The day the National Youth Orchestra took over Bow School in classic style

The National Youth Orchestra performing with students at Bow School. Pictures and video: Ken Mears

The National Youth Orchestra performing with students at Bow School. Pictures and video: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of pupils got a live performance from one of Britain’s pioneering orchestras when 75 musicians turned up at their school in Bromley-by-Bow.

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain spent the day yesterday at the new Bow School campus in Twelvetrees Crescent, by the Lea River in east London, as part of an educational programme getting more youngsters involved in the world of classical music.

Its 75 musicians played modern classics in the school library atrium in the afternoon alongside 50 students who are studying music.

The rest of the school vied for places up on the balconies overlooking the ground-floor performance area to watch and listen.

The visit was arranged by the school’s head of music, Owen Bourne, a former member of the youth orchestra himself when he was a student.

The National Youth Orchestra performing with students at Bow School. Pictures and video: Ken Mears

The National Youth Orchestra performing with students at Bow School. Pictures and video: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant


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Owen, now 36, distinguished his time as a music student 20 years ago when he became the first ever composer with the orchestra when he was 16.

The former Bow Boys School which became coeducational when girls joined the new campus three years ago now has 1,600 pupils.

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Music is high on the school’s curriculum, so the performance was a high spot in the day as the youngsters crowded onto the atrium balconies to watch and listen to excerpts including from Star Wars, from West Side Story and other modern orchestral works.

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