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Chole van soeterstede - Hertfordshire schools symphony orchestra (720x509)

Principal Conductor: Patrick Bailey
Required Standard: Grade 7
Age range: typically 12 - 18

Hertfordshire Schools’ Symphony Orchestra is one of two county orchestras and is for Woodwind, Brass, String, and Percussion players. Members of the orchestra are confident musicians aged up to 18 (typically grade 6 – 7 standard), who will have played in their area youth orchestras or had other similar level orchestra opportunities before auditioning for HSSO. Performing in HSSO gives you the chance to work with experienced musicians, conductors, and sectional tutors, as well as developing your orchestral skills and confidence across a varied repertoire.

Recent repertoire has included Elgar Enigma Variations, Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet Ballet suites, Ginastera Four Dances from Estancia, Arnold Symphony No. 6, Mahler Totenfeier & Marquez Danzon No. 2. The orchestra also runs occasional courses as the Hertfordshire Schools’ String Orchestra.

All members of HSSO have the opportunity to progress to the Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra.

 "...full of energy and enthusiam...the repertoire was fantastic" - Miles Bruce-Jones, oboe 2015

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.

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

Next Events

Summer 2024: Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 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: Semi-staged production of Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt, featuring singers from the County Youth Choirs and young actors and director from Trestle School of Drama / Trestle Theatre. 10 - 13 April 2024. Concert programme also featured Finlandia by Sibelius and Three Movements for CoMA by Kate Whitley. 

Christmas Course 2023: New Year's Concert, 27 - 30 December 2023, conducted by Patrick Bailey. Concert on 30 December at Haileybury Big School Auditorium. Repertoire included Coleridge-Taylor 'Dance' from Othello Suite, Marquez Conga Del Fuego Nuevo, and Weir 'Music, Spread Thy Voice'.

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]

2023 Hertfordshire Schools' Gala: Sunday 30th April 2023 at the Royal Albert Hall

HSSO Easter Course: Wednesday 13th to Thursday 14th April 2023 at Stevenage Music Centre. Gala repertoire rehearsals

Christmas Course 2022: 21-23 December at Haileybury College. Selections from Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker', Three Holiday Songs from 'Home Alone' (John Williams)

Summer Course 2022: 22-26 August at Haileybury College. Kurt Weill Symphony no. 2, as well as original songs by Hertfordshire rock bands, arranged for the orchestra.

Spring Course 2022: 5-8 April at St Clement Danes School. Repertoire including, Beethoven's Eroica and El amor brujo by Manuel da Falla.

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

Hertfordshire Schools' GALA 2020 8th March at 1.45pm and 7.45pm at the Royal Albert Hall

CONCERT - 23rd December 2019 at 5pm, Haileybury College

Conductor Chloe van Soeterstede
Mussorgsky Night on a Bare Mountain
Elgar Enigma Variations: Nimrod
Dvorak Symphony No. 8 (Finale)

Rehearsals - 21st-23rd December 2019 at Haileybury College

Tour to the Rhineland - 1st - 5th August 2019
Conductor Chloe van Soeterstede
Mozart Marriage of Figaro overture
Beethoven Coriolan overture
Verdi Traviata Prelude Act 1
Verdi Traviata Prelude Act 3
Bizet Arr. Stone Farandole (L'Arlesienne)
Bizet Arr. Stone Carillon (L'Arlesienne)
Rossini Italian in Algiers overture
Grieg Morning from Peer Gynt
Beethoven Symphony no.3, mvt 2

Course - 29th - 31st July 2019, at Mid Herts Centre for Music & Arts

CONCERT - 17th April 2019 at 7pm, Haileybury College, Hertford
Conductor Ben Glassberg
Curtis Fiesta
Sibelius Karelia Suite
Dvorak Symphony No. 8

Course - 14th-17th April 2019, at Haileybury College, Hertford

CONCERT - 23rd December 2018 at 3pm, Haileybury College, Hertford (joint with CYO)
Conductor Ben Glassberg
Tchaikovsky Overture from Romeo and Juliet
Prokofiev Troika from Lieutenant Kije
Bartok Rumanian Folk Dances

Course - 21st-22nd December 2018, at Haileybury College, Hertford

CONCERT - 31st August 2018 at 7pm, St Mary's Church, Hitchin
Conductor Ben Glassberg
Joan Tower Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Elgar Cello Concerto
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

Summer Course - 28th-31st August 2018, Residential at Purcell School, Bushey

Hertfordshire Schools' GALA 2018 11th March at 1.45pm and 7.45pm at the Royal Albert Hall

CONCERT - 23rd December 2017 at 7pm, Haileybury College, Hertford
Conductor Ben Glassberg
William Walton Richard III Prelude
Joby Talbot Hovercraft
Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite
Nigel Hess Christmas Overture

Autumn Course - 20th-23rd December 2017 at Haileybury College, Hertford 

CONCERT - 23rd August 2017 at 7.30pm, Weston Auditorium, University of Hertfordshire
Conductor Ben Glassberg
Arnold Four Cornish Dances
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue - Soloist Kira Frohlu
Vaughan Williams Job: A Masque for Dancing

Summer Course - 19th-22nd August 2017 , Residential at Haileybury College, Hertford 

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 County Youth Orchestra and Hertfordshire Schools' Symphony Orchestra

County Activites Team contact information

Tel.: 01438 843987  

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