Stewartry teen chosen for National Orchestra

Anna Hodson
Anna Hodson

Anna Hodson, 13 from Castle Douglas has been awarded a position as a violinist in the National Orchestra for All’s flagship ensemble.

The National Orchestra for All creates opportunities for young people facing challenging circumstances and rural areas to flourish and achieve through music and is supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Teach First.

Just 90 young people are selected from across the UK each year because of their commitment and dedication to music, often in challenging circumstances. Anna has been nominated by her teacher Alison Guthrie, because she is a talented and mature young person who would relish this opportunity. Performing, learning and playing music together has been proven by leading academics to have a huge impact on young people – developing numeracy, language skills, social skills, team work, discipline and confidence. NOFA aims to ensure all children can access these life-transforming opportunities.

Through several days of intensive rehearsals, the young musicians will prepare famous orchestral works such as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Heaven by Emilie Sandé. Anna will also have the opportunity to perform in the première of a new work commissioned by the Leeds Piano Competition exclusively for NOFA with internationally acclaimed pianist Alexandra Dariescu.

The National Orchestra for All began in 2011 with just 40 players. Now in its fifth year, a 90-strong orchestra of talented young musicians from across the UK will take to the stage. In the last five years NOFA has performed at the Southbank Centre and Royal Albert Hall. The orchestra will also perform during the year at the distinguished LSO St Luke’s in London, the home of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Some of the first NOFA members are now, five years later, beginning to leave the orchestra. NOFA alumni are going on to study at universities including Oxford and Chicago and to study subjects such as music and even crisis management.

Anna, who describes herself as “social, hard working, musical, cheerful, dramatic and sporty”, says: “I am looking forward to meeting new people and I’m not nervous about anything!”

Anna will be representing her school, Castle Douglas High School. The concert at the First Direct Leeds Arena to an audience of 3,000 will take place on 29 July.