Penzance Youth String Orchestra

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Welcome to our website! 

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 2017

Summertime in Penzance is always wonderful, even when it rains! June is the time for Golowan Festival and Mazey Day, and one of the highlights is the annual concert given by PYSO and our sibling Penzance Junior Strings. Then a few weeks later St. Just celebrates Lafrowda, another highlight for PYSO with our concert in the Methodist Chapel in St. Just. The Open Air Theatre is in full swing in Penlee Park, and for the 8th year running, PYSO were invited to the Music For Youth National Festival in Birmingham.

This time with sister orchestras Truro Youth String Orchestra, Penzance Junior Strings and East Cornwall Youth String Orchestra, and some members of Truro College String Ensemble too – together making up a new Cornwall Youth String Orchestra. The orchestra of over 80 people filled the stage at Birmingham’s Town Hall and thoroughly enjoyed performing John Maxwell Geddes's ‘Soundposts’. We were very sorry to hear of his death in September – an inspiring man who has done so much for music education in Scotland and beyond.

After the joy of the summer concerts comes the sorrow of saying farewell to some of our most experienced players as they move on, and this year we wish Iris, Eva, Amber, Angus, Charlotte and Joe all the very best in their new ventures. Now we are welcoming new players and starting rebuilding and rebalancing the ensemble – a period of work and discovery without any concerts now until December.

On December 10th PYSO will be performing alongside ECYSO and the Dante String Quartet in an arrangement for string quartet and string orchestra of Arensky’s Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, the 2nd movement of his wonderful quartet for violin, viola and 2 cellos. PYSO’s annual ‘Celebration and Reflection’ at St. Mary’s Church, Chapel Street, takes place a week later, on Sunday 17th December. Look out for other Christmas concerts around Penwith too. Do join us if you can!


News from 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