Get involved

​If you are interested in joining the Orchestra we recommend you attend an introductory workshop before coming to our regular monthly masterclasses/workshops. To register your interest in playing with us, please fill in our application form.

How do I join?

You can fill out our online form.
Send an email to for more information. You can also call the office on 0208 981 1551.


It's free! There is no charge for workshops, rehearsals or participation in performances - all you have to do is get to the venue.

Why should I join the Youth Orchestra?

Receive musical guidance from top professionals

You will benefit from the leadership and experience of some of the finest professional world musicians from the Grand Union Orchestra, including Claude Deppa, Yousuf Ali Khan, Emmanuel Tagoe, Carlos Fuentes, Gerry Hunt, Louise Elliott, Tony Kofi, Ros Davies and GUO's composer/director Tony Haynes.

Learn about world music from authentic experts

Our exceptional musicians lead performances, workshops and masterclasses exploring the principles and techniques of world music. Why does Indian music sound like it does? Why do African rhythms seem so complex? How do jazz players find their way through changing harmony?

Perform in big and inspiring venues

We perform in venues as large as the Hackney Empire, Hornchurch Queen’s Theatre and Stratford Circus. But we also play in relaxed, smaller-scale settings and in open-air festivals. Wherever we set up, you can be sure we’ll get a supportive, appreciative audience.

Express your creativity in unique ways

Get involved in fusions of Indian ragas, African drums and bluesy brass. Learn the theory of harmony and scales in a practical way. Our members develop their skills in improvisation, composition and playing by ear while all of our musicians contribute ideas to the performances.

Showcase your talents on a real-world stage

Our members play in professional settings alongside working musicians. Older, more experienced members of the Youtht Orchestra are frequently offered work as assistant workshop leaders - and some have already been asked to perform with the professional Grand Union Orchestra!

How good do I need to be?

There is no audition process for the Youth Orchestra, although most of our musicians are around a Grade 4 standard or higher. We recognise that non-Western instrumentalists may not take graded exams so it is not a defined standard that we require, only the musical ability.

Latest News

Huge success of Song of Contagion!

Fantastic audience responses to the recent shows Wilton's Music Hall

New BBC interview

Director Tony Haynes talks to Jimoke Fashola about this week's premiere of Song of Contagion. Skip to 02.52.04 to listen.

Song of Contagion promo video released

Featuring a taste of the music you will hear in our spectacular new show and interviews from the musicians involved

Booking opens for Song of Contagion!

Wilton's Music Hall, June 13th to 17th: tickets now on sale for our spectacular new show

Dates announced for 2017 Summer School

Our fourth annual Summer School runs from July 31st to August 3rd, Goldsmiths College, South London.

Exciting plans unveiled for 2017!

GUO's programme for the new year includes a brand new show at Wilton's Music Hall and a return to Portugal.

Remembering Cable Street

Video of The Beast is Back by Tony Haynes, recorded at the GUO commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street in October

High praise for GUO music education project

Read about Music Untamed at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, supported by the Mayor's Music Fund

Band Off The Wall

Inspired by the Peace Mural at Dalston Junction, Grand Union has launched a new street band for Hackney

GUO tracks are now available online...

Grand Union CDs and individual numbers can now be streamed from Spotify or bought from iTunes

Full-length DVD of Undream'd Shores

A DVD of the acclaimed Hackney Empire production is now available from the GUO online shop.

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