We had the great pleasure to be photograph the National Children’s Orchestras’ concert at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester recently.

A young violinist from the National Concert Orchestra tunes up ahead of her performance.

Practicing ahead of the main concert.

The event is the culmination of a week of tuition and practise for this extremely talented group of youngsters. It’s a great subject for a photographer and we really enjoyed following everything from the rehearsal through tuning up and the finale.

The NCO was founded in 1978 by Vivienne Price MBE. Price, a violin teacher, had set up a number of local orchestras for children in Surrey but was acutely aware of the lack of national opportunities for younger musicians. The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain had existed since 1948 and there were many regional youth orchestras which catered for teenagers, but younger children struggled to fit in socially and so Price established the NCO.

Each orchestra meets once or twice a year at residential courses around the UK, where they receive training from leading music tutors and conductors. Main and Under 13 Orchestras have a nine-day course in the spring and another nine-day course in the summer, ending in a public concert in a major venue, as well as a non-residential winter weekend. the Under 12 Orchestra has 2 courses a year with one public concert and one for friends and family. The younger orchestras (Under 11’s, 10’s and Training Orchestra) have an eight-day course in the summer, ending in a concert for friends and family. The courses are spent in sectionals and full orchestral rehearsals, preparing repertoire to be played at the end of course concert. There is also time to explore other music and for recreation.

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