A talented cellist from Year 11 at a local school has landed a spot in the National Youth Folk Ensemble (NYFE) for the upcoming 2023 season.

Alf Steward will be playing with a group of 21 other gifted musicians, between the ages of 14 and 18, from across England.

The selection process for the NYFE began in spring of last year, where musicians submitted videos of their performances. Alf was then invited to attend a live audition day at Cecil Sharpe House in London in July of 2022, where he was assessed on his instrumental technique, musicality, and ensemble skills.

After being selected, Alf began his four-week commitment, which includes intensive residential courses in various regions of England. Under the guidance of NYFE’s artistic director, Sam Partridge, and a team of professional musicians and folk-artist educators from across the UK, the group will work on their instrumental technique, performance, and arrangement skills.

Recently, the group had their first live performance at The Fire Station, an Arts Centre & Performance Venue in Sunderland, where they played a triple-bill with the Grace Smith Trio. Their repertoire will continue to develop throughout two further residentials in the Easter and Summer holidays.

They have Summer gigs secured in various locations, including Camden and the South Bank Centre in London, and the Saltburn Festival in North Yorkshire.