Berkshire Music Trust Students get into the National Youth Orchestra

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Berkshire Music Trust Students get into the National Youth Orchestra

We at Berkshire Music Trust are thrilled to congratulate all participants of the National Youth Orchestra 2024. We are especially proud of our own students Isaac Giaever-Enger, Megan Belshaw, Joseph May and Tara Spencer for earning a place in the team. This orchestra is unique in that it brings together teenage musicians from diverse backgrounds throughout the UK, united by their passion for orchestral music and their dedication to making it accessible to young musicians everywhere, regardless of their background or access to music education.

We spoke to them on their musical journeys, Berkshire Music Trust experience and how they feel on being a part of The National Youth Orchestra (NYO) 2024 and here’s what they had to say:

Megan Belshaw said “I have always loved music and now study at Wells Cathedral School where I take part in several exciting ensembles. I’ve met so many lifelong friends through learning with Berkshire Music Trust and the various groups I belonged to have really helped my playing and confidence. With the help that I’ve been given by Cath Millar, who has always encouraged me to work hard and believe in myself, I’m really excited to be part of the National Youth Orchestra for the second year in 2024 to play with musicians of such a high standard and to inspire other young musicians.”


Joseph May said “I took up viola seriously just over a year ago when I formed a string quartet with some friends, and then I got to the final of the Berkshire Young Musician of the Year String Competition, and took my ARSM diplomas in both violin and viola.  I now play viola in the Berkshire Youth String Ensemble and lead the section in the Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO).  I love the instrument and its repertoire, and I am looking forward to the exciting and challenging orchestral music planned for this year.  I am really excited to be joining NYO as a violist and I will enjoy attending the courses and getting to know the other members of the orchestra.  I think this will be a great experience in preparation for next year when I hope to study at Music College, and ultimately become a professional violist.”

Tara Spencer said “I first became involved with the National Youth Orchestra in 2021, through their NYO Inspire online activities, and was invited to join NYO for their summer residency and concert that year.  I played again with the orchestra for several residencies before first auditioning for NYO in September last year. I was in the first violin section for 2023 and delighted to have been appointed Co-Leader of NYO for 2024. I am looking forward to the challenges and added responsibilities that this role will bring! Last month I was lucky enough to perform Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata in St George’s Chapel as part of the Windsor Festival with Camerata, due to winning Berkshire Young Musician of the Year 2023. I am now practising hard for my performance of Dvorak’s violin concerto in November with Reading Symphony Orchestra, after also winning their Young Musician Competition earlier this year.”


Isaac Giaever-Enger said “I loved the tuba from the start, and was soon racing through the grades, achieving grade 8 last year. Following in my sister’s footsteps, I auditioned for the National Children’s orchestra when I turned 10. I got in every year following that until I was too old! I also got into BYSO a few years ago and also play with Newbury Symphony Orchestra when they need me. The first time I played with them, was when I was 14, and the youngest player ever to have done so. I was also in the Newbury Weekly News! Last year, I was part of NYO Inspire where I joined various courses, culminating in a tour of schools in the North East. I often play my tuba with my siblings – we have a cello, a bassoon and a french horn in the family.. I also mess around on the piano and can actually sing pretty well – I was also in Berkshire Youth Choir for a couple of years before leaving to focus on the tuba. I have been inspired by those around me: my siblings, my teachers and other young musicians. Music is where I find ‘my people’; where I can really be myself.”

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