The South Cotswold
Youth Orchestra

The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra - A Youth Orchestra for South Gloucestershire

The SCYO was formed in 2011 to provide a top-level music-making opportunity for young musicians in the South Gloucestershire and Cotswold region. An auditioned ensemble of players grade 5 and above, the group performs symphonic repertoire in 3 courses per year. The group has players from both LEA and private schools across the Southern area of Gloucestershire including Stroud, South Gloucestershire areas such as Hanham, Yate, Bradley Stoke and Thornbury, and the North of Bristol. Recent performances have included 'Peter and the Wolf' with guest narrator John Telfer to over 600 audience members, Saint-Saen's 'Carnival of the Animals', Mozart's 'Prague' Symphony, Charles Ives' 'The Unanswered Question' and Britten's 'Soirees Musicales' as part of an internationally celebration of Britten's Centenary which has seen them invited to perform at the prestigious National Festival of Music in Birmingham.

south gloucestershire Youth Orchestra - South Cotswolds, Bristol, Bath

youth orchestra in south gloucestershire - bristol, bath

Working with professional musicians

The three directors of SCYO work as professional musicians with orchestras across the UK. Between them they have also appeared at Glastonbury, performed on television and film, and feature on recordings with bands. They are also highly-experienced music educators, with many years experience teaching their instruments and conducting various ensembles, including conducting youth ensembles at national level. Furthermore, SCYO features visiting ensembles and performers who perform and give talks to players, giving them further access to professional advice. There are also trips to local concerts, where players can watch world-class performances with their friends.

The group is for players who have reached at least Grade 4 standard on an orchestral instrument. Many of the players are working towards their GCSE's or A-levels, and courses take place in a 3-week period before or after half-term so as not to intefere with school work and other commitments. Entry is by audition, and players can either come along to one of our playing days and audition there, or they can audition via email (a short 1 or 2 minute audio clip recorded on a laptop or phone can be emailed to

If you have any questions, you can email us at, or have answered some FAQs below:

What standard do I have to be to audition?
Many of our players at grade 8 or above, but we ask new members to be at least grade 4 standard. If you can't audition in person, you can send a short audio clip recorded on a phone or laptop to

When and where are the courses?
We hold at least three courses per year, one in each term (Autumn / Spring / Summer). The usual format is rehearsals over 3 consecutive weeks (Wed, Fri, Wed, Fri, Wed, Friday Concert), between 7pm and 9pm at St Helen's Church Alveston, just off the A38 in Thornbury.


Do I need to be in school in South Gloucestershire?
No. Many of our players are drawn from LEA and Private schools across South Gloucestershire, such as Thornbury, Yate, Little Stoke, Hanham, Downend, Chipping Sodbury. However, a growing number of our players are from the Southern area of Gloucestershire, such as Stroud, and some of our players are from Bristol. We do not put a geographical limit on who can play with SCYO.

What happens if too many people apply on one instrument?
Wherever possible, everyone will get to play in every concert. There may be sections where players are doubling, or you may be asked to play in certain pieces. However, the aim is that everyone will play in every concert.

Are the concert trips included in the course fee?
The concert trips are an extra, optional part of the course and therefore you will need to pay separately for your ticket. However, we will always pick a concert with a good student ticket price, or negotiate a group discount.

I'm not completely sure if SCYO is for me, can I try it first?
Of course. Come along to our playing days, or send us an email and you can come and sit-in on a rehearsal. Our players are very welcoming and friendly, and if you want to join, you can quickly play to a tutor in the break.

Hopefully we've covered many of the common questions, but if there's something we've missed, email us at and we'll get back to you as quickly as we can!

The SCYO have their own website at

About Us

Thornbury Area Youth Music provides musical activities in the South Gloucestershire area for children of all ages and abilities. It comprises a Junior Music Centre, Thornbury Area Music Centre, Let's Play instrumental lessons and the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra.


 Sponsors of Thornbury Area Youth Music