The East Sussex Youth Orchestra, based in Lewes, has been conducted since its foundation by Colin Metters, Professor of Conducting and Director of Conducting Studies at Royal Academy of Music, performing at the highest standards in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues. This includes concerts at Glyndebourne, St John’s Smith Square, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, and at the Edinburgh Festival. As well as this, international tours in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Spain – at the Pablo Casals Festival, Barcelona, which is usually only open to professional groups – have shown that the young people involved in the Orchestra are some of the most able, most talented musicians around.

That’s why, in 2014, ESYO’s 35th Anniversary was celebrated in style. On top of a European tour of Germany, Slovakia and Czech Republic, the 90 students involved took their music to the people – by performing in Wenceslas Square, Prague, in the form of an orchestra flashmob!

Building on thier experience and the many hours of rehearsals suding the formal EYSO course, these young people performed spontaneously without a conductor, attracting a large and appreciative audience.

40 students of the orchestra  performed Fantasticke Scherzo Op25 by Josef Suk. A single triangle started the percussion, students and instruments growing in number in the Square as the piece continued. The Scherzo filled the space with sounds of merriment, light-heartedness and serenity, with the important darker edges of a truly impressive composition, ending in a rousing finale, after which the young musicians slipped away into the crowd as quietly as they had come. The whole event has been caught on   film thanks to generous support and sponsorship from Within Design who travelled to Prague with a film crew for the weekend.

In a true display of the independence of spirit that characterizes Lewes – the home of the English Revolution, radical traditions, extravagance, and notorious anti-establishmentarianism – these talented students made their mark in Prague – the stage of the Velvet Revolution, characterized by peacefulness, emotion, and the importance and power of the arts.

Over 50% of the students in the orchestra are in receipt of bursary support to cover their tour costs. Martlets Music helps to support the remainder of the orchestra, so that this exciting initiative can reach its full potential.