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Spotlight On… Edinburgh Youth Orchestra

The Edinburgh Youth Orchestra (EYO) is a symphony orchestra of young musicians aged 13-21 from Edinburgh, the Lothians and beyond.

Under the guidance of an internationally renowned conductor, and with a team of professional tutors, the main EYO course takes place over a full week each summer, immediately followed by concerts in major venues around Scotland. The orchestra has a long history of touring, both within the UK and further afield.

Recent conductors and soloists of the orchestra have included Donald Runnicles, Sian Edwards, En Shao, Garry Walker, Julian Bliss, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Jack Liebeck, Julian Lloyd Webber, Joanna MacGregor, Nicola Benedetti, Julian Lloyd Webber and Julian Bliss.

On a typical EYO course, the orchestra undergoes a combination of sectional and full orchestral rehearsals each day for a week before giving its end-of-course concerts.

In 2019, EYO was able to try out a new venture and offer the experience of playing in an orchestra, in many cases for the first time, to young people aged 11-18 completely free of charge thanks to generous support. Under the leadership of Lawrence Gill and Claire Docherty, this course was enjoyed by almost 100 young players from 40 different schools.

Edinburgh Youth Orchestra delivered two courses in Spring and Summer 2023, and future courses will likely have similar requirements and timings. The 2023 programme is showcased here, with the expectation that future opportunities in 2024 will be similar.

Easter Ensembles Course

See also: Ensemble, Instrumental Specialism, Western European Art Music.


EYO’s Easter Ensembles Course is for musicians at Grade 3 and above, and in Primary 6 upwards who play an orchestral instrument. It is a free Course and there are no auditions. In 2023, it ran days from 10am to 5pm at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh from 13 – 16 April with a sharing concert for family and friends at the end to showcase the work during the course.

Players are grouped into ensembles according to ability and have the opportunity to work with professional orchestral players to develop both ensemble and individual skills. In addition, they also work in a full orchestral setting.

Check the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra website for future opportunities. Season 2024 will launch in October and applications can be made through the EYO website.

Summer Course

See also: Ensemble, Instrumental Specialism, Western European Art Music.


Edinburgh Youth Orchestra’s flagship Summer Course is for musicians Grade 6+ aged between 13 and 21. In 2023 it was led once again by Sian Edwards and included a varied and colourful programme of orchestral music including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet. 

The Summer Course had a ‘Pre-Course Weekend’ running 10am-5pm on the 11-12th March, and the course itself ran from all day from the 5th– 9th  August 2023, with Summer concerts from the 10-12th August in Paisley Abbey and Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh.

As an indication, applications generally close in December, so keep an eye out for 2024 information.

Successful applicants are required to pay course fees to confirm their place, but EYO is committed to ensuring that its courses are accessible to all, and financial assistance is available to successful applicants.

How to get involved

If you want to get involved with the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, you can find out more at-

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