Alumni Stories: From the Archives


This year I'll be raking through the NYOS Archives in search of interesting stories, reflecting on the organisation's history in order to build on past successes (of which there are many!). I’ll be updating this blog with my findings in the lead up to NYOS’s 40th anniversary in 2019.

Possibly the most exciting thing to come out of this project is the sheer scale and impact that NYOS has created since its inception in 1979. In fact, it is difficult to talk to anyone who works within the Scottish music sector without coming across their history playing with a NYOS ensemble. Our orchestras have performed some 650 concerts over the last 38 years, 270 with the Symphony Orchestra alone. Our Alumni number in the thousands, and are spread across the globe.

There’s so much so say, that there’s even a book written about us!

So, where to start? My first find is the Symphony Orchestra’s mammoth ‘Viking Tour’ in 1982, sponsored by Volvo, of course.


This ambitious tour involved performances in Orkney, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. It was the first time a NYOS ensemble (the only one at the time) had toured outside of Scotland, and they made up for it with 7 concerts.

The BBC made a documentary about the tour for the programme Spectrum. The programme captures the essence of the tour with behind the scenes footage of rehearsals, recreation time and of course performances at each of the venues. All this is set against the backdrop of the Northern Scotland's and Scandanavia's beautiful landscape and accompanied by a wonderful score featuring music selected to be performed on the tour.


Have you played a part in a NYOS ensemble? No matter whether you played in one course or ten, I’d love to hear your stories and memories. If you'd like to contribute to the blog, please get in touch!

Becky Smith, Alumni & Projects Officer 

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