First Orchestra

SLYO 1 works at an advanced level tackling major works from the orchestral repertoire.  Places are offered following informal auditions. Please note you can only book a place one course at a time.

Who can apply: We are always keen to hear from young musicians Grade 8+. Percussionists should be of Grade 6 level but equally could be Grade 8+ pianists who are keen to get orchestral experience.

We offer all string players aged 14+ a place without audition if they have Grade 8 or a teacher recommendation of Grade 8+ level. Here is a string application form for Grade 8+ students.

If you are a wind, brass or percussion player and would like to join SLYO1  you will need to audition to join. Auditions are with conductor Leigh O’Hara at James Allen’s Girls’ School and are friendly and short; we ask you to play an unaccompanied piece (4-5 minutes) plus some prepared sight-reading. This helps us to ensure that every young musician is placed correctly from the onset of our courses.  To book an audition please contact us on 020 8613 6439 or

Daily Structure – 9.30am – 4.30pm. Each day is split into a combination of full and sectional rehearsals, led by Leigh O’Hara and a team of outstanding orchestral tutors.

Performance: Combined concert with SLYO 2 always on the last day of the course, 7pm, Vaughan Williams Auditiorium at JAGS.

Tutors – Christian Persinaru (Violin), John Dickinson (Violin and Viola), Louise Parker (Viola) Andrew Fuller (Cello), Julie Buckley (Double Bass), Maxwell Spiers (Woodwind), Torbjorn Hultmark (Brass) and  Donna-Maria Landowski (Percussion).

First Orchestra Conductor Leigh O’Hara studied conducting with Peter Stark and is Musical Director of the Blackheath Halls Orchestra and Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra alongside his work with many other groups in London and beyond. He has a particular passion for making music with non-professional musicians and young people and proves time and again that major repertoire is well within their reach. In 2012 he became Director of Music at St Paul’s Girls’ School in west London where he conducts the highly successful Symphony and Chamber Orchestras.

Summer 2019 Repertoire:
Bernstein: Overture to Candide and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Huapango by Moncayo.

SLYO 1 Past Repertoire:
Shostakovich – Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93
Rachmaninoff – Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
Mussorgsky – A Night on a Bare Mountain, Version by Rimsky-Korsakov
Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition, Orch. Maurice Ravel
Mahler – Symphony No.1 in D major
John Williams – Star Wars Suite for orchestra
John Williams – Three Pieces from Schindler’s List: Theme; Jewish Town; Remembrances
John Williams – Flying Theme from E.T.
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 (Pathétique)
Beethoven – Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)
Shostakovich – Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47
Vivaldi Winter from The Four Seasons, soloist David Juritz
Copland Appalachian Spring
Khachaturian – Masquerade Suite
‘Little Mermaid’ – Premiere for Disney at the Royal Albert Hall
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 in E Minor Op. 64
Villa-Lobos – Bachianas Brasileiras
Haydn – Symphony 104 in D major – ‘London’
Ravel – Mother Goose Suite
Dvorak – Slavonic Dances Op.46
Mozart – Overture to the Magic Flute
Beethoven – Symphony No.5 in C minor Op.67
Bizet – Extracts from Carmen Suites
Dvorak – Symphony No 8 in G Major
Tchaikovsky – Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Rossini – Overture to William Tell