The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is committed to the development of New Zealand’s young orchestral musicians through the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.

Since its inception in 1959, the National Youth Orchestra has played a vital role in providing unique opportunities for the country’s young orchestral performers, many of whom have gone on to forge successful careers as orchestral players, soloists, chamber musicians and teachers. Approximately 50% of the current players in the NZSO are former members of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.

This year, NYO is comprised of two programmes consisting of an NZSO/NYO Side by Side rendering of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 in C major and NYO Composer in Residence Ihlara McIndoe’s new piece, which will be led by kiwi conductor, Gemma New.  2021 also includes a thrilling contemporary programme curated by NZSO Principal Conductor in Residence, Hamish McKeich, and conducted by our NZSO Fellowship in Conducting students.

By applying you agree to being available for the entire duration of the course.

NYO will run from 10am, 27 June until 5pm, 4 July, and 11am, 9 July until 5pm, 11 July.


NZSO Side by Side Orchestra Programme
Ihlara McIndoe: NZSO National Youth Composer in Residence 2021
Shostakovich: No. 7 in C major Leningrad

Auckland – Sunday 4 July / 2:00pm / Auckland Town Hall
Wellington –  Sunday 11 July / 2:00pm / Michael Fowler Centre

NYO Classical Contemporary Programme
Programme to be announced

Auckland – Saturday 3 July / 4:30pm / Auckland Town Hall
Wellington – Saturday 10 July / 4:30pm / Michael Fowler Centre


Applications and recorded auditions will be due by 5pm on Sun 11 April. The link for uploading your audio file, headshot and bio is available here. 

Please note all students applying for acceptance into the 2021 programme will need to submit an audio CD or MP3 recording of themselves. This audio recording should be made in one take and should be unedited. Students who do not comply with these rules will not be considered for inclusion in the orchestra. 

Tips for creating your recording
Make sure that the recording itself demonstrates the highest possible audio quality so that your performance can be evaluated fairly. Always keep an extra copy of your audition recording in case there are problems along the way. There are a few restrictions for any audition recording:

  • Do not speak on your audition to introduce yourself or the excerpts. These auditions are anonymous.
  • Your audition should be created as one file. You should not stop the recording in any way during the audition.
  • No editing to fix bad notes
  • Do not electronically alter your recording in any way.


26 February – Excerpts will be sent out by email on receipt of completed audition form.

11 April - Closing date for applications – recordings must be submitted by 5pm on this date. Apply here!

28 April - Positions for 2021 National Youth Orchestra offered

3 May - Final date for accepting a place