Kent County Youth Orchestra

Kent County Youth Orchestra was founded in 1963 to provide gifted young musicians in Kent the opportunity to develop their skills and gain performing experience. The orchestra meets regularly on courses and the young players work with professional tutors from leading national orchestras and conservatoires and leading professional conductors.

The Kent County Youth Orchestra (KCYO) consists of approximately one hundred players whose ages range from 13 to 21 years. Membership is subject to audition and is open to any young players who live in Kent. Most are still at school but some are at university or college.  KCYO has consistently been acclaimed at home and abroad for its outstanding performances and today it is a key part of Kent Music’s provision for the gifted and talented young musicians of Kent.


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  • I have grown tremendously in confidence, my musical understanding and awareness has developed and I have made friendships that will last forever.
    Annie Pullar
  • Learning the Vaughn Williams, Grieg and Sibelius both within the cello section and the orchestra as a whole was a real challenge but one that we all enjoyed greatly and achieved to the highest standard possible.
    Miranda Stinton
  • The response from the audience and the buzz from the orchestra is a feeling which is almost impossible to imagine unless you have been to a concert, but conquering the demanding repertoire creates such a sense of achievement and pride.
    Annie Pullar


Repertoire is chosen to give the musicians experience of playing music from all periods of the orchestral repertoire. Recently the players have tackled music ranging from Handel to Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Rachmaninoff, Barber, to a newly commissioned work by Kent Music alumni Ben Oliver. Much like a professional orchestra, players learn to work together to achieve performing excellence within a tight time frame.


Members of KCYO are expected to play at a minimum of Grade 7/8 standard in order to successfully tackle extensive and demanding repertoire. Young players work with professional tutors from leading national orchestras and conservatoires to develop technical aspects of the repertoire to be performed. This includes working out fingerings/bowings as well as difficult rhythms and all aspects to do with the nurturing of strong general musicianship skills.

Many KCYO alumni have gone on to develop professional music careers. Several members of professional orchestras in the UK and overseas are former KCYO members and many others have gone on to successful careers in music education and arts management.


The Kent County Youth Orchestra is fortunate to regularly work with conductors and soloists of international standing including Kenneth Wood, Nils Schweckendiek, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and John Forster.

For more about our conductors and artists, click here.


The orchestra meets three times a year on four or five day residential courses during holiday periods for concentrated training with tutors and conductors of national and international standing. These courses are always followed by a public concert.


To become a member of the Kent County Youth Orchestra you will be required to audition.

More information about the audition process.

Ready to apply for your audition? Apply here.

How much does it cost?

£25 per day for non-residential courses
£50 per day for residential courses

Contact us

For further information regarding auditions, membership, vacancies or booking of the Kent County Youth Orchestra, please contact Valerie Cordina at or 01622 358402.