Famous alumni share NCO stage

National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain (NCO) will perform with two famous alumni on Saturday. Its NCO Main Orchestra, made up of the best young musicians from across the UK, will take to the stage with conductor Jonathan Bloxham and soloist Martin James Bartlett.

Bloxham, who has led NCO’s rehearsals for the concert, is currently assistant conductor at City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, while Bartlett won the prestigious BBC Musician of the Year competition in 2014. Bartlett will perform the solo in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

“Being a member of the orchestra for several years was hugely influential on my early musical development – in fact, it’s safe to say that I don’t think I would have become a musician without NCO,” said Bloxham, who added: “it is a pleasure to collaborate with my great friend Martin James Bartlett, another NCO alumni, who I have no doubt will share his pure joy for life and music with both the young performers and audiences.”

The concert takes place at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on 29 July. The three other pieces in the programme are Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams, Tintagel by Arnold Bax and Shostakovich’s Symphony No 5 in D minor.

NCO has six orchestras in total and works with around 600 young people aged 7-14, while its regional orchestras network provides tuition to a further 750 students each year.