Too many words in NYO’s rebrand

Too many words in NYO’s rebrand


norman lebrecht

September 19, 2023

Britain’s outstanding National Youth Orchestra has upgraded its website ‘to grow a welcoming community where thousands of young people can play their part in the world through music.’

For 75 years, NYO has done brilliantly what it says in the name: it helps young people to play in an orchestra.

The rest is verbiage.

The site actually brags of ‘Rewritten information that’s clearer and easier to understand’. 


  • La plus belle voix says:

    The site states that “things look a bit different” and adds how in September they will launch a “new website with a new look where (sic.) teenage musicians taking centre stage”. Great start guys.

  • Paul Brownsey says:

    Not sure it is *just* verbiage. The switch from helping young people to play in an orchestra to helping them ‘play their part in the world through music’ suggests that music is just a means to a different end and that a bit of orchestral playing will prepare them for, oh, being a team player in the office, will give them the ‘social skills’ for working in a call centre, will be evidence on their CV of endeavour that might stand them in good stead when they apply for something else. There is a growing tendency for things to be (purportedly) justified in terms of something else.

    • Donna Pasquale says:

      Leaving aside your condescending tone I would refer you to the numerous players that have gone on to have exceptional careers and then pay their experience back by donating to orchestras and opera houses and all forms of artistic endeavour.

  • Observing says:

    Sadly this word salad is probably required to secure funding and approval from the tonedeaf plebs at the top of the chain.

    Imagining the conference meetings there. Braindead goons grunting with their primitive gurns ‘ooooh community’ ‘oooh diversity’ ‘me likey me approve me give money’.

  • Michael Taylor says:

    A case of ‘if it ain’t broke’, break it!’ ?

  • Donna Giovanna says:

    I welcome this chanfe. Right at the outset it says championing orchestral music. What a wondeand glotthing to champion. To bring music making to new audiences and create new ambassadors for a wonderful art form.
    And of course it helps teenage development. Working together, sharing ideas and learning skills and being able to communicate- that’s wgat uts all about.
    Let’s celebrate!

  • Donna Giovanna says:

    (Corrected version!)
    I welcome this change.Right at the outset it says championing orchestral music. What a wonderful and glorious thing to champion. To bring music making to new audiences and create new ambassadors for a wonderful art form.
    And of course it helps teenage development. Working together, sharing ideas and learning skills and being able to communicate- that’s a large part of what making music is all about.
    Let’s celebrate!

  • Ellingtonia says:

    What’s betting that the word “diversity” and “those from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds” will be fast tracked into the orchestra despite only being able to play the spoons! Please tell me I am wrong in my suspicions. We have the best Youth Orchestra in the world, lets keep it that way.

  • Zarathusa says:

    The verbose description was probably generated by AI! AI tends to be self-promoting and thus long-winded… like many of the recent commentators on this site!

    • The View from America says:

      Probably not AI, which does things like display a photo of Birmingham, Alabama when it’s supposed to be of Birmingham, UK.

      But definitely written by a committee …

  • WhyAreWeSoAshamed says:

    Why are we so ashamed in music of celebrating excellence in our most elite young musicians? Yes we should ABSOLUTELY make that level of performance and opportunity available to every child, and NYO have done this with their amazing Inspire programme, but why shy away of saying proudly that NYO is the UK’s elite youth orchestra? Would we find such an apologist attitude in youth sport? It infuriates me. This makes them sound like they are a social mobility organisation, not a youth orchestra.

    I see they have also dropped the ‘GB’ – which the National Youth Choir of GB also did recently – which just to me sounds horribly arrogant I’m afraid. Whose National Youth Orchestra exactly?!

  • Anon says:

    To be part of an “elite” ensemble is increasingly frowned upon by the woke “suits” who are quietly decimating the British music scene.
    Diversity over excellence – apparent in sessions, concert halls and within most of our orchestras.
    Yet nobody has the courage, not stupidity, to call this out!
    Fear prevails.

  • MusicBear88 says:

    The verbiage helps with people who still don’t see the value of young people playing in orchestras, particularly if they aren’t trying to make music their career, or perhaps especially if they are!) There is so much evidence that playing music helps with development of discipline, analytical skills, language skills, math, things that are necessary to any field of study or desired career path, not to mention just being a human being better prepared for life.

  • Interest Party says:

    This linguistic contortion is due to the fact that the NYO is not run by musicians wishing to train and enrich the musicianship of the next generation of professionals, nor to contribute to the wider musical ecosystem of the UK which has been fed for so many years by excellent musicians of the NYO. Rather it is now run by a social activist using what was the country’s principal orchestral training organisation as a social experiment. Music be damned. Parts of the course now have the vibe of a church youth camp. A lot if the rigour is gone, and it shows in the concerts (though naturally the press leap to give 5 stars). AND ultimately it isn’t what the kids want – they know when the music making is good and when it’s suffering because of too many poetry workshops, and too often it is far too low down the priority list. At its best, NYO can out-gun most London orchestras in both technical ability and passion, but that requires the right support and a programme focussed on orchestral playing. The NYO has lost a number of brilliant tutors and staff over the last years because of this… well, dogma.