The English Symphony Orchestra has been running children’s orchestra courses, attracting students from around the country, for over 20 years. Orchestral discipline is matched by improvisation and sheer fun with the primary aim of helping children develop musicianship, confidence and sociability.

The varied activities on each course include full and sectional orchestral rehearsals as well as singing, group improvisation, solo “masterclasses” and games and every course concludes with a wonderful short informal concert.

Highlights from the previous year include ESO Youth Orchestra’s first residential course in nearly 15 years when a 45-strong orchestra took on Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony under the baton of Kenneth Woods. Back in May we assembled 75 of our players from all 3 of our orchestras on stage at the Rogers Theatre, Malvern, for a special “Elgar for Everyone” Family Concert as part of the 2019 Elgar Festival. We will be repeating this event in May for the 2020 Festival.




We are delighted to be returning to The Downs, Malvern for our long-running Beginners and Intermediate Orchestras during each half term. Dates for the 2019/20 school year are as follows:

Autumn 2019

  • Beginners Orchestra (suitable for approx. Grade 1-3, age 5-13): Saturday 26th/Sunday 27th October
  • Intermediate Orchestra (Grade 4-6, age 9-16):Saturday 2nd/Sunday 3rd November

Spring 2020

  • Beginners Orchestra Saturday 15th/Sunday 16th February
  • Intermediate Orchestra Saturday 22nd/Sunday 23rd February

Summer 2020

  • Beginners Orchestra Saturday 23rd/Sunday 24th May
  • Intermediate Orchestra MONDAY 25th/TUESDAY 26th May
The courses run from 10am-4pm each day and each course finishes with a short informal concert. Applications are now open – please download the course leaflet and application form below.


We are once again holding our popular chamber music workshops for Grade 7+ players in Worcester in the autumn half term. This year we are focussing on large ensemble repertoire – for woodwind, Richard Strauss’s luxurious Serenade op. 7 and for brass, John Iveson’s Susato Suite and Chris Hazell’s Kraken. We will run other small ensembles according to demand so please apply and we will do our best to accommodate everyone. For more details on times and venues please download the application form below.


Following last year’s successful String Orchestra day we will once again offer the fantastic opportunity to work under the direction of ESO Concertmaster Zoë Beyers on a selection of string ensemble repertoire. Open to string players Grade 7 and above.
Further events will be announced throughout the year – to receive the latest updates please email us at or follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter (@youthESO)

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