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No slump here

In "More strings to all our bows", (TES, March 1), Aelwyn Pugh says applications to the National Youth Orchestra have slumped.

I do not know where this information was obtained, but it certainly was not checked with this office.

In fact, the number of new auditioners for the NYO has increased each year for the past five years with an overall increase of more than 100 per cent. In 1990, for example, there were 185 auditioners; in 1995 there were 422. Standards have been as high as ever throughout the period.

Mr Pugh's assertion flies in the face of the facts and could be extremely damaging to the image and reputation of NYO.

MICHAEL DE GREY Chief executive National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain Causeway House Lodge Causeway Fishponds Bristol

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