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Orchestral Academy

The Orchestral Academy provides young talented and promising orchestral instrumentalists in Berkshire with a variety of workshops, masterclasses, ensembles and performance opportunities designed to inspire and motivate students to reach their full potential.

The Orchestral Academy operates in three tiers.

The Orchestral Academy works alongside a variety of external partners to give members the chance to learn from visiting professional musicians, ensembles and workshop leaders. The provision of these enrichment opportunities enables them to improve their performance skills, musicianship, team-working and confidence, and they will also make friends with other young musicians.

Once a young musician has progressed from the Intermediate Orchestral Academy they will be invited to audition for a place in Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) or the Advanced Academy.

For percussion players of the standard of Advanced Academy there is also the opportunity to join Berkshire Youth Percussion Ensemble (BYPE).

For full details of the Academy scheme, and to read more about the Academy for choral, guitar and piano, please refer back to those areas pages here.

Debut Orchestral Academy

For the most junior orchestral players who are members of the Academy, the Debut Orchestral Academy (DOA) gives young musicians the chance to learn more about their instrument, take part in workshops and go on concert trips, culminating in a performance project alongside the Intermediate Orchestral Academy.

In addition to improving a player’s musical skills they will also make new friends with other like-minded musicians of a similar ability, and will build a stronger enthusiasm for their playing. To enquire about joining the Debut Orchestral Academy, please e-mail

Intermediate Orchestral Academy

The Intermediate Orchestral Academy (IOA) brings together the most promising young orchestral instrumentalists from across Berkshire for three intensive workshop and rehearsal days. These days are specifically designed to challenge and motivate participants while broadening their musical understanding.

Each session is tailor-made to suit the abilities and aspirations of its members, often with a focus on chamber music. Working in small groups without a conductor allows members to fine-tune their specific instrument skills to improve their understanding of sound quality, balance and blends, and detailed articulation.

The IOA works closely with external partners to provide sessions with professional composers, conductors, animateurs and workshop leaders to develop creative freedom in music making. Recently IOA members have taken part in a body percussion workshop delivered by ‘Beat Goes on’ and have received coaching from tutors from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

To find out more about the IOA for 2019-20, download the flyer here.

Advanced Academy

The Advanced Academy provides additional support and opportunities for the most advanced young musicians in Berkshire.

The Advanced Academy runs courses that focus on specialist chamber music sessions and musicianship. All Advanced Academy activities are designed to nurture the developing musician, promoting independence and confidence with a particular focus on developing the skills that are vital to succeed in the higher grades and GCSE/A Level Music qualifications. Recently the Advanced Academy has run workshops in collaboration with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Atea Wind Quintet and Quintable Brass quintet as well as receiving chamber music coaching from renowned guitar soloist Craig Ogden.

Throughout the year members of the Advanced Academy will have the opportunity to work with top professional performers through a variety of masterclasses and consultation lessons.

In addition to this, the Advanced Academy offers support to young musicians who aspire to join national ensembles, or continue their study of music at university and conservatoire by offering masterclass opportunities and advice on how to audition successfully.

Download more information about this year’s Advanced Academy here.

To enquire about joining the Advanced Academy please e-mail

Alternatively, complete the form here to nominate a young musician to be added to REMA (Register of Exceptional Musical Ability); students on REMA will be provided with a pathway for future membership of the Academy@Maestros.

Berkshire Youth Percussion Ensemble

Musical Director Emma Stoffer

Berkshire Youth Percussion Ensemble is Berkshire’s most advanced percussion ensemble, comprising of the county’s top percussion students.

Formed in 1992 by its founding director and former Head of Percussion, Andy Leask, they have received three outstanding awards, which resulted in performances at three Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, one Junior Prom at the Royal Festival Hall and in 2012 the Diamond Jubilee Party.

Under the direction of Emma Stoffer (Lead Teacher of Orchestral Percussion), BYPE is exploring new and exciting repertoire from around the world. Delving into diverse genres, testing contemporary techniques and undertaking as many performance opportunities as they possibly can, BYPE is an exciting ensemble that is fast developing.

Are you ready for a new percussion challenge? Have you got what it takes to be a member of a highly energetic, multi instrumental ensemble? If you are an aspiring player of Grade 6+ who has experience of orchestral percussion then get in touch to arrange an audition using

Filming: Berkshire Maestros reserves the right to make a video recording of all Academy and County Group auditions. This is because we have different teams of assessors and we need to make sure that marking is consistent. Moderation is done by the Curricular Head and specialised instrument tutors; they are the only people who will see the videos which will be destroyed once the assessment has concluded.

To withdraw from Academy please click here

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Intermediate Orchestral Academy

Advanced Academy



Berkshire Youth Percussion Ensemble



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