Blog of Howard Ionascu

National Youth Orchestra

Howard Ionascu - Posted on 16.11.2016

I’m just back from a chilly Gothenburg, at a very interesting and informative conference held by the European Association of Conservatoires.
While I was away news came through about Junior Academy’s considerable success at the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s annual auditions. No fewer than nineteen places were offered to our students this year, across many sections of the orchestra.
Matthew Venvell, one of our soloists earlier this year in Ney Rosauro’s Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble, will be NYO’s new Principal Percussionist.
We are particularly strong this time in the horn department – four of the section are studying at Junior Academy.
But violas lead the way, with six seats being offered to Junior Academy students. It’s great to see violas on such a high at Junior Academy, with a large number of talented students working with our excellent staff: Jacky Woods, Yuko Inoue, Michael Posner and Simon Tandree. Our strong connections with Jacky Wood’s Arpeggione Course are leading to various further opportunities, including a viola orchestra performance in the Duke’s Hall in December.
Jacky has written recently:
‘A passion for playing the viola at the Academy starts at the age of eight, when our Primary violinists get the chance to borrow a viola from Junior Academy’s collection of instruments. Our viola club is open to all violinists and violists with a view to giving them an insight into the viola world without adding any more things for them to practice in a week already stuffed full of activities. This year we have 17 members, ranging in age from eight to thirteen. In due course, many are able to offer violin and viola as they audition for Junior Academy. They all agree that playing another voice increases their musical awareness and aural skills – all those viola jokes are definitely now a thing of the past! With so much focus on making smaller violas better and easier to play, violists are going from strength to strength.’