Emerging Professional Artist programmes

The National Youth Choir exists to provide exciting and inclusive creative opportunities for all young people. 

As part of this remit, our Emerging Professional Artists programme, supports young singers, composers and conductors as they emerge into the professional world. It aims to address inequalities in the music industry by creating professional development pathways for those who are under-represented in choral music. Participants in our Emerging Professional Artists programmes work closely with the National Youth Choir (18-25 years) and our other choirs.

Photography: Rich Hardcastle 

Monday 21st February 2022 


Read the first NYCGB Fellowship 2022 blog, written by Olivia Shotton. Olivia discusses her experiences of starting the NYCGB Fellowship Programme and the diverse range of opportunities which she has taken part in in her first three months as a Fellow. 

I am delighted to be part of the 2022 Fellowship, and despite the fact that we are only three months into our journey, we have already been involved in so much! 

In January, we had our first in-person meet-up, with all new Fellows and Composers. We had homework(!) to prepare for this; to choose two pieces, one on the theme of environment, and one free choice to share with the group. The day was very practical, and there was a lot to get through. We participated in warm-ups, worked on some activities around vocal technique, and did a little bit of conducting. It was a very supportive environment, and it was easy to feel relaxed and get involved. Later, we had headshots and group shots taken with a professional photographer. One of the highlights of the day for me was the sharing of the ‘homework’. It was particularly good to do this with both the Fellows and Composers; when I pick music, I always approach it as a conductor/singer. Doing this exercise with composers who approached it in a different way led to me hearing and discussing music that I would not normally have considered for a task like this.

Our next event was a week later in early February, and it was a big one! The Showcase was a great opportunity to meet the outgoing fellows and composers, and to see and hear first-hand the progress that can made by the end of the Fellowship. It was a long day for the recording, as we had interviews and performances to get through, all in the beautiful VOCES8 Centre. It was a great to be involved in a professional recording experience, and to see all that goes into making an event like this a success.  

What has been noticeably clear in the Fellowship so far is that we have access to many people who have an overwhelming amount of knowledge to share and who really want to help us succeed. Through the online AOTOS (Association of Teachers of Singing) workshop we took part in in February, we got to talk in more depth about the technical aspects of singing. Not only this, but we were invited to take part in a mentorship scheme where we are connected to a professional - a relationship that is tailored to our own specific singing needs. 

In March, the Fellows had a participatory workshop with Ruth Evans and Charlotte Brosnan. This was a brilliantly fun way to spend a Saturday - teaching, sharing, and learning different exercises we can use with choirs; in fact, I have already used many of them with my own choirs! In the afternoon, we took some time to reflect and discuss the make-up of our own careers - the practicalities of money and time, and how that fits with our perception of our own identity, both musical and otherwise. One of the most unique parts of being an NYCGB Fellow is that we are being prepared for a career in the industry, in addition to working on our musical skills.  

This week, I am joining the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain at the London Handel Festival for a performance on the opening night - another example of the many varied opportunities we get! I am excited to be singing a solo accompanied by period instruments in the performance, and to get some experience in front of the Chamber Choir as a conductor, as I will be leading a small section of the rehearsal. 

I am looking forward to the many events, workshops, masterclasses, courses, and performances still to come!