CLYO History

The History of CLYO

The formation of the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra dates from the 1960s and its present standing owes much to the pioneering vision and energy of Walter Hart, the City Council’s Music Adviser and its first conductor, Bernard Armour.  On their retirement, the baton passed to successive Advisers, Paul Greenwood and Roy Rimmer.  From the early 1980s, under conductors Colin Brackley Jones, Paul Mountain and now Dougie Scarfe, the orchestra has maintained its reputation as one of the UK’s leading ensembles of its kind.

For fifty years, through the support of Leeds City Council and Education Leeds, young players have had the opportunity to display their musical talents through a repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to John Adams and Karl Jenkins. The orchestra plays regularly in Leeds and has performed in concert halls, churches and cathedrals throughout the United Kingdom and Europe and in the USA. Summer residential courses have been held in Giggleswick, Repton, Durham, Bangor, Bath and York.

Abroad, the orchestra took part in an International Festival of Youth and Music in Rouen in 2005  and in July 2006 members gave three highly successful concerts during a week’s trip to Frankfurt.   The orchestra’s most recent tours have been to Germany, eastern Poland (2008) – culminating in a concert at the Warsaw Conservatoire,  Madrid (2010) and in July 2012 to Leipzig and eastern Germany.  In July 2014 the Orchestra will be touring Perugia, Italy.

Guest conductors have included David Greed, Matthew Rowe and Timothy Redmond. The orchestra joined forces with the Orchestra of Opera North in a memorable performance of Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, conducted by Stephen Sloane, as part of the Leeds International Concert Season. Programmes have included commissioned works by Stephen Wild, Concertpiece for Orchestra and Some thoughts concerning tears.

Members of the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra are all under 19 years of age. Several have become members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and have continued their studies at conservatoires and universities. The orchestra is part of City of Leeds Youth Music (CLYM), twenty widely varying ensembles for 8-19 year olds, organised by Education Leeds ArtForms.