Sheffield Youth Orchestra comprises young and dynamic musicians from across South Yorkshire. The ensemble isn't auditioned, but we ask for minimum grade 7 standard for section principals and grade 5 standard for tutti players. Members are expected to attend all rehearsals (when possible) and to dedicate some of their personal practise to orchestra repertoire.
Chester Heath-Cook is principal violinist of the Sheffield Youth Orchestra and an active performer across the local area. He has recently successfully completed his A-levels and will study music technology at the University of Keele from September 2018. Chester works as a recording engineer at Yellow Arch Studios and is in demand as a producer and technician both in the studio and at live gigs.
Debbie Thomas, chairperson
The SYO council meets regularly to discuss the development of the orchestra, ensure we're all up-to-date with safeguarding procedure and to ensure the continued prosperity of the ensemble. The council comprises both parent helper and representatives from the orchestra, meaning young musicians get a say in their orchestra.
George Morton was born in Lincolnshire and read Music at the University of Sheffield. Having received his Bachelors degree, he took up postgraduate studies with George Nicholson (composition/orchestration) and Kenneth Brown (trumpet). Since graduating, George has settled in the leafy city of Sheffield and continues to enjoy its proximity to the Peak District National Park and locally-brewed beer.
As a conductor, George is in demand across the North of England. He is founder and Artistic Director of Rep Orchestra, an ensemble based in Sheffield which devotes its concerts to exploring innovative and exciting projects and specialises in silent film performances (Chaplin’s Gold Rush & City Lights, Lang's Metropolis, Sounds of the Cosmos, The Snowman). He is Director of Music with the Sheffield Youth Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Nottingham University Wind Orchestra and Guest Conductor with Hallam Sinfonia. He teaches conducting privately and at the University of Nottingham.
George specialises in creating arrangements for ensemble or chamber orchestra. Following a commission from Latitude Music Festival (Suffolk) for a chamber version of Holst’s The Planets, George has created new arrangements of large- scale repertoire from the nineteenth and twentieth century. His orchestrations have been performed to great acclaim at venues including Cadogan Hall (London), Turner Sims (Southampton), Christ Church (Malvern) and Heino Elleri nimeline Tartu Muusikakool (Talinn, Estonia). Ensembles to perform his arrangements include The Són Project, Mozart Symphony Orchestra, HallAmadeus Orchestra, Little Malvern Ensemble, Rep Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Trinity Church Music (Australia). George's arrangements are available to hire internationally from Universal Edition and 360 Music.