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Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra

Staff Musical Director Jonathan Burnett

Coached by Rob Croft (Head of Brass) and Catherine Millar (Head of Woodwind)

The Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra is the culmination of a student’s orchestral training in Berkshire. It comprises over one hundred of the most advanced and experienced young orchestral musicians within Berkshire from both state and independent sector schools.

The orchestra rehearses for three short courses throughout the year. This intensive level of playing together enables the students to prepare challenging repertoire and understand the level of playing and commitment required for life beyond the youth orchestra, at national level and subsequently at university or conservatoire. Repertoire is drawn from mainstream large symphonic works from 19th century composers to those from the present day.

Being a member of BYSO gives the students the opportunity to work in partnership with other organisations and soloists performing for many different audiences.

Over recent years BYSO has gone from strength-to-strength in terms of number of players and quality of performance. The academic year 2015-16 saw a return to the Royal Albert Hall to perform for the Primary Proms at the invitation of Music for Youth, at Christmas a partnership concert with community choir Sing Healthy, followed by a second Celebration of Music in Berkshire at the Royal Albert Hall on 1 May 2016. In July 2016 the orchestra travelled to China for an eight day tour alongside Berkshire Youth Choir and Berkshire Youth Guitar Orchestra. 2016-17 has seen the orchestra broaden its musical horizons even further, commissioning guest conductors Jonny Lo and Peter Stark to work with the orchestra exploring fresh interpretations of challenging music by Ginastera, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. They finish the year in partnership with Sing Healthy Choirs and members of the Academy@Maestros scheme for gifted and talented promising young musicians with a showcase concert at the Hexagon, Reading on Sunday 16 July.

Our aim is to inspire younger students to become members of BYSO in the future and continue the extremely high standard demonstrated by one of the top youth orchestras in the UK. Entrance is by competitive audition during the summer term.

Applications for auditions are now open for the academic year 2017-18.

Repertoire for the 2017-18 touring year currently includes Copland’s ‘Billy the Kid’ and Chabrier’s ‘Espana’.

Download BYSO's performance and rehearsal schedule for 2017-18

Find out about auditions or contact us for further information on 0118 901 2361 or email:




Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra




BYSO concert


BYSO strrings



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