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.

We are sorry to announce that, due to the COVID 19 pandemic and the continuation of social distancing measures we have made the extremely difficult and very sad decision to cancel all County Group courses due to take place in the summer 

 In the meantime, we are continuing to make plans to support engagement with Kent Music and our County Groups this summer. This will include auditions for membership of any of our portfolio of County Ensembles, which will initially be available by video application although we are investigating options for face to face auditions later this year. We will update you on new information and activities as soon as we can through our website, monthly newsletterFacebook and Twitter accounts. 

 For answers to queries about refunds, as well as our organisational response to the COVID 19 pandemic, please visit our COVID 19 page here: https://www.kent-music.com/news/kent-music-and-covid-19-coronavirus/ 

 Please keep making music and we look forward to welcoming you to our activities in the future. 

Audition to join the Kent County Youth Orchestra

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


The orchestra meets three times a year on four or five-day residential courses. Members are coached by professional tutors and highly acclaimed conductors from leading national and international orchestras and conservatoires.


Repertoire is chosen to give the musicians experience of playing music from all periods of the orchestral repertoire. Recently the players have tackled music composed by Handel, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Rachmaninoff and Barber, to name but a few. 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 standard in order to successfully tackle extensive and demanding repertoire. The 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 join professional orchestras in the UK and overseas 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 Natalia Luis-Bassa, Gonzalo Acosta, Kenneth Wood, Nils Schweckendiek, Dame Evelyn Glennie, John Forster and Michael Seal.

How much does it cost?

£53 per day for residential courses. To find out if you are eligible to apply for a bursary, please visit our Financial Assistance page.