A Short History: #Samyo11

This Saturday, the culmination of months of preparation will be Samyo’s 11th annual showcase concert, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. In a series of preview articles and behind-the-scenes stories, we tell you more about the people, music and ambitions of Samyo, the National Youth Orchestra for Indian Music. In Part 2 of 5, find out all about how Samyo began and what it’s been doing for 11 years!

In Milapfest’s early years as a festival and promoter, a lot of excellent young musicians, teachers and professionals from England were presented in performance. Through these experiences, and our wide network of contacts, we came across brilliant teachers, students and teaching centres, where young people and children were learning and developing their talent. With limited, small-scale opportunities, we felt that their talents were seen by very few people, and they had few opportunities to grow. The idea of a National Youth Orchestra in a partnership programme with Youth Music was born, in a momentous and memorable meeting with the directors of the two organisations in London. The idea was to give performance, training and development opportunities to young talented musicians. Since 2003, and a debut performance at The Lowry, and a London debut at The Southbank Centre, Samyo has toured, performed and held residencies all over the country, giving us a rich history of experiences and memories. Here are some of our highlights!

*In Samyo’s first two music retreats, Pt Ajoy Chakraborty and Professor T V Gopalakrishnan taught the orchestra skills, compositions and techniques.

* In June 2004, Samyo helped to celebrate Youth Music’s 5th anniversary in The BIG GIG, a huge celebration of music-making

* In 2004, on the back of the early success of Samyo, a new National Ensemble for Indian Music, Tarang, was founded, to showcase the best emerging artists of the country, helping

*From 2006 to 2008, Samyo’s annual summer school was held in partnership with Dartington International Summer School in Devon

*In August 2008, Samyo opened the Festival of British Youth Orchestras in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, where it was part of the Edinburgh Fringe

*Samyo has performed over the years in major venues like The Bridgewater Hall, The Sage Gateshead, The Lowry, Southbank Centre and The Symphony Hall, Birmingham

*In 2009 our first CD recording, TRIBUTES by SAMYO, was released, and in 2013, TEN by Samyo, our second, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the orchestra.

*In 2011, Samyo Too, a small version of our main orchestra, began touring the country in performances and education sessions.

*In April 2013, Samyo became a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England, and is one of eight National Youth Music Organisations.

Samyo Too, our mini ensemble, performs at The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool, October 2013

Samyo Too, our mini ensemble, performs at The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool, October 2013

We’ve been told that Samyo is the only orchestra of its kind in the world, and in the future, we plan to share our music all over the UK, Europe and globally too. We hope you can play a part in making history with us!

Why are we called Samyo?

SAMYO or SOUTH ASIAN MUSIC – YOUTH ORCHESTRA! was the official title for our orchestra, telling our audiences, young people and teachers that SAMYO was for all South Asians, in a time when it was more appropriate to use South Asian for Indian. In recent years, while our original name has stuck, we discovered that not many people call the art form South Asian music, and we are open, welcoming and actively promote our orchestra to people of all backgrounds, whether Indian, South Asian or from any other cultural background. We like the way SAMYO sounds, but nowadays, to make sure people understand better what we do, we’re called the National Youth Orchestra for Indian Music. Everyone is welcome!


Samyo at the 10th anniversary concert in March 2013

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