The Grand Union Youth Orchestra runs monthly masterclasses/workshops for its members as well as open introductory workshops during school holidays and half-terms for new recruits. All sessions are open and free.

Contact Nadia Nervo on 020 8981 1551 or to find out more.



Sunday 6th, 10.00am - 1.30pm, seasonal introductory workshop
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
South African trumpeter Claude Deppa leads an open session introducing the new GUYO season's programme, and playing some of the music created by students at the Summer School. New recruits especially welcome! Flyer here

Thursday 24th, 10.00am-1.00pm & 2.00pm-5.00pm, open workshops
Poplar Union, 2 Cotall Street, London E14 6TL
Special event celebrating Black History Month, workshops led by Grand Union African and Caribbean musicians. Open to all, including MCs and Spoken Word artists. Participants will then be invited to take part in a performance, Roots in Rhythm, at Poplar Union on Saturday 26th (rehearsal from 3.00pm)


Sunday 10th, 10.00am-1.30pm, masterclass in South Asian music
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Masterclass in Indian classical music and Bengali folk song, led by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, combined with jazz and other world music styles. Some GUYO members will then be invited to take part in that afternoon's performance of Bengal to Bethnal Green, which follows (4.00pm-5.15pm).


Sunday 1st, 10.00am - 1.30pm, preparation of music for Winter Concert
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA 
This year's Winter Concert (on December 15th) is on the theme of renewal, and the repertoire will reflect this, including pieces suggested or created by members of GUYO itself. This workshop will therefore prepare and rehearse for that


SUMMER PROGRAMME 2019 just completed - download flyer


Sunday 12th, 10.00am - 1.30pm
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
GUO trumpeter Kevin Robinson introduces his favourite Caribbean music, and offers tips on improvisation within the styles.


Sunday 12th, 10.00am - 1.30pm
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
GUO’s Shanti Jayasinha (trumpet, percussion) explores Afro-Cuban music, and describes his approach to improvisation.


Sunday 7th, 10.00am - 1.30pm
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
GUO saxophonist/flautist Louise Elliott shares her enthusiasm for Latin music, offering practical suggestions for improvising.

Monday July 30th to Thursday August 2nd - Summer School
Writtle University College, Chelmsford
Fifth annual GUO residential Summer School, full details on the Summer School page.

As a taster of what can be achieved, here are clips from recent events at Rich Mix:

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 :



Sunday March 4th, Rich Mix
Masterclass led by Columbian percussionist Emeris Solis
Born on the Pacific Coast of Columbia, Emeris is a much sought-after exponent of the colourful songs and rhythms of that region, including currulao and bunde..

Sunday April 8th, Rich Mix
Masterclass led by gu zheng virtuoso Zhu Xiao Meng.
Born and brought up in Shanghai, Zhu is one of the world's finest exponents of the Chinese harp. She has appeared in many Grand Union projects over the years, and her repertoire ranges from ancient dramatic showpieces to poignant folk music.

Sunday May 6th, Rich Mix 
Masterclass led by Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth (Bangalore)
Trained as an Indian classical musician, Jyotsna is an extraordinary improviser, and her workshops give an insight into the ragas of the South Indian tradition.

Sunday May 20th, 'Big Band in a Day', Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
Young musicians working with Tony Haynes, Claude Deppa and Yousuf Ali Khan to produce a support set for the featured band. 

Sunday June 3rd, Rich Mix
Masterclass led by steel pan virtuoso Daniel Louis.
Born in Hackney, Daniel's family comes from St Lucia. He is therefore both heir to the Caribbean steel band tradition, and expert in other British Black music styles - and a great jazz player.

Sunday July 1st, Rich Mix - rehearsal preparing music for What the River Brings at St John on Bethnal Green, Sunday July 14th

Monday July 30th to Thursday August 2nd - Summer School
Writtle University College, Chelmsford   
Fifth annual GUO residential Summer School, details here

Throughout the autumn, Hackney Museum mounted an exhibition Black British Music in Hackney, and our whole programme - including GUYO projects - reflected and explored this theme,

Sunday October 6th, Rich Mix
Masterclass exploring Jamaican music past and present, led by internationally renowned trumpeter Kevin Robinson

Tuesday October 23rd, Spotlight, Langdon Park
Thursday October 25th, Poplar Union    
Trading Roots -
open workshops in the music of African and the Caribbean with Grand Union musicians, celebrating Black History Month. Participants performed with Grand Union musicians at Poplar Union on Saturday 27th.

Sunday November 4th, Rich Mix
Masterclass led by Ghanaian master-drummer Abass Dodoo

Sunday December 2nd, Rich Mix
Rehearsal and soundcheck for Winter Concert, Trading Roots   

The Summer School sessions and monthly GUYO masterclasses/workshops are generally led by different musicians from the Grand Union Orchestra, They focus on various styles and techniques of world music and jazz including Indian classical ragas, African songs and chants, township music, call and response techniques, Latin-American rhythms, Eastern European and gypsy music (to name but a few!) - and improvisation is always a key ingredient.

Perch by

For details of upcoming GUYO events, visit our Youth Orchestra Performance page or our general Events page.

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