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Assisted Places boy is youngest ever Leader of National Youth Orchestra

18 October 2011

Roberto Ruisi, who is currently on an Assisted Place in the Fifth Form at King Edward's, has been chosen as the leader of Britain's prestigious National Youth Orchestra. At the age of 15, he is the youngest player ever to be chosen for this key position. He has been playing the violin since he was 3, and has already been a member of the Orchestra since he was 13.

Roberto was awarded a music scholarship and an Assisted Place on entry, so that his education is being entirely funded through the financial support of Old Edwardian John Osborn (1962).

The National Youth Orchestra comprises the best 170 musicians in this country under the age of 19. Each year it puts on high-profile concerts at major venues, including the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Roberto's first two concerts as leader will be in January 2012 at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool and at the Barbican Hall in London. In 2012, the National Youth Orchestra will have a prominent role to play in the Cultural Olympics which will be linked with the Olympics.

"This appointment is a real credit to Roberto's talent and dedication, as well as to the staff here who have supported his progress, and to Nathaniel Vallois, his teacher," said John Claughton, Chief Master. It is also remarkable that Robbie manages to cope with the demands of his music whilst doing 10 GCSEs well, and being a straightforward, nice young man."

Roberto will take up his new role in December. He comes from a very musical family: his oldest brother, Max, is a professional musician studying in Switzerland and Amsterdam. His middle brother, Alessandro, is studying at the Royal College of Music.

Roberto says: "I am overwhelmed that I have been chosen, especially so soon. When I went down to the final audition, I thought that I might just be there for the experience. It was an honour and a thrill to be chosen as a principal last year, and we play with so many other great players, so to be the leader is beyond anything I could have expected."

Peter Bridle, who has directed the school's Symphony Orchestra for the last 35 years and was awarded an OBE for services to music, said:

"As soon as we heard Robbie play five years ago, we all knew that he was special, but even we could not have expected him to attain such an honour so young. We believe that the school's Symphony Orchestra is one of the very best school orchestras in the country, and this has given Robbie wonderful opportunities inside school."