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Christmas course

The next Christmas Yorchestra course will run from 28-30 December 2018


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 December 28th 29th 30th
Y1 / Y2


Venues and timings for Christmas 2018 courses

Y1, Y2, YoYoStrings  and Y4 will be held at the University of York

Because of when Christmas falls, it will not be possible to make use of Heslington Church for the final day of the courses.  Owing to this fact, on this occasion Y4 will be held at the University of York Music Department, alongside (but separately from) Y1 and Y2.

For Y1 and Y2, 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.

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


Y3 will be held at Heslington Church

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


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

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Conductors and repertoire

Conductor for Y1: 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 Back Choir. He has played for such important figures as HRM 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 Y1:

Repertoire currently being considered includes:

  • Bizet – selections from L’Arlésienne Suites
  • Beethoven – overture to “Egmont”

(Final details to be confirmed shortly.)


Conductor for Y2: Dan Shilladay

(photo: Nigel Luckhurst)

Dan read music at the University of Birmingham before completing a master’s degree in contemporary music studies at the University of York. Following a further year of study at the Royal College of Music, he is now a London-based freelance musician and has worked with, among others, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the English Chamber Orchestra and the English Baroque Soloists, with whom he has performed at the BBC Proms.

As a member of the 2008 Southbank Sinfonia, he participated in critically acclaimed productions of Tom Adès’ Powder Her Face at the Royal Opera House and Tom Stoppard and André Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre. Alongside period instrument performance, he is especially interested in contemporary music, and has played in the York and Cheltenham festivals.

A keen chamber musician, Dan is a founder member of the Berkeley Ensemble, a flexible group of winds and strings specialising in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British music. Dan is also in demand as a conductor and educator and directs Imperial College String Ensemble, Stoneleigh Youth Training Orchestra and Merton String Sinfonia. He regularly coaches chamber ensembles at the University of York and is a tutor and conductor on Yorchestra’s holiday music courses.

Repertoire for Y2: 

Repertoire currently being considered includes:

  • Tchaikovsky – 3 pieces from Swan Lake
  • Johann Strauss II – Künstlerleben (“Artist’s Life“) Waltz
  • Malcolm Arnold – The River Kwai March (from the film “Bridge on the River Kwai)

(Final details to be confirmed shortly.)


Conductors for Y3: 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.


Conductors for Y4: Tim Bayley and Kathleen Butcher

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 now works 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 YoYos again on the Christmas 2018 course!

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