National Youth Orchestra Course

The SA NYO Foundation manages various orchestras at varied programmes run in the holidays every year. The SA National Youth Orchestra is undoubtedly the icon of youth classical music in South Africa. The musicians range in age from 13 to 25 years and the main event for the year is held in the winter and summer holidays.


National Youth Orchestra

The South African National Youth Orchestra is formed each year at the youth orchestra course and comprises the cream of young South African musicians. Members are chosen on merit and include players from all communities. The standard is high and national and international concerts have received critical acclaim. The orchestra has toured Scotland, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, Russia and Germany. In 1994, on a return to Scotland, the SA National Youth Orchestra received rave reviews and was hailed as one of the leading youth orchestras in the world. Performances were broadcast by the BBC.

In July 1998 the South African National Youth Orchestra was one of the ten youth orchestras from all parts of the world invited to take part in a mass concert on Red Square as part of the celebrations for Moscow’s 850th anniversary. The concert was televised live on a worldwide link-up. In addition, the South African National Youth Orchestra gave a memorable performance to a capacity audience at the Moscow Conservatoire.

The orchestra was invited to represent South Africa and the African continent at the International Beethovenfest in Bonn, Germany, in September 2006 and gave a concert in Berlin on 13 September, 2006. The orchestra was hailed as one of the best orchestras ever to have performed at the festival.

Four SA NYO members were invited to join the World Youth Orchestra at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Playing for our country

Playing in the symphony orchestra has been an important part in the development of most of the young South Africans in the professional orchestras, while a number of alumni have distinguished themselves as soloists and conductors both locally and abroad.

As well as playing at all the major centres in South Africa and in many smaller towns, they have also toured extensively overseas. Concert venues overseas include:

  • Scotland: Music Hall, Aberdeen , Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Music Hall, Arbroath
  • London: Crystal Palace Concert Bowl
  • Belgium: Cathedral, Aalst
  • Barcelona: Open-air concert
  • Switzerland: Cathedral, Meiringen, Salle de Musique, Neuchatel
  • Paris: La Defense Centre
  • Nice: Theatre Verdure
  • Israel: Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv , open-air concert, Tel-Aviv
  • Moscow: Tchaikovsky Conservatoire
  • Bonn: Beethovenhalle

South African National Youth Orchestra repertoire

The SA National Youth Orchestra has an extensive repertoire of popular and lesser known works. In addition, works by a number of South African composers have been commissioned for the orchestra including Peter Klatzow, Carl van Wyk, Stefans Grove, Ali Rahbari, Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph, Hans Roosenschoon, Bongani Ndodana, Robert Fokkens, Mokale Koapeng and Hans Huyssen.

They have played with conductors such as John Arnold (UK), Anton Hartman (SA), Avi Ostrowsky (Israel), Alberto Bolet (USA), Alois Hochstraser (Austria), Ali Rahbari (Austria), Howard Griffiths (Switzerland), John Hopkins (Australia), Reinhard Schwarz (Austria), Bernhard Gueller (Germany), Gerard Korsten (SA), Viktor Yampolsky (USA), Omri Hadari (Israel), Robert Maxym (Germany), Hikotaro Yazaki (Japan), Gerben Grooten (the Netherlands) and Conrad van Alphen (SA).

National Youth Concert Orchestra

The National Youth Concert Orchestra is an important part of the pathway to developing young musicians to perform in professional orchestras. It’s one step away from the National Youth Orchestra, and is strong competition for the National Youth Orchestra at the annual orchestra course (and in the traditional soccer match held at the course!). They play an exciting programme enjoyed by audiences every year.

National Youth Wind Orchestra


Photo: National Youth Wind Orchestra 2015, Potchefstroom

During the Foundation’s July 2006 and 2008 orchestra courses, the SA National Youth Wind Ensemble was under the tutelage of South Africa’s top wind teachers and was be conducted by world-famous Hungarian conductor, Laszlo Marosi. In 2009, with their new name, the National Youth Wind Orchestra, the ensemble will have the maestro back by popular demand. They will be playing a challenging programme of wind symphonic pieces as well as a South African work. Added to their repertoire is always a good dose of fun – of you would like to play in a wind orchestra – this is the best place to be. A double bass is always included in the social and musical activities too!

Standing in the wings ….

National Youth String Orchestra

In addition to the two national youth symphony orchestras and the wind orchestra, South Africa boasts so many fine young musicians that a National Youth String Orchestra is selected each year. These are the young people who, through their striving for excellence in a bid to take their place in the top orchestras, constantly challenge the members of the National Youth Orchestra and the Concert Orchestra for placings the next year they attend the course. In 2009 the National String Orchestra will be involved in one of the most important tasks for classical musicians – an audience building concert to be attended by newcomers to classical music. They are the perfect introduction to the best music in the universe acheter cialis en ligne.