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HMS Music Director

Ben Stevens

Leadership Team for Herts Music Service

Lisa Quinlan-Rahman
Ben Stevens
Vicki Roberts
Michael Mabbitt
Katherine Wolfenden
Deena Day
Angela Gilby
Rebecca Kelly
Nick Denham

County Youth Orchestra


Principal Conductor: Peter Stark

Required standard: Grade 8
Age Range: 14 – 21 years

Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra meets during the Autumn, Spring and Summer holidays, usually for 4 - 5 days per course.


The orchestra has gained a reputation as one of the best youth orchestras in the country working with international conductors and experienced sectional tutors, some of whom hold principal positions in professional orchestras.

The high standard of the group is led by Principal Conductor Peter Stark, who will be celebrating 22 years with the orchestra this year. The orchestra’s repertoire is always challenging and its concerts always memorable. In recent years, repertoire has included Mahler Symphonies No. 5 & 6, Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra, Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Bartok The Miraculous Mandarin, Holst The Planets and Schoenberg Gurre-Lieder.

HCYO performs at major venues and festivals in the UK and Europe. They toured the Rhineland in the Summer of 2017 and have previously toured in Madrid and Prague.

The orchestra has made a number of recordings, including their acclaimed disc of Elgar’s Violin Concerto (violin – David Greed) in 2004 and Edwin Roxburgh’s Saturn in 2005 which was released commercially by NMC.

Entry is by audition or invitation and members are expected to commit to all three courses in the season.

‘The playing of Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra is simply stunning’ - Classical CD 2006


County Activities Team contact information

Tel.: 01707 292399 / 292761

We are based at Hertfordshire Music Service Central Office, Mid-Herts Centre for Music & Arts, Birchwood Avenue, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 0PS.

Next Course

CYO is next meeting for their Autumn Course which will run on 20th-23rd December. The orchestra will be preparing for their joint concert with Hertfordshire Schools' Symphony Orchestra on 23rd December at Haileybury College.

CYO will be working intensively with Guest Conductor Lev Parikian and expert tutors towards their performance in concert. 


Orchestra member downloads

> Click here to download scores


Forthcoming Events

  • Autumn Course 2019 - 20th-23rd December at Haileybury College



We accept applications all year round, click here to register your interest!


Benslow Instrument Loan Award

An annual award made to a young musician in Hertfordshire for the loan of an instrument from Benslow for 3 years.  The first year of loan will be funded by Benslow and the second and third years by the Friends of County Youth Music Groups.

This year's winners were Minnie Elliott, Double Bassist, and George Smith, Cellist.

Recent Events

CONCERT - 23rd August 2019 at 7pm, Barbirolli Hall, Chorleywood
Conductor Peter Stark
Berlioz Overture, Ballet Music and Royal Hunt from Les Troyens
Strauss Don Quixote

Course - 19th-22nd August 2019 at Academy Residences St Albans

CONCERT - 18th April 2019 at 7pm, Haileybury College, Hertford
Conductor Peter Stark
Mendelssohn Ruy Blas Overture
Delibes Coppelia Ballet Suite
Schumann Symphony No. 2

Course - 15th-18th April 2019 at Haileybury College

CONCERT - 23rd December 2018 at 3pm, Haileybury College, Hertford (joint with HSSO)
Conductor Peter Stark
Bax In Memoriam
Respighi Pines of Rome

Course - 20th-22nd December 2018 at Haileybury College

CONCERT - 1st September 2018 at 3pm, Barbirolli Hall
Conductor Peter Stark
Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 1

Course and recording - 28th-31st August 2018 at Barbirolli Hall

CONCERT 6th April 2018 at 7pm, Haileybury College, Hertford
Conductors Peter Stark & Mark Heron
Dag Wiren Serenade for Strings
Sibelius En Saga
            Valse Triste
            Lemminkainen's Return
Gorb Suite for Winds
Alarcon Duende

Joint Spring Course with the County Wind Sinfonia 3rd - 6th April 2018 

CONCERT - 22nd December 2017 at 7pm, Haileybury College, Hertford
Conductor Peter Stark
Prelude pour Preceder La Peri
Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie pour Klarinette et Orchestre (with soloist Dougie Mitchell)
Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

Autumn Course 19th - 22nd December 2017 

Tour to Wiesbaden, Germany - 25th - 29th August 2017
Peter Stark
In the South (Alassio)
St Anthony Variations
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 

Summer Course - 21st - 23rd August 2017

CONCERT - 13th April 2017 at 7.30pm, Barbirolli Hall, Chorleywood
Conductors Ben Glassberg & Peter Stark
Rimsky Korsakov Russian Easter Festival Overture
Barber Adagio for Strings 
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Elgar In the South 
Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story 

Spring Course - 10th - 13th April 2017 as part of a joint course with the Hertfordshire Schools' Symphony Orchestra and County Wind Sinfonia