2013 saw the Orchestra give 3 concerts, our Gala 50 years celebration in the Usher Hall on April 15th and our summer concerts in Paisley Abbey on August 10th and in Greyfriars Kirk on August 11th. As a result of our Paisley Abbey performance St Vincent's Hospice and Accord Hospice each received £2000. 


The Players were conducted at these concerts by Donald Runnicles, Garry Walker, En Shao and Sian Edwards, as well as accompanying soloists, Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussion, Julian Lloyd Webber, cello, Jack Liebeck, violin and Jane Irwin, soprano.  We completed our year of celebration with Garry Walker and Jack Liebeck in April 2014. 


EYO is one of the world's oldest youth orchestras, was described last Easter by Donald Runnicles as a 'national treasure' and by Ken Walton in the Scotsman, some years ago, as 'among the finest youth orchestras in Europe'.


As we end our year of celebrations, if you would like to become a supporter or a sponsor of the EYO, please get in touch at marjory.dougal@edinburghyouthorchestra.org.


Photos from the Usher Hall, April 2015 with Sian Edwards and Julian Scott.

Photos by DN Anderson Photography

April 2014 photos Usher Hall

Donald Runnicles, Principal Guest Conductor at our April 15th 2013 Gala Concert

In Greyfriars Kirk, August 11th with Sian, Jane and Julian

With Garry and Julian in the Usher Hall

Scotsman EYO Review 16.04.13


Classical review: Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, Usher Hall, Edinburgh


By Ken Walton

Published on Tuesday 16 April 2013 02:35


IN ONE epic programme celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Edinburgh Youth

Orchestra had a package most orchestras would spread over several concerts.

Not only that, this awesome playlist – from Elgar to Wagner overtures via three heavyweight concertos – was put together in just two weeks.


The task was made easier by the fact that three mainstream conductors – Donald Runnicles, Garry Walker and En Shao – were the composite driving force, added to which, top-notch soloists Evelyn Glennie, Julian Lloyd Webber and Jack Liebeck (replacing an indisposed Nicola Benedetti) were the icing on a pretty impressive birthday cake.


With inspiration coming from every direction, then, and a healthy audience to ignite the party atmosphere, the scene was set for a triumphant night. It began with Runnicles taking charge of Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture, and a performance that was deliciously light of spirit, directional, though never lacking true Elgarian weight. Garry Walker took over for Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and a performance by Lloyd Webber that evolved naturally and without fuss.


Then came a gripping account of James MacMillan’s percussion concerto Veni, Veni Emmanuel, the orchestra’s visceral intensity, under En Shao, a spine-tingling complement to Glennie’s action-packed performance.


The evening edged into overtime with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (1st movement), highlighting Liebeck’s precision as soloist, ending with Wagner and an audience chorus of Happy Birthday.


Runnicles proclaimed the EYO “a national treasure”. He’s damned right.


With En and Evelyn in the Usher Hall

Herald Review 17.04.13


Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Kate Molleson

Wednesday 17 April 2013, The Herald


For half a century its intensive orchestral courses and adventurous foreign tours have been a rite of passage for classical musicians growing up in and around Edinburgh.


And if the rostrum of guest performers at this 50th anniversary gala proved the strength of Edinburgh Youth Orchestra alumni, the sound of the current band bodes extremely well for future generations of Edinburgh-bred talent.


It was a marathon celebration, which at six works and three hours long could have done with some trimming. It was no easy bill, either, opening with Elgar's tricky Cockaigne Overture (its skittish central passages flummox even the most experienced orchestras). EYO Patron Julian Lloyd Webber took a pensive rather than impassioned approach in Elgar's Cello Concerto; I admired the space he and conductor Garry Walker brought to the opening movement, but they needed more ebb and flow to keep up momentum. Things picked up with Evelyn Glennie as a captivating soloist and conductor En Shao drawing attentive, colourful orchestral playing in James MacMillan's Veni, Veni, Emmanuel.


But it was inevitable that the finest sounds of the night came with Donald Runnicles, former EYO horn player and student conductor, at the helm. An indisposed Nicola Benedetti was replaced by the excellent Jack Liebeck for the first movement of Beethoven's Violin Concerto; his silvery sound and thoughtful precision were matched by classy backing from the orchestra. In Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger the strings were full-bodied and winds and brass brilliantly robust.


A playful arrangement of Happy Birthday by Eddie McGuire and a heartfelt address from Runnicles rounded off proceedings: "It was here, in the Usher Hall with EYO, that music first bit me," said the conductor.


"Please look after this orchestra. It's incredibly precious."

4 stars


With Donald, rehearsing at St Thomas of Aquin's High School

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