Aberdeen International Youth Festival

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Country and Region United KingdomScotland
Type of Festival Dance, Drama, Music
Location of Festival Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK
Festival Contact Information

Aberdeen International Youth Festival
Custom House
35 Regent Quay
AB11 5BE Scotland UK
Phone: (44) 12-2421-3800
Fax: (44) 12-2421-3833
Email: info@aiyf.org

Festival Description

Aberdeen International Youth Festival - the World Festival of Youth Arts—is one of the highlights of Aberdeen’s cultural calendar and is the major summer arts event in North East Scotland. Celebrating the best youth talent from all over the world, the Festival brings Aberdeen to life with 10 days of dazzling entertainment, music, theatre and dance kicking off with a colourful grand parade through the city centre. About 1000 young people from the world’s finest youth orchestras, bands, dance and theatre groups are brought together.

With events taking place throughout the North East there is something for everyone, from orchestral concerts to steel drums, song recitals and massed choirs to traditional music, ballet to African dance and drumming, as well as critically acclaimed opera productions and special events for children. The organizers invite groups to give workshops and perform in more informal settings, for example galleries and parks, in order to share their culture and art forms with young people in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen International Youth Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in conjunction with Waste Aware Aberdeen, will be a waste-neutral production. For more information please visit

Festival Dates July 26 - August 3, 2013
Festival Links http://www.aiyf.org/

Festival Story:

They organizers conceived the idea of bringing together youth orchestras from all over the world at a festival using music as a unifying bond to promote international understanding. The first International Festival of Youth Orchestras was held in 1969 in St Moritz in Switzerland. The Festival dates back originally to the 1960s where it was created by Blyth Major, Music Director of the Midland Youth Orchestra and Lionel Bryer, also founder of the European Community Youth Orchestra and former Chairman of the International Youth Foundation. Invited by the British Tourist Authority, in 1973 the Festival moved to the UK and established a base both in Aberdeen and London for the following five years. Due to the superb facilities and local support in the City of Aberdeen and its University, the Festival was able to expand to incorporate all forms of dance, jazz and choral music.

Over the years internationally renowned guest conductors have participated in the event. These individuals included Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini. In addition, Walter Susskind and Leopold Stokowski, were invited to conduct the Festival Orchestra—a specially created orchestra, which was invited to appear at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and also played at the opening concert of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1978 (the first youth orchestra to appear at The Edinburgh Festival).

Nicola Wallis, who had been associated with IFYO since 1973, was appointed Director in 1980 and the name of the Festival changed to the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. Stephen Stenning, formerly Director of the Community Programme at Dundee Rep, took over from Nicola Wallis as Chief Executive of the AIYF in May 2003.


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Practical Info:

  • The Festival uses venues across Aberdeen including -
    • His Majesty’s Theatre
    • Music Hall
    • Aberdeen Arts Centre
    • The Lemon Tree
    • Mitchell Hall
  • Towns across North East Scotland including Arbroath, Aberlour, Alford, Ballater, Banff, Brechin, Clatt, Findhorn, Fraserburgh, Inverurie, Insch, Keith, Portsoy, and Stonehaven.
  • Prices vary
  • Some free events
  • By Phone
    (44) 1224-641122
  • Online


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