National Open Youth Orchestra

The National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) is a world first, an ambitious orchestra launched in September 2018 to give some of the UK’s most talented young disabled musicians a progression route. It promotes musical excellence, working alongside disabled and non-disabled musicians aged 11-25 to rehearse and perform together as members of a pioneering ensemble.

National Open Youth Orchestra members are supported to develop their skills through one-to-one tuition, rehearsals and concerts.

B:Music is proud to be a partner of the Orchestra.

Applications Are Now Open

Applications are now open for 11-25 year-old disabled and non-disabled musicians to join the Birmingham NOYO Ensemble. You don’t need to live here to apply - you just need to be able to make it for rehearsals approximately once a month. Visit
to read the 2024 Applicant's Information Pack and send your application before 24 March 2024.

Watch a Performance

"What Fear We Then?" by Alexander Campkin was co-commissioned with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Filmed during the covid restrictions of 2021, this music video by award-winning director Justin Edgar showcases the potential of 26 young musicians - disabled and non-disabled members of NOYO. Each musician was recorded playing live to create this unique film.

The National Open Youth Orchestra is the world's first disabled-led national youth ensemble. It's a pioneering orchestra where 11-25 year-old talented young disabled musicians and non-disabled musicians rehearse and perform together.

About NOYO

The National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) is a world-pioneering inclusive orchestra where brilliant 11-25 year-old disabled and non-disabled musicians rehearse and perform together.

They premiere original music written for them by cutting-edge composers and new arrangements of well-known pieces, reworked for the National Open Orchestra’s diverse group of musicians and instruments. Its sound innovatively blends acoustic, electronic and accessible instruments - some of which are not traditionally found in orchestras, such as the electric guitar or the accordion, and others unfamiliar, such as the LinnStrument, the Seaboard RISE or the ClarionTM, which some musicians play with eye or head movement.

Since its launch in 2018 as the world’s first disabled-led national youth ensemble, the National Open Youth Orchestra and its partners have successfully established a programme for young disabled musicians to develop their skills at an advanced level, offering accessible ensemble practice and performance opportunities in five regions. Alongside young musicians, the orchestra has pushed the boundaries of contemporary classical music, inspiring composers with a new range of instrument sounds and showing it could help widen audiences for contemporary classical music through relaxed performances.

The National Open Youth Orchestra is a dynamic orchestra that evolves each year, with twenty-five musicians coming together this year to present a broad programme of contemporary classic music. All National Open Youth Orchestra musicians have come through the ranks of five regional NOYO Ensembles, which are delivered through major partnerships:

London NOYO Ensemble, in partnership with Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Bournemouth NOYO Ensemble, in partnership with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra;

Bristol NOYO Ensemble, in partnership with Bristol Beacon

Birmingham NOYO Ensemble, in partnership with Services For Education,B:Music and Midlands Arts Centre.

Cardiff NOYO Ensemble, in partnership with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and BBC National Orchestra of Wales

In 2023-24, there are 42 musicians rehearsing in NOYO Ensembles.

Together, our mission is to show that combining high levels of inclusion and musical excellence isn’t just possible, but the way forward.

The National Open Youth Orchestra is a programme of Open Up Music (Registered Charity No1167028). Open Up Music is an Arts Council National Portfolio organisation (NPO), and an Arts Council and Department for Education National Youth Music Organisation (NYMO). It is also generously supported by founding sponsor ABRSM, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Lightbulb Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, The Rayne Foundation, John James Bristol Foundation, The Radcliffe Trust, D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and Chapman Charitable Trust.

Find out more about the National Open Youth Orchestra at

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD)

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama attracts the best creative talent from across the globe. As Wales’ national conservatoire, we fire imagination and drive innovation, offering training to almost 1000 actors, musicians, designers, technicians and arts managers from more than 40 countries. Our students’ extraordinary talent and potential is fused with exceptional teaching and unrivalled industry links, to bring dreams to life. A space for everyone, creative ambition and collaboration are central to our excellence.

Our students are immersed in a live industry environment from the moment they arrive. With some of Wales’ most prestigious venues, we operate a dynamic arts centre, and our performance programme of world class professionals is integral to students’ training.

We nourish our future professionals so they push new boundaries and make their mark in the creative industries, aspiring to brilliant careers. The future starts here.

