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Christmas course

The next Christmas Yorchestra course will run from 28-30 December 2017



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Course fees and bursaries

Yorchestra fees for 2017 are currently £50 per day, or £45 per day if applications are received by the ‘Early Bird’ discount deadline.

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 regarding bursaries, please contact the Yorchestra treasurer at Applications for bursary funding should be sent in at the same time as the course application. You can download a bursary application form here.


Venues and timings for Christmas 2017 courses

Y1 and Y2 will be held at the University of York

The courses will run from 10.00am to 4.00pm each day, with a concert at 7.30pm in the Sir Jack Lyons Hall on the final day.


Y3, Y4 and YoYoStrings will be held at Heslington Church

For Y3, the course will run from 10.00am to 3.45pm each day, with a concert at 3.15pm on the second day.

For Y4, the course will run from 10.00am to 3.45pm, with a concert at 3.15pm at the end of the day.

For YoYoStrings, the course will run from 10.00am to 12.30pm each day, with an informal concert to family and friends at 12.15pm on the second day.


For more information on course venues, including location maps and information about parking, click here: Venues ▶︎


Conductors and repertoire

Conductor for Y1: John Stringer

Born in Newcastle, John Stringer studied at Huddersfield and York. As a composer, his work has been performed by the Philharmonia and BBC Symphony Orchestras, amongst others.  As a conductor he has conducted contemporary music ensembles such as Black Hair and the New Music Players, as well as groups such as the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has worked with Jonathan Harvey, James Wood and Karlheinz Stockhausen, amongst others, and has been a stalwart of Yorchestra for many years, both up front, conducting on numerous Yorchestra courses, and behind the scenes helping to keep all running smoothly.




Repertoire for Y1:

(click on the links to hear recordings of these works by other orchestras)


Conductor for Y2: Gavin Usher

Gavin balances a busy career as a freelance violinist, conductor and music educator working with many groups across Yorkshire. As a music director and conductor he has worked with groups including Sheffield Symphony Orchestra, Steel Opera, Hallam Sinfonia, Hessle Sinfonia and Sheffield City Opera. He has conducted several operas including Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Bizet’s Carmen and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. He has also worked extensively as a music director and violinist on various musicals and is currently Music Director and co-founder of Cutting Edge Theatre Company.

As a violinist, Gavin appears regularly both as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player working with groups including Young Opera Venture, Orchestra D’Amici, South Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, Sheffield Guild of Strings and Hull Bach Choir. He has played for such important figures as HRH The Queen and Lord Sebastian Coe and has performed in the House of Lords, as well as working on projects with the BBC. A very keen and active supporter of youth music and music education, Gavin worked extensively for Opera North on their highly acclaimed music education programme ‘In Harmony’ as well as other projects. He is also music director of the award winning Peak District String Orchestra.


Repertoire for Y2:

 (click on the links to hear recordings of these works by other orchestras)



Conductors for Y3 and Y4: Annabel Revell and Tim Bayley

Annabel RevellAnnabel is an experienced upper strings teacher and conductor of children’s holiday orchestras, having worked on courses throughout England for over 25 years. Trained in London and Manchester, Annabel has also attended a number of string teaching courses, working under Sheila Nelson and Penny Stirling, and has a PGCE with Specialist Strings. She now works as a peripatetic strings teacher, specialising in violin, in a number of different settings in the North West including Music Services and at the Junior RNCM. She maintains her own playing experience with orchestras in the Manchester area.


Tim Bayley




Tim has played and taught clarinet and saxophone in the York area for many years, working with students from beginner to diploma level in a variety of schools and colleges. He is an experienced conductor and arranger, and tutors a selection of ensembles each week, in addition to individual lessons. Tim is a founder member of the early music group, The York Waits, with whom he has toured extensively and produced over ten albums.

Tim has been associated with Yorchestra since soon after its inception.


Conductor for YoYoStrings: Kieran Lynch

Kieran began playing the violin at the age of ten under the guidance of Helga Penny. His love for music and the violin grew quickly and in July 2011 he was accepted to study at Yorkshire Young Musicians (YYM), a centre for advanced training.

Kieran has recently completed his undergraduate violin studies at Birmingham Conservatoire under the tutelage of Sebastian Müller. A keen chamber musician, Kieran  performed with a variety of chamber ensembles during his time as a student, and has given regular solo performances both in recitals and in masterclasses with artists such as Oliver Wille, Berent Korfker and Leland Chen. Orchestral performance has also been a priority, including as a participant in the Conservatoire’s side-by-side scheme with the Welsh National Opera, and as a member of the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra during their live recording of Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ for BBC Radio 3.

Kieran is passionate about teaching the next generation of violinists and musicians. He has worked for Yorchestra since 2013, held the post of Mentor at Junior Birmingham Conservatoire during the 2016/17 academic year and maintained several term-time classes as a Violin Teacher for The Strings Club in Birmingham between 2015 and 2017.  Kieran recently secured a place on the Leverhulme Fellowship at Pro Corda and started last month as a full-time peripatetic teacher for the Hull Schools’ Music Service. He is pleased to have returned to home pastures, is enjoying teaching and is looking forward to working with the Yo-Yos on the Christmas course!