Alison Lambert, past member of MYO, appearing as a soloist with the orchestra
“It was such a thrill to be in the midst of a big symphonic sound and to play such pieces as Dvorak 8, Brahms 2 and Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis. Now I am a professional violinist, I look back with much gratitude for the experience the MYO provided. I would strongly urge young musicians in the Midlands to consider applying to join the Midland Youth Orchestra.”
Pauline Lowbury – distinguished international violin soloist, chamber musician, leader and recording artist.
“I have always found that I've learnt so much from sitting next to people who are better and more experienced than myself – usually things which teachers cannot tell you. This, together with the obvious advantage of learning more repertoire, makes a good youth orchestra like the MYO a ‘must’ in a young musician's career.”
Gary Smith – freelance professional horn player, formerly principal horn of the Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa.
“The all too brief time that I was a member of the MYO was of immense value to me, providing that bridge between a ‘school’ and a ‘professional’ orchestra. I remember well concerts that inspired you to realise what a wonderful privilege it is to play such great music. The fact that I am able to do this with the BBCSO now is in no small measure due to the MYO and I shall always be deeply grateful for the opportunity and experience the MYO gave me.”
Robert Bishop – former sub-principal violinist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and freelance with the English Chamber Orchestra.
“As you will know, there was a time when the MYO was the only Youth Orchestra in town, and now others have copied the act, with varying degrees of success. The long history of the MYO is the standard by which other organisations will be judged, and that is the biggest compliment of all.”
Jonathan Taylor – sub-principal violinist (and former board director), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
“Being in the MYO was a great experience for me, both musically and socially. Thinking back, I am amazed at the challenging repertoire we covered, and this has stood me in really good stead for my professional life as a lot of the pieces I play now I actually learnt whilst in MYO! It was inspiring to be in an orchestra of such a high standard, and I was also honoured to be asked back as a soloist.”
Alison Lambert – freelance professional clarinettist and past soloist with the MYO.
“Under the directorship of Stephen Williams and James Langley, I was challenged, inspired, and worked hard. MYO was one of the most important parts of my musical development; it gave me the confidence and desire to go and study music at University.”
Moragh Brooksbank – music officer, South West Arts Board.
“I joined the Midland Youth Orchestra in January 1957, the Saturday after the inaugural concert at the Town Hall in Birmingham. I was at that concert and knew straight away that I wanted to be in this amazing orchestra. They played Dvorak 4 which I thought was just divine and I went straight out and bought the record, which I still have. I had never played a big symphony by a big composer before and my first was to be Brahms 4 which was mind blowing. Sitting in the background at rehearsals was Blyth Major's wife, Myriam, who in the early days was music librarian and secretary and was always there with a smile and encouraging remarks if anyone was unhappy about something. She and Blyth certainly made a good team and were totally dedicated to the orchestra. Later they were joined by Jim Langley and Stephen Williams who were equally so. This was the only youth orchestra in the Midlands of its standard and what an impact it has had on a lot of people's lives with many members going on to professional orchestras. I spent 10 most enjoyable years in the orchestra and was Secretary for the last five. We had exchange trips with the Frankfurt Youth Orchestra (FYO) starting with them coming to us in 1961 and us going over there in 1962 and 1965. I have kept in touch ever since with the person who stayed with me in 1961. We now go every year to stay with him and his wife. We spend a lot of time playing and six years ago met up with Peter Seifert, who used to be the secretary of the FYO, and we now play string quintets with him and his wife, too. I have the MYO to thank for these lovely friendships. As far as we are aware, we think we are the only people who have stayed in contact from that first trip. It is thanks to the MYO that I have many other lovely friends and have gone on to play so much music in the past 50 years; for this I shall be eternally grateful.”
Lesley Leigh – violinist and former MYO Secretary.