The College is the first UK conservatoire to achieve a gold standard level of quality assurance across Music, Drama and Under 18s in the recent international Musique, Music Quality Enhancement review. Reviewers were particularly impressed with the College's approach to the individual student experience, multidisciplinary collaboration, and overall ambition, citing RWCMD as a shining example of best practise across European conservatoires, and reflecting the College's exceptional people and unique community.

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

For over 90 years, BBC National Orchestra of Wales has played an integral part in the cultural landscape of Wales, occupying a distinctive role as both broadcast and national symphony orchestra. Part of BBC Wales and supported by the Arts Council of Wales, it performs a busy schedule of live concerts throughout Wales, the rest of the UK and the world. The orchestra is an ambassador of Welsh music and champions contemporary composers and musicians.

The orchestra performs annually at the BBC Proms and biennially at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, and its concerts can be heard regularly across the BBC: on Radio 3, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru.

BBC NOW works closely with schools and music organisations throughout Wales and regularly undertakes workshops, side-by-side performances and young composer initiatives to inspire and encourage the next generation of performers, composers and arts leaders.

During the recent lockdowns, BBC NOW has continued to record and film behind closed doors at BBC Hoddinott Hall and has produced videos, soundtracks and weekly digital concerts that have been seen by 14 million people globally, including an extremely popular video of the Doctor Who soundtrack! Plans for the orchestra include live-streamed concerts and events, tours to different communities throughout Wales and education and community development schemes to include everyone in music making.

BSO Resound and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra | @BSOrchestra

BSO Resound is the world’s first professional disabled-led ensemble at the core of a major symphony orchestra.

One of the UK’s best-loved orchestras, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is a professional ensemble known for championing the role of culture in people’s lives. With residencies in Bournemouth, Bristol, Exeter, Portsmouth and Poole, it is the largest cultural provider in the South West of England, serving one of the biggest and most diverse regions.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has been a partner of the National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) since its launch in 2018. As the Bournemouth NOYO Centre, it delivers monthly rehearsals, offering one-to-one tuition and support with auditions.

BSO Resound musicians have acted as mentors for NOYO musicians. NOYO LinnStrument player Sally Kidson joined BSO Resound on 16 July 2021 for the world premiere of Shirley J. Thompson's 'Emanation'. The piece was commissioned on behalf of Allianz Musical Insurance to mark 60 years of change for disabled people.

The BSO received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Impact Award in 2019 for its work in improving opportunities for disabled musicians, and BSO Resound — the world’s first professional disabled-led ensemble at the core of a major orchestra — continues to receive international attention for igniting change. Challenging barriers to high-quality music for all, the BSO leads hundreds of events each year, from award-winning work in health and care settings to partnerships with schools and music education hubs.

The Orchestra continues its livestreamed broadcasts in 2022/23, which remain popular around the globe following its inaugural season. This year, the series features artists Dame Sarah Connolly, James Ehnes, and Laura van der Heijden, as well as Artist-in-Residence, Horn player Felix Klieser, following his memorable UK concerto debut with the Orchestra in 2021.

The Barbican

The Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over a million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas 1, 2 and 3, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, public spaces, a library, the Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark. The Los Angeles Philharmonic are the Barbican’s International Orchestral Partner, the Australian Chamber Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble.

Our free Young Barbican membership scheme gives 14–25-year-olds discounted access to unmissable art and entertainment as well as exclusive events and creative opportunities.

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Guildhall of Music & Drama

Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of musicians, actors and production artists in the heart of the City of London. Ranked as number one in Arts, Drama & Music by the Complete University Guide 2023, one of the top ten performing arts institutions in the world (QS World University Rankings 2022), as well as the number one higher education institution in the Guardian University Guide music league table, we deliver world-class professional training in partnership with distinguished artists, companies and ensembles.

A global leader in creative and professional practice, we promote innovation, experiment and research, and are also one of the UK’s leading providers of lifelong learning in the performing arts, offering inspiring training for children, young people, adult learners, and creative and business professionals.

Bristol Beacon

Bristol Beacon is a music charity, renowned venue and award-winning music education hub. With a city-wide programme of live music, creative learning opportunities and community engagement, we’re here to help make space for music every day, with everyone. With you!

