Based at The Bournemouth & Poole College, the Wessex Youth Orchestra (WYO) has won the highest youth orchestra accolade in the UK, ‘Music for Youth’s National Partnership Award′.

Having received an invitation to perform at this year’s National Festival of Music for Youth in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, the orchestra gave a stunning performance of repertoire most often associated only with professional orchestras.  This included Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Stravinsky’s magical Firebird Suite. The WYO subsequently came away from the festival with the national accolade of ‘Music for Youth’s National Partnership Award’.

The 100 strong orchestra is conducted by Susanna Riddell, who is Director of both the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians and the Wessex Youth Orchestra. Susanna is also a cellist in the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Susanna explained: “I am thrilled that the WYO has received this award, it’s a worthy achievement by an incredibly talented group of young musicians. Through this the orchestra has confirmed itself as one of the most exciting and successful regional youth orchestras in the UK today. The professionalism and determination displayed by its members has resulted in a perfect example of the heights to which young people can excel.

“The National Partnership Award brings with it a series of experiences for the young musicians. Following an awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in October, the Wessex Youth Orchestra will go on to participate in a day of rehearsals, coaching and a joint performance with specialists and students at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music, later in the season.

“However the icing on the cake has to be the opportunity for these young people to again take a flight with Stravinsky’s stunning Firebird at the Music for Youth Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday November 16. They have also been given the honour of rounding off this iconic youth concert series with the quintessential Proms favourite Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 – otherwise known as Land of Hope and Glory.”

WYO viola player Emily McFarlane said “The WYO has been the highlight of my week ever since I joined. Our recent success in Music For Youth, the subsequent invitation to perform in the Schools’ Prom, as well as to the opportunity to work with musicians at the Birmingham Conservatoire are fantastic experiences which I am really looking forward to”.

Diane Grannell, Principal at The Bournemouth & Poole College, commented: “The WYO is based at The Bournemouth & Poole College and is orchestral home to around 100 of the area’s most talented and hardworking young musicians. As a college we strive to ensure our students reach their potential; I am so proud of what the orchestra have been able to achieve”.

Members of the public can see The Wessex Youth Orchestra perform on Sunday December 4th at the Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts. The orchestra is also undertaking a three concert tour to Switzerland next summer.