Hallé Youth Orchestra

Established in 2002, the Hallé Youth Orchestra offers outstanding young instrumentalists aged 13-19 years, who love orchestral music and the buzz of contributing to a large orchestra, the chance to experience playing in a full symphony orchestra supported by professional musicians.

Applications for the 2022-23 season is now open:

The Hallé Youth Orchestra usually meets on Sunday afternoons during the autumn and spring terms. Each summer, members enjoy a residential course and tour, alternating between UK and Europe, with visits in recent years to Italy, Dublin, Prague, Germany and Scotland. In 2019, the Youth Orchestra and Youth Choir toured to the Costa Brava in Spain. As well as performing three concerts in Barcelona, Manresa and the Basilica de Santa Maria Castelló d’Empúries, their busy schedule allowed them to enjoy the sights of this beautiful part of Spain, including trips to Parc Güell and Montserrat Monastery.

Since its creation the Youth Orchestra has participated in many exciting projects, including sharing the stage with members of the Hallé, sitting side-by-side in a performance, a three-year ‘Stage Players’ project and performance at the Royal Opera House in London, performing in the Manchester International Festival for Victoria Wood’s comedy musical, That Day We Sang in 2011 at the Manchester Opera House, and joining the Hallé’s collaboration with the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra and Choir in September 2014.

As well as familiar repertoire, the Hallé Youth Orchestra also enjoys tackling more challenging works. Highlights have included Copland’s Billy the Kid, Brahms’s Second Symphony, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Respighi’s Fountains of Rome, Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony, Panufnik’s Sinfonia Sacra and Britten’s Four Sea Interludes.

When live performances came abruptly to a halt in March 2020, the Youth Orchestra’s tour to Suffolk was cancelled. Over the summer, former HYO Music Director Ellie Slorach pulled together a virtual orchestral performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, including writing parts for trombones and cymbals to ensure everyone could be involved. Members joined in with a virtual quiz before in-person auditions took place in September with new Music Director, Delyana Lazarova. There was a small window of in-person, social-distanced rehearsals before they returned online. Guests and players supported online experiences including a Q&A session with Sir Mark Elder, composer Dobrinka Tabakova and violinist Callum Smart who was due to make his Hallé debut that season.

A socially-distanced summer course was possible in August 2021 with members coming together as a full orchestra at Hallé St. Peter’s and the Bridgewater Hall for the first time since March 2020.

Rehearsals resumed in full in September 2021 and members were delighted to start preparations for the season ahead. A concert at the Bridgewater Hall in December saw the Youth Orchestra perform an engaging programme of Dukas, Borodin, Saint-Saens and Dvorak and in the new year rehearsals will be underway for the side-by-side project with the Hallé Orchestra and the annual Youth Ensembles concert.

The Youth Orchestra is excited to travel to Scotland in August 2022 for the first summer trip since 2019, performing in Paisley Abbey, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and St. Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh.

The Hallé Youth Orchestra is very grateful to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Radcliffe Trust, The Zochonis Charitable Trust, the Oglesby Charitable Trust, Pilkington General Charity and many individual benefactors for their continued support of the Youth Orchestra.

Join us

Hallé Youth Orchestra membership is for outstanding young musicians aged 13 to 19 years and of Associated Board grade 8 standard or equivalent, who love orchestral music and the buzz of contributing to a large orchestra. Preference is given to those not benefiting from full-time music education. Members take part in rehearsals and concerts during term-time and in other training activities including residential courses and tours. Members are expected to commit to rehearsals on Sunday afternoons in Manchester during the autumn and spring terms from September. There are no activities during the study leave period of May and June. Youth Orchestra members are also expected to attend a residential course and/or tour during the summer holidays.

Membership is free, however all members will be requested to make a voluntary donation to the Hallé as a contribution towards the core costs of maintaining the orchestra. Members are also expected to contribute towards the cost of residential courses and tours where appropriate.

Limited bursaries are available through an application process to help cover the costs of residential courses, tours and travel to rehearsals and concerts. The Hallé is grateful to the Oglesby Charitable Trust for the bursary fund.

Contact us

For all Hallé Youth Orchestra enquiries, please contact Isabelle Orford on isabelle.orford@halle.co.uk.

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