A place of welcome, warmth and light, we extend an open invitation to the city for everyone to come and share in the joy of live music and celebrate this in everything we do.

Our venue is currently undergoing a once-in-a-generation transformation, due to complete in 2023, which will provide the city and the South West with one of the best performance and music learning spaces in Europe.

Find out more at

Midlands Arts Centre

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is a contemporary arts centre and charity, set in the magnificent surroundings of Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham. MAC is a space of social cohesion, and connects people through creativity. Every year, MAC presents a dynamic programme of visual arts, cinema, theatre, and practical courses, and collaborates closely with communities through outreach events. A key part of the charity’s artistic offer is working with and supporting international, national and hyper-local artists. In 2022, MAC was voted the most visited free attraction in the West Midlands by VisitEngland; with over 850,000 annual visitors, MAC is the liveliest arts centre in the region.

MAC Makes Music is an award-winning programme offering inclusive music-making opportunities for children and young people, supported by Youth Music. MAC Makes Music supports workforce development and advocates for equality in music education in partnership with Music Education Hubs.

MAC is a registered charity supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Culture Trust, Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.

Services For Education

An education and training charity based in Birmingham, Services For Education brings music and learning to life. Services For Education employs more than 200 staff delivering music tuition to children, and expert training and development to teaching and school support staff. It has annual income of £6.9m (Y/E August 2020). Part-funded by the Arts Council, England it also has its own fund-raising and subsidised commercial operations.

Services For Education’s Music Service, one of the largest in the country, works with most Birmingham’s schools and each year teaches music to nearly 32,000 children – as well as running 95 ensembles that are free to everyone. It provides 27,000 musical instruments free-of-charge to ensure all children have access to playing and enjoying music together. It also runs music schools, provides private music tuition to all ages as well as working with partners to deliver music and choral opportunities to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

Services For Education’s School Support Service provides expert training and development to teaching and support staff in nearly 600 schools in the West Midlands and increasingly across England, to improve practice and ensure teachers are best equipped to respond to developments in curriculum and policy. It is a leading provider of safeguarding education, delivering training, in-person and on-line, to 400 schools. It also delivers innovative programmes to support the physical and emotional health of children and young people through Health for Life and other community-based activity.

Services For Education has been recognised regionally and nationally for its work:

Bett Awards 2022: Transformational Impact (finalist; winner to be announced)

Music and Drama Education Awards Excellence in Primary/Early Years 2022 (finalist; winner to be announced)

West Midlands Tech Awards 2021: Innovation in Education (winner)

Music and Drama Education Awards 2020: Outstanding Music Education Resource winner)

Music and Drama Education Awards 2020: #Goldstars Awards

Music and Drama Education Awards 2020: Excellence in SEND (finalist)

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Annual Awards

2021: Excellence in Contribution to the community (finalist)

2021: Excellence in Training and Education (winner)

2020: Excellence in Sales & Marketing (finalist)

2019: Excellence in Training & Education (winner)

2018: Excellence in Training & Education (finalist)

Education Awards 2019: Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Educational Resources Awards 2019: The Educational Book Award (finalist)

Birmingham Education Awards 2019: Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Birmingham Awards

2018: Contribution to Education

2021: Excellence in Education (finalist)

Birmingham Post Business Awards 2018: Not-For-Profit Organisation of the Year (finalist)


B:Music is a Birmingham-based music charity with a mission to inspire a love of live music through performance, participation and learning.

B:Music believes that music is essential to everyone and has the power to transform and change lives, to entertain and uplift, to create shared experiences and to educate.

B:Music venues Town Hall and Symphony Hall are the centre of Birmingham’s cultural heart – presenting the world’s most exciting and diverse artists, orchestras and bands including Kraftwerk, The British Paraorchestra of Great Britain, Satinder Sartaaj, Chineke!, Gary Barlow, Joan Armatrading and the world-renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Each year, a programme of nearly 800 concerts and events brings the best jazz, folk, world, roots, classical, rock and pop performers to audiences of over 550,000. The Jazzlines programme is a key part of the region’s jazz infrastructure, nurturing new talent and creating performance opportunities, while the Learning and Participation team works with 18,000 people from across Birmingham each year.

Find out more at