The Grand Union Youth Orchestra runs monthly masterclasses/workshops for its members, introductory workshops during school holidays and half-terms for new recruits, and a range of open workshops and online activities. All sessions are free and without auditions.

Contact Joshua Brandler or the Grand Union office 020 8981 1551 to find out more.


This is a brand new programme for the whole of 2021 -  flyer here, more details on the Youth Orchestra main page.

GUYO sessions which have so far this year taken place via Zoom are now going live again! Workshops will return to Rich Mix on the second Sunday morning of the month, and will be themed:

Sunday May 9th, 10.00-1.30 - open workshop, new members welcome
Sunday June 13th, 10.00-1.30 - exploring music for Refugee Week
Sunday July11th ,10.00-1.30 - creating music for Windrush Day
July 26th - 29th: annual residential Summer School, venue to be confirmed, but provisionally Oundle School, near Peterborough.


Here are examples of GUYO exploring the West African diaspora in a project related to the Transatlantic Slave Trade:

GUYO musicians summon up the Yoruba orissa Eleggua with West African 12/8 drumming, and Ogun with Northeast Brazilian 12/8 rhythms and his traditional Candomble chant :


To keep up to date with GUYO events, visit our  Youth Orchestra Performance page or our general Events page.

In these videos streamed during lockdowns, Grand Union core musicians (who lead our workshops and the Summer School programme) talk about their 'journeys' and demonstrate their musical styles and instruments:

We hope you will find their input useful in shaping your own ideas; the GUO  Library Channel on YouTube may also help.

Featuring an unimaginable range of instruments and singing styles worldwide, it brings together essentially lyric or narrative pieces from the Grand Union canon, ranging from simple arrangements of traditional music to Tony Haynes’s compositions for large-scale shows, especially those involving young musiciansThis Playlist, The Isle is Full of Noises, gives a general overview.

More Playlists group the dramatic material under other subject headings – eg ‘rivers and seas’ , ‘jobs and occupations', ‘protest and conflict’, ‘villains and victims’ and so on. They aim primarily to inspire musical interest and creativity, but for schools they also form an imaginative way in to a range of historical topics (the slave trade, wars of independence, the Silk Road), social issues (disease, migration, inequality), world instruments and dance styles, cultural and political debate, and even languages (widely represented in GUO material). 

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