Top Menu

Summer course

 Special 25th anniversary summer Yorchestra course – 30 August to 2 September 2017

To celebrate Yorchestra’s 25th anniversary, as well as the normal orchestras (Y1 – Y4 and YoYoStrings), the summer 2017 course will include a special “Reunion Orchestra”, made up from musicians aged 18+ who have attended Yorchestra at any time during the past 25 years.  The Reunion Orchestra will join with Y1, Y2 and Y3 for a special 25th Anniversary Gala Concert on the evening of 2 September.


 30th 31st 1st 2nd
Y3 ✓ ✓
YoYoStrings ✓
Reunion Orchestra


Applications for Y1-Y4 and YoYoStrings have now officially closed, but if you’ve missed the application closing date, you can check if places are still available by emailing  As at the closing date, there were still places for violins and violas, and in some other sections.

Apply to Join Yorchestra Today!


Past Yorchestra players: to register for the Reunion Orchestra, please email John Stringer as soon as possible.  Since the orchestra will be playing choruses from Handel’s Messiah, there is also the option to come along and sing instead of play.  And do spread the word among your Yorchestra friends: we want as many players as possible to take part in the celebrations!


Course fees and bursaries

Yorchestra fees for Y1-Y4 and YoYoStrings are £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.

For those attending the Reunion Orchestra, there is a fee of £10, payable on the day, to help us cover costs.


Venues for summer 2017 courses

Y1, Y2 and the Reunion Orchestra will be held at the University of York

Y1 and Y2 will rehearse in the University Music Department.


The Reunion Orchestra will rehearse at Central Hall.


The courses for Y1 and Y2 will run from 10.00am to 4.00pm each day, and the Reunion Orchestra will similarly rehearse from 10.00am.  All three orchestras will take part in the special 25th Anniversary Gala Concert at 7.00pm in Central Hall on Saturday 2 September.

Please be aware that music students from the University occasionally use some of the rooms for practice during Yorchestra Courses.

Parking is available at the University under their Pay and Display scheme.


Y3, Y4 and YoYoStrings will be held at Heslington Church

For Y3, the course will run from 10.00am to 3.45pm each day.  In place of the usual end-of-course concert at Heslington Church, this summer Y3 will take part in the special 25th Anniversary Gala Concert at 7.00pm in Central Hall on Saturday 2 September.

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.

Parking is available on the church field (entrance on Field Lane).

If you would like to share lifts, we may be able to put you in touch with other families travelling from your local area.


Conductors and repertoire

Conductor for Y1:  Natalia Luis-Bassa

Natalia began her musical studies at the world famous El Sistema in Venezuela. She read music at the University Institute of Musical Studies (IUDEM), an institution that belongs to the Venezuelan musical system, being the first person to obtain a degree in Orchestral Conducting in her native country.

After some years she completed her studies at the Royal College of Music in London, where she held the RCM Junior Fellowship in Opera Conducting for two years. Her relationship with the RCM still continues nowadays, as she is a Professor of Conducting there.

Natalia holds a Master’s Degree from The University of Huddersfield where she is a part-time lecturer and has been appointed Elgar Ambassador.  She is currently Musical Director of the Hallam Sinfonia in Sheffield, the National Children’s Orchestra London Regional, and has recently been appointed Principal Conductor of the Wellington College Symphony Orchestra.


Repertoire for Y1:

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


Conductor for Y2 and massed orchestra (Y1-Y3 combined with the Reunion Orchestra):  Chris Bradley

Chris Bradley is the principal percussionist of the Orchestra of Opera North and has performed a large amount of the operatic repertoire, including world premieres. He has played with most of the leading orchestras of Great Britain, including the Royal Opera House, London Symphony Orchestra, Glyndebourne Opera, Opera Group/London Sinfonietta and ENO. Internationally, he has also performed with ensembles such as the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

Since 2000 Chris has been involved with the World Orchestra for Peace, performing at the BBC Proms and festivals in Edinburgh, Beijing, Moscow, Berlin, Rotterdam, Budapest, Brussels, Krakov, Jerusalem and Salzburg.

Chris has been the tutor in percussion at the University of Huddersfield for over 25 years and has tutored for a wide range of youth orchestras, including the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra of GB, as well as conducting for Yorchestra on several previous occasions. He is a visiting tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire.


Repertoire for Y2:

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


Repertoire for the massed orchestra will include:

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


Conductor for the Reunion Orchestra:  John Stringer

Repertoire for the Reunion Orchestra:

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


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 Jenny Bembridge

Conductor for YoYoStrings: Jenny Bembridge

jenny_clarke-croppedJenny studied at York University for her BA and MA in music, specialising in baroque performance. She then took her PGCE in ‘Musicians in Education’ at Greenwich University and Trinity Laban College.

Following this Jenny spent a busy time at Barnsley Music Service, and was subsequently appointed as Classroom Music Teacher and Violin Teacher at a HMC school in Hertfordshire.

She is now settled in back in York and enjoying a substantial portfolio of private pupils along with teaching violin at the Mount School, where she also conducts the school orchestras and string groups. Jenny has worked with Yorchestra since 2008 and loves working with the younger groups, especially Y4 and YoYo strings.

(Photo: Brian Slater)