About Us

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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, run by the Youth and Community Service, went from strength to strength. 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. In the 2000s funding for RYO was withdrawn and it became independent, supported by the Eureka! Foundation and the University of Reading to keep running.

The Orchestra exists today still with an emphasis on its youth and community roots – giving members responsibility and opportunities to develop musically and socially. 

1994.9.3 Photos Roy Goodman conducting crop

Our history

You can find lots of information about our history on our blog page – find items of interest using the search bar, or filtering by category or tag.

We are in the process of compiling digital archives and will be releasing them on our blog, so keep checking in to see what’s new!

Our Committee

The RYO Committee is a group formed from parents of orchestra members, members themselves, and other interested parties. It provides a vital support role for the orchestra by:

  • Taking on the rehearsal and concert organisation
  • Managing the orchestra’s finances
  • Making tactical and strategic decisions to ensure the future of the orchestra
  • Assisting with musical direction for the orchestra

We need more parents to get involved in the work that the Committee does, the orchestra simply could not run without it.

We have received a great deal of support in the form of local company sponsorship in past years, however we are currently without a major sponsor. We are therefore looking for local companies to sponsor or assist us.

Please contact us if you have any ideas or are interested in assisting the committee.

Who we are

Committee members:

Leader

Oliver Quinn

Conductor

Mel Le Breuilly

RYO gave me many opportunities, which I've really enjoyed, from wind and string workshops with specialists to arranging pieces for the orchestra to play.
Jennifer, Clarinet
I love coming to RYO as it has really broadened my musical knowledge, and I have also made some wonderful friends with other people my age!
Hannah, Flute
I love RYO as it's a great way to meet new people and the repertoire is always fun and interesting! Everyone is welcoming and friendly and the environment is relaxed 🙂
Abbey, Oboe