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.


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 on our 'Photo Blog' page.



September 2015

PYSO workshop with US folk-rock band Harpeth Rising

Click on the photo below for more info, and more photos...


Summer 2015 - PYSO play at Music for Youth National Festival in Birmingham, July 2015

  'Serenata' by Graham Lynch, 2nd movement, at the Music For Youth Festival in Birmingham July 2015  


PYSO News - June 2015

Spring has been another productive time for PYSO. The performances at Music For Youth Truro Regional Festival and Cornwall Music Festival earned the group their 5th consecutive trip to the MFY National Festival in July, and their 8th successive award in the ‘best youth orchestra’ category respectively. In April the group spent an enjoyable evening devising a new experimental self-created piece with composer Stephen Montague, whose work ‘Snowscape: St. Polten’ we have often performed as it always attracts such interesting and positive audience response. This new work which we titled ‘The Anatomy of Champagne’ had its first performance a couple of days later, at the Porthleven Food and Drink festival.

Since September the players have been entirely directing themselves. In the past viola player Tim Boulton has been supporting the group and directing from the viola chair, but the time has come for the players to take full responsibility for all the directing themselves, with Tim’s support in rehearsals but not on stage. This task is easier in some works than others and requires a very detailed and disciplined rehearsals where there are frequent change of speed and mood as is the case with ‘Serenata’, a new work specially written for PYSO by Penzance based composer Graham Lynch and due to be premiered during Golowan Festival on June 25th. It’s a very beautiful work of three movements, colourful and textural and with a strong balletic feel. There are hints of French music from Rameau to Poulenc and a touch of Apollo Musagette – it could be an ideal score for dancers. PYSO will be performing ‘Serenata’ at all their summer concerts so if you can, do come along and hear this intriguing and beautiful new work which will be performed alongside Grieg’s Holberg Suite and other works.

Come and hear PYSO performing at Golowan Festival on Thursday June 25th, Music For Youth National Festival at the Adrian Bolt Hall in Birmingham on July 10th, Lafrowda Festival on July 18th, and at Penlee Park Open Air Theatre on July 19th.


News for Autumn 2014:     New Video from our St Ives September Festival performance

We had a fantastic stay on the Isles of Scilly 24th - 31st August 2014.

Thank you to everyone, and especially our wonderful audiences!

We've put a few photos on our Photo blog...


PYSO play centre stage with 650 young Cornish musicians in the 'Co-Create Cornwall' performance
at the Music for Youth Schools Prom, November 13th 2013.

More photos from this Royal Albert Hall performance on our Photo blog...



Penzance Youth String Orchestra play Shostakovich to open the MFY Schools Prom, 14th November 2012
A high quality DVD of this video is available from Black Swan Film & Video  



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.
In the last year or so 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 2014 PYSO were awarded the Youth Orchestra trophy at the Cornwall Music Festival for the 7th 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