2017 Course and Concert - 25-29 October - Cadogan Hall, London

The English Schools' Orchestra and Choir, founded in 1994, exists to provide the opportunity for talented young orchestral musicians and singers, still in full time education, to meet and perform with other similarly talented young people from all over the country.

Final Rehearsal Before the 2015 Concert Final Rehearsal Before the 2015 Concert

The highlight of our musical year is the annual Orchestra Course, which takes place over the October half-term. This comprises a one-week residential course during which a programme of music is rehearsed for a concert in a national venue on the final afternoon. Recent venues have included Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the Barbican and Cadogan Hall in London.

This year's concert will once again be held at Cadogan Hall in London on Sunday 29th October 2017. The course will be held during the half-term week, Wednesday 25th October to Sunday 29th October at Dame Alice Owen's School, Potters Bar.

During the week, students are provided with regular refreshments, a full cooked lunch and high tea. Residential students stay at the well equipped Lincolnsfield Centre nearby and benefit from a cooked dinner and a wide range of organised evening activities.

This year's exciting programme begins with Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture. The Orchestra are then delighted to be joined by 11 year old Paloma So to perform Saint Saëns's 3rd Violin Concerto. Paloma recently performed with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall as part of Maxim Vengerov's celebration of the Chinese New Year.

The Orchestra will also perform Sibelius's Symphony No.2, described by Sibelius as "a confession of the soul", and a solo item performed by Paloma So.

Full Programme
  • Hector Berlioz - Roman Carnival Overture
  • Camille Saint Saëns - Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor
  • Solo Violin - Paloma So
  • Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 2 in D

If you are interesting in applying for future courses go to the how to apply page or download an application form.

Paloma So

Paloma So Paloma So

Eleven year old Paloma So is currently a student of Wycombe Abbey School, Buckinghamshire. She loves literature and arts as well as outdoor sports including tennis, swimming and skiing. Paloma started learning piano at the age of four and violin at five.

In February 2014, Paloma made her debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mozart's Violin Concerto No.5. She performed the same concerto with the Fujian Symphony Orchestra in May 2014. She was invited to perform Sarasate’s “Gypsy Airs” as a soloist at the G20 Gala Dinner in Brisbane, Australia in November 2014.

In March 2015, Paloma collaborated with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra again, performing Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1. In July 2015, she joined the Zakhar Bron Chamber Music tour in Germany and Switzerland. Paloma collaborated with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, playing Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5 at Foshan Theatre and Guangzhou Concert Hall in April 2016. The same month, Paloma was invited to perform on the same stage with David Garrett in Interlaken Music Festival, Switzerland as well as performing a duet piece with Prof. Zakhar Bron by Shostakovich and as a solo, the Wieniawski Variations on an Original Theme in the Berlin Philharmonie.

Paloma won the second prize at the prestigious 13th International Wieniawski Competition for Young Violinists in Lublin in September 2015, and the first prize at Novosibirsk Violin Competition in May 2016. After the competition she was invited to perform at the Interlaken Music Festival in 2016. Paloma played the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra at the Berlin Philharmonie in November 2016. She was also invited to perform with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra again at their Chinese New Year Concert on 31 December and 1 January 2017. Together with Maxim Vengerov, Paloma played Navarra with the London Symphony Orchestra at the London Royal Festival Hall on 9 February 2017. She will perform Wieniawski Violin Concerto No. 2 in May 2017 with China Philharmonic Orchestra in the Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, and Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in Xian Concert Hall in July 2017. Paloma has also been invited to perform Saint Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 in Singapore Esplanade Theatres Concert Hall in November 2017.