New York concert date for Kells flautist

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

A Kells teenager has been selected to join the prestigious National Youth Orchestra.

Jake Houston has been playing the flute for eight years and is set to take his place in the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers in December.

The 16-year-old will join 164 other teenagers from all over the country as part of the Youth Orchestra, which is also planning its first ever tour to the USA in 2019.

The members of the orchestra were selected following 76 days of auditions held in 11 cities across the country. Together they will tour major UK concert halls, volunteer 1,000 combined hours to NYO Inspire, and give a debut performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.


The Cambridge House pupil is understandably excited about the opportunity.

He told the Guardian: “It is a once in a lifetime experience to perform alongside the most talented teenagers in classical music.”

Jake will join the orchestra when it meets for the first time this December, rehearsing in residence at the University of Warwick with conductor Kirill Karabits.

Together the musicians will explore music inspired by human anxieties in a changing modern world, including John Adams’s Doctor Atomic Symphony, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 and a new arrangement of Rick Dior’s Science Fiction which has been specially re-orchestrated for NYO and will be performed alongside a film projection featuring sci-fi movie scenes.

Jake, who has been playing the flute since he was just six years old has been tutored by his father Glen Houston along with other well known musicians including Manchester Flute Professional Stephen Clark, and currently Bill Dowdall at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Musical talent reigns supreme with Jake, who also plays guitar and piano which he enjoys very much.

He is no stranger to musical accolades as in 2014 Jake was crowned Northern Ireland Primary School Young Musician of the Year and was also offered one of only six flute vacancies for The National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain which he performed with from 2014 - 2016.


A very successful 2014 ended with Jake being awarded 3rd place in The Azumi European Flute Talent Competition which was adjudicated by Gareth Davies, the Flute Principal with The London Symphony Orchestra.

Jake was the only UK flute student to feature in the top 3 places.

Jake regularly studies with Sir James Galway and will be performing at a masterclass with him at the RIAM on December 5 this year, before joining the National Youth Orchestra and being involved in it’s busy schedule.

The orchestra will take part in the world premiere of a new National Anthem, written by British Indian musician Nitin Sawhney.

The piece reflects the highs and lows of Brexit and reflects on modern daycharacteristics of Great Britain: multi-culturalism, diversity and openness. After touring England, Jake and his fellow musicians will travel to New York and Chicago, to perform at the Ravinia Festival.

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