Category Archives: Classical

Young People Are Listening To Classical Music in 2019: Here’s Why

Scarla Radio, a new classical radio station, conducted a fresh study into who the consumers of classical music are and what the trends show. Surprisingly, the research discovered that a growing audience for the classics are under 35 year olds.

To many, the decision to greenlilght Scala Radio, a radio station founded on the belief that classical music can appeal to younger audiences, will have come as a surprise. But the study has shown clear indications of new listening trends, with almost half (45%) of young people saying they see classical music as an escape from the noise of modern life.

The new digital radio station will have DJ Simon Mayo at the forefront of its presenting team when it launches in March. Mayo, who left BBC Radio 2 last year, will be joined at Scarla by the unorthodox orchestral music lover Goldie.

The launch of a new classical entertainment station aimed at younger listeners is based on more than a hunch. Research found that a new generation of listeners was switching on to classical music through different sources, with 48% of under-35s exposed to it through classical versions of popular songs such as Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. By merging contemporary pop songs with classical arrangements it offers a new spin on the original version which bridges the gap many young people have with current music and more classical works. An example of how this works in practice is demonstrated below:


Furthermore, 74% of people in the same age group had experienced classical music via a live orchestral performance at a film screening, according to analysts at Insight working for Bauer Media, owner of Scarla Radio.

The media company had this to say in reference to the research: “Our studies have shown that film screenings, experiential events such as Secret Cinema and themed performances such as Pete Tong Ibiza Classics are key drivers in exposing younger audiences to classical music.” And this analysis appears to ring true as classical music is resonating more with the younger demographics than it has in decades. What has caused this resurgence is still a cause for debate but one possible indicator is the role it plays in modern entertainment and society as a whole.

Jack Pepper, Britain’s youngest commissioned composer, explored this theory: “Classical music is surrounded by the misconception that it’s irrelevant, sterile and inaccessible to a majority of people. What many don’t realise is there is an authentic modern-day narrative to accompany classical music which is really connecting with people.”

Citing the appeal of soundtracks for video games as well as for primetime TV dramas and the cinema, the 19 year old said that even the greats of the conventional repertoire still had something to say. “Even the classical masters like Beethoven and Mozart have shocking, entertaining, humorous and sometimes tragic life stories. A classical composer is a normal human being with the same ups and downs we can all relate to.”

Composer Jack Pepper

Jack Pepper has composed for the Royal Opera House and has collaborated with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jack will also be joining Scala Radio when it launches in March.

The growing popularity of classical music among young people follows recent survey results highlighting young people’s use of art galleries and museums as sanctuaries and figures released last week showing rising sales of poetry among young readers.

These findings can only serve as a positive for the classical genre with fears it could slip into insignificance for many of the British public. This research highlights a turning point, one that is hopefully not short-lived, so that many people can enjoy the genre of classical music for generations to come.

National Youth Orchestra 2019 – Audition Now!

The world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers is recruiting committed musicians from across the country to audition to be part of the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) in 2019 and take their music making to the highest level.

Teenagers performing in NYO

‘NYO is just awesome. All of it. The people, the concerts, the passion and the joy and excitement of the courses’ – Laurence, Trombone, NYO

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain comprises of 164 musicians aged 13-19 years old, from a variety of backgrounds and from every corner of the UK. They welcome applications from teenage musicians who play to Grade 8 distinction or equivalent standards, have a passion for orchestral music, a taste for adventure and great team spirit.

NYO are also recruiting teenage composers for a year of immersion in orchestral and creative opportunities, and teenage pianists to develop their orchestral keyboard playing.

Auditions are FREE, located across the country and bursaries are available to cover the full cost of being in NYO, including travel to auditions. The audition experience is positive, friendly and constructive and all auditionees  will receive a workshop and written feedback. Audition candidates will also have the opportunity to become a young music leader and share their skills with other committed musicians through NYO Inspire – offering breakthrough orchestral experiences to teenagers of all backgrounds.

Logo of National Youth Orchestra

The National Youth Orchestra are looking for new members.

Being part of NYO is a fantastic opportunity for young musicians to take their music making to the highest level. They will work with world-class tutors and conductors, play in the UK’s greatest concert halls and forge lifelong friendships with like-minded musicians.

