The National Youth Wind Orchestra – People

Eric McGavin

14.10.1915 – 10.11.1970


Founder of the original orchestra in 1968  The British Youth Wind Orchestra

Eric McGavin began his career in 1931 as a clarinettist in the Band of the Grenadier Guards where his enthusiasm for the ‘wind sound’ was realised.

On leaving the band he went into teaching until in 1950 he returned to London and joined the firm of Boosey and Hawkes where he became the head of the Woodwind department.

He was very active in the care and concern for young people especially in music and became aware that there were far more children learning to play instruments than there were parts for them in the school orchestra.

This situation led to the formation of ‘The British Youth Wind Orchestra’ in 1968 where any number of players could be involved and everyone had an important part to play.

A huge amount of effort had gone into convincing the establishment that his vision for the development of the Youth Wind Orchestra would have such great benefits both musically and morally for the players.

He was awarded an honorary LRAM by the Royal Academy of Music for his work with youth. He was also an amateur conductor who gave many performances as Musical Director of concerts and operettas as well as being an expert on ancient instruments giving lectures on the subject for the BBC Television.

Unfortunately Eric died two years after forming the orchestra at the early age of 55, but the work was carried on by many excellent people and became the ‘National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain’.

His vision has not only seen such superb results for youth but has helped to promote the ‘Sound’ of the Wind Orchestra.

Andrew McGavin


Vice President


Established The National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain as a charity in 1986

Andrew McGavin was a professional Horn player beginning in Grenadier Guards Band in 1938.

On leaving the band he joined the London Symphony Orchestra for seven years before moving on to the Philharmonia Orchestra for eighteen years.

Throughout the fifty years of his career he was a very active freelance player in London, and he toured the world with Chamber Orchestras involving Yehudi Menuhin, Daniel Barenboim and John Barry.

During his professional life he played with hundreds of different musicians, and he worked in many great films and in Television, recording and broadcasting with the BBC. He was priviledged to play with very distinguished musicians, conductors and orchestras, visiting so many great cities in more than twenty countries.

On many occasions during his career he also coached young people in the National Youth Wind Orchestra which formed in 1968. He has now retired and lives in Essex.