Penzance Youth String Orchestra

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We hope you find the information here interesting, and if you have any queries do please e-mail us via the contact link on each page.


Please click on 'Concerts programme' link above for details of our upcoming concerts.


PYSO news - Autumn 2016

What a buzz we had as PYSO performed and recorded their way to the end of last season. It was a busy summer, starting with a performance for Porthleven Festival - every available seat taken and an excellent atmosphere - followed by an interesting mixed programme for the Arts Festival at the Catholic Church in Penzance, then wonderful concerts for Golowan Festival and Penlee Park (which due to wet weather took place at St. Mary's Penzance), and our annual appearance at Lafrowda too. Playing to the Duchess of Cornwall at the reopening of the newly refurbished St. John's Hall was fun and ended up being a really nice occasion, and 3 days in Birmingham at the MFY National Festival was an uplifting treat.

How did PYSO play? 'The romanticism of this movement was captured immediately [Elgar Serenade Larghetto] with the passion and intensity of each phrase projecting beautifully. The ebb and flow of tempi was masterfully demonstrated - a masterclass in ensemble communication.' And commenting on the David Bruce's Two Dowland Songs, the MFY mentors said 'You transported us to a bygone era with these beautiful Dowland arrangements. The setting of the wonderful soprano against muted strings provided a sound world enticing to our ears, and you drew us in. The delicate trills enhanced this to mesmerising effect. Flow My Tears was another beautiful arrangement featuring melismatic solos from violin, viola and cello - effortlessly executed and certainly stylistically aware. There was never a time when the soprano had to force her sounds, so sensitive was the accompanying. Thank you. Wonderful to hear your beautiful music making again - your choice of programme was thoughtfully selected, and performed with poise, true musicianship and maturity. Continue your wonderful work, we look forward to hearing what next!'

In July PYSO spent 2 days recording at St. Mary's Church, including the complete Elgar Serenade, the Bruce 'Two Dowland Songs' and several other works - more about this later. And the season ended with a spectacular concert at Bratton Clovelly, near Okehampton in Devon. It's always sad to say goodbye to young people moving on to study away from home, but this year a third of the group have departed, with four people going on to study music - two players at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, one to Birmingham Conservatoire and another to become a choral scholar at Oxford.

In September we welcomed 6 new players, all previously members of Penzance Junior Strings, and things are settling down well. PYSO perform on November 12 at St. John's Hall, with cellist Richard Lester as soloist in CPE Bach's A major cello concerto, and then we head towards the Christmas season! Do join us if you can!


Latest news - 12th November 2016

PYSO play CPE Bach A major Cello Concerto with soloist Richard Lester...
 part of a programme featuring the music of JS Bach
and his sons WF and CPE Bach
Concerts Penzance, St. John's Hall, Penzance


18th July 2016

PYSO play for Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall

On the first day of the Duke and Duchess's three day tour of the South West,
the refurbishment of St John's Hall in Penzance was marked by the unveiling of a plaque.
PYSO were very proud to be invited to entertain the Royal party.

More photos from this and our previous concerts and activities on our 'Photo Blog' page, and on our 'Video/Audio' page.



Penzance Youth String Orchestra was founded in 2006, and its members are all resident in Penwith – the tip of the South West peninsula in Britain.  PYSO players, who are aged between 10 and 19 years old, have included representatives from many local schools and colleges as well as the home education community.  Its existence is possible because of the dedication of several local teachers over many years, a great deal of dedication from the 22 young players who meet at least once a week to rehearse under the guidance of Tim Boulton, and the support of Music Cornwall.  The orchestra have won an enthusiastic and loyal following in Cornwall and beyond.
PYSO rehearse and perform without a conductor, directed by Tim Boulton from the viola position.  It is part of the ethos of the group that the players should develop a wide range of skills, including those that are transferable to many areas of life, such as the ability to listen well, to be adaptable and flexible, to take responsibility and lead, develop excellent organisational skills, and strive to achieve personal best.  Many people have commented on the great discipline of PYSO performances, and this is achieved within an atmosphere of individual expression and joy.  They perform a wide range of music and styles from the last 300 years until the present day.
Over the last few years PYSO have performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham at the Music For Youth National Festival and Schools Proms, in the lunchtime series of St. Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, at festivals in Cornwall including Golowan, Lafrowda, Lizard, and Polperro, and many other performances including BBC Music Nation Day when PYSO performed alongside the South West Camerata and members of the BBC Concert Orchestra, and several concerts of Music for Christmas.  In March 2016 PYSO were awarded the Youth Orchestra trophy at the Cornwall Music Festival for the ninth consecutive year, also winning awards for the highest mark for an ensemble and for the most inspiring director/conductor.  The orchestra also participated in the Music Cornwall celebratory event Marvellous Music in Cornwall at Hall For Cornwall and for the Queen’s Jubilee and Bandstand Marathon at Morrab Gardens, Penzance. In September 2013 PYSO were the proud recipients of a Cornish Gorsedh Music Award.



PYSO have taken part in the Music For Youth festival series in each of the last 3 years and have received awards on each occasion for their performances at the National Festival in Birmingham.

"It was such a pleasure to hear this group performing at the National Festival of Music For Youth. It's rare to hear performers of this age perform with such panache, passion and precision! That they employ the talents of other local musicians and composers for their material is fantastic and unique - the talented individuals in this ensemble all seem to have the chance to hear their own voice within the group and the audience can both hear and see the joyful results! Well done."     Sarah Freestone, MFY Mentor at the National Festival


2010 – The Classic FM String & Chamber Orchestras Award in recognition of ‘An innovative pushing of musical boundaries and an excellent performance in its own right’
2011 – The Federation of Music Services Orchestras Award given in recognition of an ‘Amazing original composition by Ben Comeau for piano and orchestra, not only a stunning composition but played with such aplomb by both soloist and orchestra.’


2012 – ABRSM String & Chamber Orchestras Award  'For sheer conviction, pizzazz and stunning playing all round’
2013 - ABRSM String & Chamber Orchestras Certificate of Achievement for Performance Practise



Penzance Youth String Orchestra
is funded and supported by

Cornwall Music
Education Hub

We are also grateful for support from
Cornwall Community Foundation
Some of our members are
students of
South West Music School
Some of our members are
supported by
Awards for Young Musicians
PYSO are pleased to be associated with
Humphry Davy School
and thank the head and staff for their ongoing support