What is Yorchestra?

Yorchestra is a non-residential holiday orchestra in York, open to all young musicians aged 6–21, and catering for all levels of experience, from pre-grade 1 to grade 8+

There are five different orchestras, meaning that players of all abilities have a great opportunity to have fun making music and new friends, whether they have been learning their instrument for just six months or are accomplished musicians who have been playing for several years.

Yorchestra Young Strings (“YoYoStrings”)

String players (aged 6 and 7 years old)

Yorchestra 4

Players aged 8+ (Learning instrument 6 months – Grade 1)

Yorchestra 3

Players aged 8+ (Grade 2-4)

Yorchestra 2

Grade 4-6

Yorchestra 1

Grade 7+

Participants enjoy between 1 and 4 days of orchestral playing, sectionals, chamber music and workshops.

You can see a short video about Yorchestra here:

More about the orchestras ▶︎


When and where does Yorchestra take place?

Yorchestra courses are held during the school holidays at Easter, summer and Christmas.  There are courses for all orchestras during the summer and Christmas sessions.  The Easter session is for Yorchestra 3, Yorchestra 4 and Yorchestra Young Strings only.

Yorchestras 1 and 2 take place at the University of York Music Department, with Yorchestras 3 and 4 and YoYoStrings usually taking place nearby, at Heslington Church.

The next Yorchestra course, which is our Christmas / New Year 2019/20 course, will take place from 2-4 January 2020:

2nd 3rd 4th

More details on the Christmas course can be found here: Christmas 2019/20 course ▶︎

Information on all our courses can be found here: Courses ▶︎

More information on course venues can be found here: Venues ▶︎

How much does it cost?

Yorchestra costs £50 per day if paying full fees.

We believe this represents fantastic value for money, given the high quality of the course, but we also appreciate that some families face difficult financial circumstances. We are keen to ensure that as many young musicians as possible should be able to access what Yorchestra has to offer, and some assistance with course fees is available in the form of bursary funding for eligible applicants.  For more information, please see our bursaries page.

We also offer a number of discounts, including
  • 10% Early Bird discount (available to all applicants)
  • 25% “bring a friend” discount (for returning players who introduce a new player)
  • 25% “first-time player” discount (for any player who is new to Yorchestra).

See our discounts page  for full details.

Yorchestra is a registered charity, and is non-profitmaking.


How do I apply?

Simply complete the appropriate online application form for the orchestra you wish to apply for, and make payment for the relevant course fee (by bank transfer or cheque), before the closing date shown on this page.  Online applications for bursary funding should be submitted at the same time.

Applications are dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis, so we encourage all players to apply as early as possible.

Apply to join Yorchestra! ▶︎


What makes Yorchestra special?

One of the amazing things about Yorchestra is the quantity and quality of our conductors and tutors, a fact reflected by the fact that 75% of our course fees are spent on tutor costs.

We engage professional musicians, assisted by student tutors, to ensure that players of all instruments receive the expert and specific tuition that they need and deserve, enabling them to tackle a varied and challenging repertoire with confidence and enjoyment.

More about Yorchestra ▶︎


What do others say about Yorchestra?

Don’t just take our word for it!  These are a few of the enthusiastic comments received from players, parents and tutors on previous Yorchestra courses:

I love Yorchestra; it was my first orchestral experience and I strongly believe that I wouldn’t be part of National Youth Orchestra, City of Leeds Youth Orchestra and various other organisations if I hadn’t taken part back when I was 11 years old.

I would like to thank you and all of the Yorchestra community for another fabulous Yorchestra 4 day. I am always so surprised and delighted by the transition from nervous, shy child to confident performer, in just a few hours.”

I have been trying to persuade my daughter to join an orchestra for years with no success and she was on the verge of packing in altogether. However, she has enjoyed every minute of the course and is now really excited about playing. In fact she has even asked to join music centre. I am just delighted and really wanted to pass on a big thank you to all involved for providing such an amazing opportunity for the youngsters in York.”

More testimonials ▶︎

For the very latest on Yorchestra, visit our news page!

News ▶︎