A STUDENT from York has received news that is music to her ears – she has come through a tough audition process to gain a place in the prestigious National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO).

Katherine Raven, 18, started to learn the violin at the age of seven and achieved Grade 8 with distinction aged 15.

She took up the viola in September last year and is thrilled to have been offered a place as a viola player in the NYO, which has 170 members aged 19 and under from across the British Isles.

Katherine is studying for A-levels including music at All Saints RC School in York.

She plans to take a gap year to develop her viola playing and apply for admission to a UK conservatoire.

She said: “Playing in the NYO will greatly expand my musical repertoire and experiences, with the opportunity to learn from inspiring tutors and play for world class conductors in some of the best venues in the country.

“I’m looking forward to building new friendships travelling and playing with like-minded musicians of a very high calibre.”

Katherine is co-leader of the viola section in the 102-strong City of Leeds Youth Orchestra (CLYO), having previously been principal second violin for a year.

Four of her CLYO colleagues will join her in flying the flag for Yorkshire in the NYO – Jake Brown, 17, who will be the NYO’s principal percussionist, Tom Pritchard, 15, also a percussionist, violinist Jack Greed, 15 and Zach Owen, 17, who plays the cello.

The CLYO experience will stand the five young musicians in good stead for the NYO, which starts after Christmas with a residential course prior to a concert in Leeds Town Hall on 5 January.

Katherine said: “CLYO has given me the opportunity to expand my orchestral knowledge and repertoire, with a wide range of music and some amazing opportunities including playing for the Olympic torch relay and a phenomenal tour of eastern Germany.”

Dougie Scarfe, principal conductor of the CLYO, said: “CLYO has established itself as one of the finest youth orchestras in the country and the selection of an unprecedented five of its players by NYO is recognition that CLYO is a jewel in the crown for music-making in Yorkshire.”

The CLYO performs its first concert of the 2012-13 season on Saturday, with music by Copland, Françaix, Shostakovich and Elgar.

The venue is St Edmund’s Church, Roundhay, Leeds. Tickets are £10 (£5 concessions, with schoolchildren admitted free).