Gordonstoun student on her way to the BBC Proms with the National Youth Orchestra

Posted: 16th October 2023

Gordonstoun student Katie Parker has been awarded a place with the prestigious National Youth Orchestra (NYO) of Great Britain.

The 17-year-old was introduced to the French Horn at the age of 12, as part of a programme at Gordonstoun’s Junior School, that ensures every child plays a musical instrument.

Katie is now looking forward to appearing at the BBC Proms next year.

Katie was chosen for the NYO following a gruelling day of auditions in Manchester.

She will be one of 160 young musicians to take part in the gala event – regarded as the ‘world’s greatest classical music festival – at London’s Albert Hall.

It is another step up for Katie after spending the past year with the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS). She is also part of the Royal Conservatoire Scotland Junior Programme, which involves travelling to Glasgow most weekends for practice.

Katie spends a minimum of three hours every day on the French horn and is hoping to go on and study at Music College when she leaves school next year.

Before the BBC Proms, Katie will be taking part in several other prestigious events, including an appearance at London’s Barbican Hall in January.

Katie said: “I started playing French horn when I was 12 and have been supported by the music department since the day I arrived. They have seen me through last year at junior school, my first NYOS experiences, being accepted into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Junior Programme, and now the NYO.

“I never dreamed I’d be where I am today, but music’s become a fundamental aspect of who I am, and I can’t wait to continue this exciting journey.”

Katie is the first Gordonstoun student for several years to be selected for the NYO and is one of many currently playing with the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland. The school also has several students singing with the National Youth Choir.

Gordonstoun delivers 500 music lessons every week, led by Gordonstoun Head of Music Phoebe Csenki.

She said: “Katie is on cloud nine right now, to get a place in the National Youth Orchestra is a fantastic achievement. I am totally thrilled for her, as the competition to win a place with the Orchestra is extremely tough.

“Katie will be just one of a handful playing the French horn and being pushed to reach a higher level will hopefully spur her on to a career in music. She has shown great determination and commitment to reach this stage and is a credit to the school.

“This is an amazing opportunity for Katie and will open a lot of doors for her, she is an inspiration to the rest of the students and hopefully a few more will follow in her steps.”

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