About Yorchestra

For beginners and experienced players alike, Yorchestra brings young musicians together to enjoy music-making in a remarkable way.

You can see a short video about Yorchestra here:

Special experience

Yorchestra offers young players the experience of playing in a symphony orchestra with the full range of orchestral instruments. New friendships are made and playing skills noticeably improve after a few days’ intensive work.

Great facilities

The courses for Y1 and Y2 take place in the York University Music Department, which is specially designed for rehearsing a full symphony orchestra with all its sections.

Y3, Y4 and Yorchestra Young Strings courses are usually run in the delightful setting of Heslington Church.  The Church has a number of meeting rooms which are ideal for sectional rehearsals, and stands in beautiful grounds with plenty of space for outdoor play at break and lunchtimes (weather permitting).

Excellent tutors

Yorchestra has an excellent team of professional musicians, assisted by student tutors, who conduct and coach members to a very high standard. There is a concert on the final day to which family and friends are invited and in which all players take part, performing a selection of the music worked on during the course.

A number of past Yorchestra players are now professional musicians, and several now teach regularly on the courses.


The standards of musicianship are high at Yorchestra and the courses are intensive.

It is, nevertheless, a holiday course where the emphasis is on having fun by making music, and there is a chance to relax in the breaks!

Yorchestra is a registered charity


Yorchestra is a non-profit making organisation which has been running courses since 1992. It is organised by a volunteer committee and supported by voluntary help from players’ parents.

Parents of all players are asked to give a small amount of time during each course to help with supervision at break times.

All young musicians are welcome to apply

Y_summer14.10All young musicians of a suitable standard are invited to apply. The make-up of the orchestras means that there are more places available for string players than for wind instruments. Early application is always advised, since places are offered on a first-come-first-served basis and can fill very quickly (particularly for the summer courses).  However, even if the application deadline has passed, please do feel free to contact us to see whether there are still spaces available.

Student-aged support players (SSPs)

Players of Y1 standard who have left school are eligible to come along and play with Y1, up to the age of 21. These places are free, but players should note that they play a supportive role – i.e. school-age Y1 players who have paid to attend the course take precedence in terms of position in the section. However, it does provide an opportunity to have a lot of fun exploring new repertoire and enjoying the input from our highly skilled conductors and tutors – as well as making new friends and meeting up with old friends.  Student-aged support players must attend the whole of the final day of the course and the evening concert, and are strongly encouraged to attend as much of the rest of the course as they can.

There is a specific online application form for SSP places, available from our application forms page.