AN ENVIABLE REPUTATION
Mike Brewer and the National Youth Choirs
celebrate their 25th anniversary,
by ROBERT HUGILL
On Sunday 13 April 2008 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain will be celebrating their 25th anniversary with a gala concert which will feature some 650 young musicians, the Kings Singers and the South Asian Youth Orchestra in music ranging from Heinrich Schütz to the NYC's composer in residence, Richard Allain (born 1964) and a new work by Eric Whitacre (born 1970). Along the way the groups will perform music by composers as diverse as Parry, Vaughan Williams, Sally Beamish, Hans Leo Hassler, Giles Swayne and Daniel Lesur. Conductors will include Bob Chilcott, Sue Hollingworth, Sir David Willcocks and Mike Brewer. David Hill, no less, will play the organ, though the majority of the programme is unaccompanied. In style the music covers medieval, Indian, African, renaissance as well as contemporary.
This whole is presided over by Mike Brewer who is the musical director of the National Youth Choirs and has been so since the group's creation in 1983. That first concert, at St John's Smith Square at Easter 1983, featured a choir of just sixty singers. The group has its origins in the British Youth Choir of the 1970s. Mike Brewer joined in 1981 and by 1983 they had developed an auditioning system which was on a par with that of the National Youth Orchestra and felt they could call themselves the National Youth Choir.
Members of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain
Despite being in post for over 25 years and running a parallel career as a choir trainer and pedagogue extraordinare, Brewer's enthusiasm for the NYC and its aims is undimmed. In interview he is clearly pleased to be able to say that the group is continuing to expand and will be splitting the Training Choir into two groups this year, such is the demand.
Copyright © 18 March 2008
Robert Hugill, London UK