About us

The Colchester-based Colne Valley Youth Orchestra (CVYO), made up of the CVYO Main Orchestra and its junior partner, the Colne Valley Training Orchestra (CVTO), was established in 1980 by local music teacher and composer Nigel Hildreth who is still its Musical Director. The Orchestra is a Registered Charity No. 1028647 and is a member of "Making Music"

Since its launch, hundreds of young musicians from the local area have had the chance to play and perform not just in and around North Essex, but in countries across Europe. The orchestra has broadcast on national radio, performed a prestigious events such as the Oyster Feast and played a major role in encouraging youngsters to take up playing a musical instrument and to play it with others.

Together the CVYO and CVTO provide an ideal opportunity for young musicians from the surrounding areas to express themselves musically in a friendly, non-competitive environment, free from the stress of auditions and safe in the knowledge that while they are making music, they will also be making friends and having fun. The aim of the orchestra has always been to afford musical and social opportunities to youngsters aged 7-18 no matter what their background. Many CVYO members have since gone on to become professional musicians.

Before his death in 2006, the composer Sir Malcolm Arnold was the orchestra's President. We are delighted that DAMON ALBARN, composer and performer in "Blur" and "Gorilliaz" and former member of the orchestra is our new President. Over the years as the orchestra has grown in numbers, so have the number of people who help and support the orchestra, which today is run by a Committee of fantastic volunteers.

If you are interested in joining or supporting the orchestra in any way at all, why not contact us (link through to contacts page) to find out more or check out the date of our next rehearsal in the news and events. We are celebrating our 30th Anniversay this year with a Gala Concert more details to be found at:

  • Information on the 30th Anniversary

  • brass players smiles all round