Visit the National Youth Orchestra website to learn more about auditions, bursaries and advice from NYO musicians and tutors.

NYO is especially looking for talented young musicians in the North East of England to take part in the orchestra so if you are considering auditioning for the Youth Orchestra visit the website now!


Youth Orchestra Triumph At The Sage.

A hot Monday evening, 17th July 2017 saw the Tees Valley Youth Orchestra play to a packed hall One at the Sage Gateshead.  The first half, Romeo & Juliet Suite No2 by Prokofiev, provided a worthy curtain raiser to the main event, the Shostakovitch 10th Symphony.   This work, premiered just after Stalin’s death, has been described as “the musical embodiment of oppression”.  The young musicians were augmented by some returning alumni for the occasion, making a 120 strong orchestra that spanned the entire stage of this excellent venue. The audience loved it and showed as much with a fully committed standing ovation.  Maestro Nick Nowicki lightened the mood for the encores (from Shostakovitch Jazz Suite & Borodin, Polotsvian Dances), delivered with gusto and no small measure of humour that left the audience smiling all the way through another ovation.

The Levendale Singers

The Levendale Singers were formed in April 1980 at Levendale School on the Levendale Estate, Yarm which is situated just above the River Leven, hence the name ‘The Levendale Singers’. It began under the leadership of a local Bank Manager with twelve members and by January 1996 had a performance of 45. From this time onwards the choir has gone from strength to strength in balance of parts, performance and popularity.

The choir was a member of the National Federation of Music Societies (NFMS) and a registered Charity. The Society was run by a committee consisting of Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Conductor and several other members of the choir. The committee, other than the Conductor and NFMS Representative, was elected annually from the body of the choir, all of whom are eligible to stand after having been a member for a minimum of one year.

The choir sang a wide variety of music including songs from musicals, religious pieces, folk songs, classical pieces etc. Concerts included sections from Les Miserables, Disney Films, Phantom of the Opera and settings of well-known religious and secular pieces. They sang an average of 8 concerts a year, including an Annual Fund Raising Concert and an Annual Christmas Concert, in a variety of venues over an area stretching from Teesdale to Ripon. In 1998 the choir was invited to take part in the Tyne Tees Television production ‘With Voices Raised’.

As well as their normal repertoire the choir occasionally sang concert versions of Gilbert and Sullivan and tackled works such as Hayden’s Creation, messiah and Stainer’s Crucifixion and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. They also included Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast as part of an anniversary concert and on another occasion invited the audience to a night at the proms.

Unfortunately, the latter years have seen choir numbers decrease significantly which eventually led the remaining members to decide to close ‘The Levendale Singers’ ensemble in 2017. As a remarkably kind gesture, the group donated their entire music library to TVMS.


  • 1980 – 1983: Alan Pittfield
  • 1983 – 1993: Heather Rumney
  • 1993 – 1995: Peter Smith
  • 1996 – 2011: Vicki Boolaky
  • 2012 – 2013: Richard McDonald & Karen Kilburn
  • 2013 – 2014: Andrew Young
  • 2014 – 2015: Nick Wills
  • 2015 – 2016: Jane Ford
  • 2016 – 2017: Elizabeth Edwards
The Levendale Singers

                                     1983 – 1992

The Levendale Singers

                            1996 – 2011

The Levendale Singers


The Levendale Singers

                                2015 – 2016

The Levendale Singers

                                    2016 – 2017

Gala Concert 2017 – Rehearsal Schedule

The annual and widely praised Gala Concert is returning in May. Below is the rehearsal schedule for the musicians performing in the event from Tees Valley Youth ‘Premier’ Ensembles: Big Band, Brass Band, Youth Choir, Youth Orchestra. Wind Orchestra and Yangchin.


Please be ready to rehearse promptly at the following times: 

  • 2:00 – Choir
  • 2:30 – Orchestra
  • 3:00 – Youth Orchestra, Big Band, Brass Band, Choir, Wind Orchestra
  • 3:30 – Big Band
  • 4:00  Wind Orchestra
  • 4:30 – Brass Band


Like last year, the Gala Concert will take place at Stockton Baptist Tabernacle on Saturday 6th May 2017. Door open at 6:30 PM.

More information will follow in the coming weeks.


