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Peter Stark - Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra (720x509)

Principal Conductor: Peter Stark
Required standard: Grade 8+
Age Range: 14 – 21 years

Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra is an orchestra for advanced Woodwind, Brass, Strings, and Percussion players in Hertfordshire. The orchestra members are confident musicians (typically grade 8+ standard), with good experience in ensemble playing. Members have often progressed into the orchestra from HSSO as a next step in their orchestral development and many members continue their membership with HCYO into their twenties.

As a member of HCYO you will experience repertoire and opportunities designed to develop confidence in your orchestral skills at the highest level of county music making. Each HCYO course offers the opportunity to work alongside professional conductors and experienced sectional tutors, including professional orchestral musicians from around the UK.

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-LiederHCYO 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.

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

How to apply & audition:

Members are expected to commit to all three courses in the season.

The deadline for on time County Youth Music Groups applications may have passed, however there are still opportunities to get involved!

We are now accepting late applications for the following:

  • Places on the reserve list
  • Full places for spaces not yet filled

To apply, please follow the application link below.

HCYO applicants are required to submit a video audition as part of their application. Please visit our auditions page for more information.

Next Events

Summer course: Monday 19 - Friday 23 August 2024

'Summer of music from the screen'

We will be celebrating film and video game music in all its forms across all County ensembles, for our 2024 Summer courses

Recent events

Easter course 2024: CYO Opera Gala 2 - 5 April 2024 with concert at St John's Smith Square, featuring alumni singers from the National Opera Studio. Conducted by Peter Stark. Repertoire included well loved operatic overtures and preludes, as well as arias performed by National Opera Studio alumni singers.

Christmas course 2023: Looking back / Looking forward, 27 – 30 December 2023 conducted by Peter Stark. Concert on 30 December at Haileybury Big School Auditorium. Repertoire included Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Britten Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Ravel Pavane, Dukas La Peri Fanfare.

Summer Tour 2023: Sunday 20 to Saturday 26 August Tour to the Loire Valley, France with the members from the Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra and Hertfordshire Schools' Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Stark. 

First two days consisted of rehearsals in Hertfordshire, and three concerts in the Loire Valley at the following venues: Cathédrale de Saint-Louis de Blois, Eglise Saint Julien (Tours), and Chateau de la Selles sur Cher.

Tour repertoire:
Paul Dukas - La Péri Fanfare
Léo Delibes - Entr’act & Waltz, Prelude & Mazurka, and Czardas from Coppélia
Frederick Delius - Intermezzo from The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Antonín Dvořák - Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, "From the New World", Op. 95
Edward Elgar - Nimrod from Enigma Variations [encore]

Easter Course 2023: 12-15 April 2023 at Watford School of Music. Poulenc - Sinfonettia, Vaughan-Williams - English Folk Song Suite, Mozart - Overture to Die Zauberflote and Symphony no. 31 'Paris'

Christmas Course 2022: 21-23 December 2022 at Haileybury College. Brahms Double Concerto, Marquez Danzon no.2

Summer Course 2022: 15-19 August at Haileybury College, conducted by Peter Stark. Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony no. 5, and Beethoven Symphony no. 6. 

Spring Course 2022: Tuesday 5 - Friday April at Clement Danes School, conducted by Peter Stark. Repetoire featuring Malcolm Arnold's Symphony no. 5.

Summer Course 2021 - Monday 23 - Thursday 26 August 2021 at St Clement Danes School with a concert on Thursday 26 August at 5pm.

CONCERT - 23rd December 2019 at 5pm, Haileybury College Guest Conductor Lev Parikian Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet Suite No. 2

Rehearsals - 20th-23rd December 2019 at Haileybury College

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  

Rehearsals - 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
Dukas 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
Conductor Peter Stark
Elgar In the South (Alassio)
Brahms 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

County Activites Team contact information

Tel.: 01438 843797

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