Senior orchestras

Orchestral and wind band opportunities for players of Grade 5 and above.

This service has been affected by coronavirus

Due to COVID-19 restrictions some ensemble sessions will need to run online or on altered timetables at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year

Central Music School

Symphony orchestras and wind orchestra opportunities for players of grade 5 standard and above meeting regularly on Saturday mornings in term time.

When and where

Saturdays in term time from 9.15am until 12.45pm

Centre for Music
Bayswater Road

Dates 2019-2020

  • September 14, 21, 28
  • October 5, 12, 19
  • November 9, 16, 23, 30
  • December 7
  • January 11, 18, 25
  • February 1, 8, 29
  • March 7, 14, 21, 28 (Music for Youth)
  • April 25
  • May 2, 9, 16
  • June 6, 13, 20, 27
  • July 4, 10/11 (Dorchester Concerts)
  • Other concert dates announced in handbook and updated via termly newsletter (link below)

More information

Over 200 of the best young musicians in Oxfordshire meet every Saturday morning at Central Music School (CMS) to play with the county's top orchestras. The students work hard to rehearse challenging and exciting repertoire culminating in a series of concerts throughout the year.

Auditions are held for those wishing to join OCYO, OSSO and OYWO; these are mostly towards the end of June at the Centre for Music. However, applications can be made at any time of the year and an audition will be arranged. Players wishing to join OCYO should be of Grade 7 standard or above, and for OSSO and OYWO Grade 5 and above. There is no requirement for the exam to have been passed but students should be playing at this standard.

Places are subject to availability depending on the size of the section. Most students are aged 11 or older.

Application and information for the touring orchestras will be available in the Autumn


  • £102 per term (10 weeks)

Youth Touring Orchestras

Open to Oxfordshire students or residents who have reached the required standard.

The Oxfordshire Music Service has been organising the youth orchestras and concert tours at home and abroad for more than 40 years.

Application and information for the touring orchestras is available below.

Oxfordshire Schools Orchestra

Oxfordshire Schools' Orchestra is the junior of the three County Youth Orchestras in Oxfordshire. It welcomes students aged between 9 and 14 years, of grade 3 to grade 5 standard. The orchestra meets several times during the year in Oxford then ends the year with a four to five day UK residential during the summer holidays.

Please note that OSO does not have a Saturday term time version, but students who want to play regularly on Saturday mornings will be able to join a local music centre

Oxfordshire Schools Symphony Orchestra

Oxfordshire Schools' Symphony Orchestra is for students aged between 12 and 18 years, of grade 5 to 8 standard. OSSO richly deserves the fine reputation it has gained over the last 20 years. In addition to being excellent orchestral training for players hoping to become members of the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra, it also shares many of the same benefits. Oxfordshire Schools' Symphony Orchestra's summer concert tours have seen them playing in towns and cities across Europe, most recently in France, Belgium, Leipzig, Spain, Germany and Slovenia

Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra

Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra is the senior ensemble at Central Music School. A large symphony orchestra with 100 players, it is conducted by Dr. John Traill. OCYO has a reputation for the high standard of its playing, its willingness to tackle challenging repertoire and its discipline in performance. You may also wish to join the touring orchestra which will come at an extra cost.

Recent repertoire includes R. Strauss - Death and Transfiguration, Dvořák - Carnival Overture and Walton - Johannesburg Festival Overture.

Oxfordshire Youth Wind Orchestra

Formerly known as the wind ‘band’, OYWO caters for wind, brass and percussion players who have reached grade 5 standard and are looking for a big, symphonic wind band experience. OYWO has toured for a number of years with OSSO to various countries in Europe. This combined touring allows for some sharing of players and a more varied experience for the students. Applications are open to students aged between 12 and 18 and of grade 5 standard and above; there are no auditions for places in OYWO at present.

How to apply for the next seasons orchestras

Click on the appropriate orchestra button above and download the form.

In case of difficulty, please contact the Music Service

Latest news

Download the latest Central Music School newsletter (pdf format, 169Kb).