The other half is best experienced live! Be taken on a journey from baroque to boeremusiek, comedy to kwaito, and a lot in between – a new South African sound that’s best served hot! Bring comfortable shoes to dance in – your feet will thank you.

shortstraw2Multi award-winning Jozi indie rock band Shortstraw, who have just released their single T-shirt, are thrilled to play at To the Roots and contribute their talent in aid of the National Youth Orchestra’s Bursary Fund. As bassist, Russell Grant, shared: “We’re always excited to support an organisation or initiative that brings more musicians into the world, and something that gives kids an amazing ability in their lives. Whether it becomes a career or just a passion, you always have this ability and music in your life and that’s awesome.”

National Youth Orchestra concerts are made possible by the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Arts and Culture, the SABC Foundation, the Academy of Sound Engineering and the SAMRO Foundation cialis canada generic. Gates open at 12:00 on Sunday 11 December, and tickets are available now on as well as at Computicket. For more information please visit



Show details:

11 December 2016, 14:00 – Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden, Roodepoort

Shortstraw, Bombshelter Beast, Goliath and Goliath and the National Youth Orchestra all performing in aid of the National Youth Orchestra’s Bursary Fund. A wonderful Sunday afternoon spent in the magnificent botanical garden – book ahead to save, tickets are more expensive at the gate. Children under 12 get in for free.
Tickets R150 per person online at or Computicket or R170 at the gate.

12 December 2016, 19:00 – SABC M1 Studio, Auckland Park, Johannesburg

Tickets available at Computicket
Be part of the select audience our live broadcast on SAfm at the SABC M1 Studio with Bombshelter Beast and the National Youth Orchestra. The String Orchestra will be lead by Pavel Fischer (Czech Republic), and the Wind Orchestra by Bjørn Breistein (Norway). The programme includes everything from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 to our very own version of Weekend Special, arranged by Marcus Wyatt.

14 December 2016, 20:00 – Linder Auditorium, Parktown

Tickets available at Computicket

Our final concert of this special programme in the magnificent Linder Auditorium, kindly sponsored by the Music Department at the Wits School of Arts. Let’s fill the Linder and dance, dance, dance!

What It Takes: Bassoon with Douglas Bull

Bassoon wit

The SA National Youth Orchestra is hosting the What It Takes: Bassoon (7-9 October 2016) course with alumni Douglas Bull in Johannesburg. 

Every What It Takes course is designed specifically to cater to the needs of the selected participants. The course covers many aspects of professional musicianship including audition preparation, marketing of yourself as a musician, posture/injury prevention, performing with an orchestra, music history related to your instrument and individual master classes from top professionals. It gives insight into solo, chamber and orchestral playing as well as teaching and other career options.

To apply for the course please fill in this online form. Application deadline is Friday, 16 September.

Douglas Bull

Douglas Bull was born in South Africa and started with bassoon lessons at the age of ten. He first studied with Prof. D. J. Jooste at the University of Potchefstroom and later with Prof. Klaus Thunemann in Berlin. In 1994 he was winner of the wind category of the ATKV Prelude Competition. During his studies he played as an ad hoc member in all the major symphony orchestras in South Africa and received numerous full scholarship bursaries. As soloist Douglas Bull has appeared with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra and the National Chamber Orchestra. In 1998 he obtained his Bachelor of Music degree Cum Laude and was the over all winner of the ATKV Forte competition. Douglas Bull has been the co-principal bassoonist of the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin since 2004.

Course fees will be R400.00. This will mainly go towards lunch and snacks during teatime. 

What It Takes: Viola and Viola Day – September 2016


Louise Lansdown (Head of Strings at the Birmingham Conservatoire, UK) returns with six of her students for the fourth What It Takes: Viola course in Johannesburg from 2-4 September 2016. Some of the sessions will be open to the public, geared towards teachers and young violists, and of course, National Youth Orchestra violists will be given loads of attention! If you are interested in receiving more information about the WIT:Viola course please send an email to or follow updates on the event HERE.

In addition to the What It Takes: Viola course, the South African Viola Society (SAVS) and the South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation team up to bring you an epic VIOLA DAY! Come and join us on Saturday, 3 September 2016 to celebrate the viola with Dr. Louise Lansdown. Viola Day fee of R200 includes a free mug and t-shirt, SA Viola Society membership, group classes, master classes, and access to all other viola day happenings. More info to follow soon! If you’re keen to be a violanteer on the day (help with organising and small tasks on the day) please contact Lee Smith (Secretary of the SA Viola Society) on For more information and regular updates, please visit the event page.

Mandela Day Concerts

Poster (Small)To celebrate Mandela Day, our symphonic green and gold national team, the National Youth Orchestra, will perform two concerts in Cape Town in July. The programme will include Mahler’s glorious Fifth Symphony, and Benjamin Britten’s seldom-heard Double Concerto for Violin and Viola, written when the composer was just 18. The orchestra will be led by the sensational Ewa Strusiñska, a finalist and laureate at the prestigious Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition, and principal conductor and music director of the Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland. The National Youth Orchestra is generously supported by the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Arts and Culture and the Britten-Pears Foundation. Soloists for the concerto, drawn from within the orchestra’s ranks, are Samantha Durrant, Jonathan Mayer, Jeffrey Armstrong (violin),  and Erin Torres, Nicholas Fidler and Kgaugelo Mpyane (viola).

16 July – 19:00 Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow

The National Youth Orchestra teams up with Fine Music Radio, Pick n Pay, the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre to supply 67 radios to the Cape Town Society for the Blind. The radios, to be handed over on the night, are sponsored by Fine Music Radio listeners and Pick n Pay. Proceeds from the concert go towards the National Youth Orchestra’s bursary fund.

Tickets are R100-R120 and are available on Tixsa

17 July – 15:00 Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town
A grand benefit concert for the National Youth Orchestra’s bursary fund, in the sumptuous ballroom of Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.

Tickets are R450 per person and are available online from Tixsa
This price includes canapés and drinks (and of course parking!)

Please contact the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel on 0214831000 about their special rate for overnight stays on the concert weekend.

mount_nelson_hotel_04The National Youth Orchestra nurtures the musical development of South Africa’s finest young musicians, from emerging gifted school-age students to those on the verge of a professional career.  The orchestra’s alumni have been placed in some of the best orchestras in the world, and they make up over 70% of the South Africans placed in our local professional orchestras. Proceeds from the concerts will go towards the National Youth Orchestra’s work with South Africa’s most talented young musicians.

Logo strip