TVMS Christmas Concert

The TVMS Christmas Concert, which took place on Sunday 11th December at 5PM, was a roaring success. The event saw TVMS premier ensembles Tees Valley Youth Orchestra and Tees Valley Youth Choir being joined by various Teesside schools as they performed a repertoire of festive music.

Taking place at Teesside High, the event was met with high praise with many audience members complementing the professionalism and high quality music making the groups displayed (not just in this concert but also in previous events).

Both TVYC and TVYO yet again displayed to the spectators that hard work and commitment pays off as the complex music pieces were played with seemingly little effort needed.

The photos that were taken from the event can be viewed below:


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Shine Festival

Shine Festival: A Music Festival for the Tees Valley Plans are currently underway for a new music festival set to take place across the Tees Valley in March 2017! Shine! Festival will be a mixture of traditional and contemporary with both competitive and non-competitive classes, and we’re adding prize money too! This festival is not so much a new idea, but a fresh look on a tradition that continues to thrive in other areas across the country and even internationally. We plan to add new elements into this festival (e.g. masterclasses and monetary prizes) to ensure that it appeals to a wider cross section of musicians. We have widened the entry criteria to allow for more flexibility e.g. there are no set pieces and we have designed the classes according to Grade level rather than age. We would also like to encourage community groups and choirs to participate in this festival, and we have created a day designed specifically for this, with its own concert to celebrate the diversity and range of music making taking place in the Tees Valley.  Here is the provisional programme – save the dates!

Saturday 18th March 2017Kings Academy, Middlesbrough (TBC)Vocal solos and duetsKevin Thraves: Head of Staff in the Opera and Vocal Studies Dept at the Royal Northern College of Music
Sunday 19th March 2017Yarm SchoolPiano classes – solos and duetsRichard McMahon: Former Head of Keyboard at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and current panellist for BBC Young Musician
Friday 24th March 2017Tuned In, RedcarSchool GroupsTom Redmond: Horn player (Halle Orchestra), animateur and BBC presenter and broadcaster
Saturday 25th March 2017Yarm SchoolInstrumental classes – solos and duetsChris Daly – Adjudicator for Federation of Festivals
Saturday 25th March 2017, 6pmYarm SchoolPRIZE WINNERS CONCERT FOR ABOVE CLASSESGuest presenter TBC
Sunday 26th March 2017Tuned In, RedcarChoirs and Community classesBill Watson: Musical Director for Durham Youth Jazz Orchestra and Sunderland University Big Band, Music Mentor for Music for Youth.

The Ebor Quartet – Matthew Johnson

“The Ebor Quartet was formed in late October 2014. Since then we had been working on large pieces of music for our finale concert on the 2nd May 2015. We love exploring musical pieces composed by Beethoven and Mozart, playing purely for the love of these amazing works. We meet twice a week and push ourselves to play to the highest achievable level a quartet group can possible reach.

Tees Valley Music Service supported all four of us and gave us a solid music education that has benefited us greatly over the past 5 years and I have no doubt will continue to benefit us in years to come. They do such amazing work with young musicians and continue to support their students, past and present. There are many talented people who have helped me to develop my musical ability over the years but two people, I believe, should be praised  specifically. Penny Ferguson (cello teacher) and Jeff Sawdon (area coordinator when I was there)  are two brilliant examples of the dedication the staff give to the young musicians they teach and support. The commitment and enthusiasm The Ebor Quartet has when together is down to the commitment and enthusiasm TVMS staff show towards each and everyone of their pupils.” – Matthew Johnson

Since this quote was documented, Matthew has gone on to achieve a Degree in Cello playing and is hoping to gain a Master of Arts Degree in Chamber Music while studying at York University later in the year.

String quartet 1


Chronicle Review of TVYO Concert

Rob Barnes of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle published an in-depth review of the TVYO performance at The Sage on Monday (follow our Youtube link at the bottom of the Home Page for a video clip of the finale).  Describing the work as “a monumental undertaking for any professional orchestra, let alone one comprising around 120 young musicians” he praised Nick Nowicki for allowing the players enough freedom to express themselves and awarded “Full marks to all for not taking the low road but instead performing one of the great classical works in a manner that will stay with them and their audience for a very long time”. 

Read the full review here…