Our History

Reading Youth Orchestra is one of the oldest youth orchestras in the country. It was founded before the end of the war, in 1944, and from very small beginnings it soon developed into a group big enough and confident enough to undertake a concert tour to Holland. Indeed, its first visit to Germany, where it performed to an audience of two thousand, was made as early as 1949.

Since those early days the Youth Orchestra has gone from strength to strength, and former members are now to be found in many professional orchestras and teaching positions across the country. In the 1990s RYO performed in the Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and in St John’s Smith Square, and in 2003 the orchestra returned to St John’s after an absence of several years, to give thrilling performances of Saint-Saens Danse Macabre and Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony. Last summer the orchestra travelled to Tuscany and gave three memorable concerts, including one in the church of Santa Maria Dei Ricci in Florence.

Click here for some memories from various RYO alumni.