SYO announce 75th anniversary auditions

Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra (SYO) have opened applications to audition for their 75th anniversary season, which is set to feature concerts at Cadogan Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The auditions will be held in September 2019 and are open to Grade 4-6 players for the Training Orchestra and Grade 7+ players for the Main Orchestra.

Those interested in applying will be asked to play two short contrasting pieces, and older players may be asked to sight read.

All players are welcome to apply, but SYO are keen to encourage viola, double bass, horn, trombone, and percussion players.

There are no geographical constraints, but potential players must be able to attend rehearsals on Sunday afternoons at St Paul’s Community Centre, Wimbledon.

Robert Hodge, musical director, SYO, says: ‘My best tip for anyone interested in auditioning would be to play pieces that you know really well, and which show off your ability, rather than choose a difficult piece that you might struggle with or a piece you are still learning.’

Founded in 1944, SYO is one of the UK’s longest-running youth orchestras, and as a registered charity that offers financial assistance, no musically eligible player is denied access for financial reasons.

SYO has more than 160 members aged 8 to 18 who perform three concerts a year, and this year’s intake will perform at Cadogan Hall in March 2020 and Queen Elizabeth Hall in June 2020.

Several of SYO’s alumni have subsequently become professional musicians, including, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra leader Laura Samuel and Garsington Opera conductor/artistic director Douglas Boyd.

Robert added: ‘It has been an exciting start to the year with our BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Making Music’s Adopt A Composer scheme with Ben See. There is something very special about Stoneleigh which gets into your bloodstream and becomes a way of life, and we try to make the whole audition process as low key and friendly as possible – much like the ethos behind the orchestra.’

To apply to audition for SYO’s 75th anniversary shows, please visit


Photo by Jan Strecha

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