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.


GUYO sessions which for most of the last year have taken place via Zoom have now gone live again! Workshops return to Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA on the second Sunday morning of the month, and are being themed:

Sunday September 12th, 10.00-1.30 - open workshop, new members welcome
Sunday October 10th, 10.00-1.30 - music expressing dissent, protest and resistance, led by Kate Shortt (cello)
Sunday November 14th,10.00-1.30 - creating music related to Bangladesh and independence, led by Yousuf Ali Khan (tabla)
Sunday December 12th, 7.30 - Winter Concert
details to be announced


Three open workshops to celebrate Black History Month, directed by multi-instrumentalist Joshua Brandler and led by Grand Union Orchestra core musicians, at
Poplar Union, 2 Cotall Street, Poplar, E14 6TL
Admission free, full details and sign up here.

Wednesday 27th, 1.00 - 4.00: led by Yousuf Ali Khan (Bangladesh), tabla/voice, exploring the music of South Asia.

Thursday 28th, 1.00 - 4.00: led by Carlos Fuentes (Chile), Latin-American percussion, exploring the music of Cuba and Brazil.

Friday 29th, 2.00 - 6.00: rehearsal for the evening event, when workshop participants will be invited to play alongside the Re:Generation Band (7.00-8.30: see Performance Page

In previous Black History Month projects, young musicians have explored the musical legacy of the West African diaspora, in the context of the Transatlantic Slave Trade:

GUYO musicians summon up the Yoruba orissa Eleggua with West African 12/8 drumming, and Ogun with Northeast Brazilian  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).

The Grand Union Orchestra Library Channel on YouTube provides a fund of imaginative possibilities!

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