Over the years since CSYO was formed, conductors of renown have undertaken to rehearse the orchestra to near professional levels, in recent years under the leadership of Chris Gayford the orchestra has established itself as one of the country's most succesful and flourishing youth orchestras. The CSYO have performed with many international players including Nigel Kennedy, Peter Cropper, Matthew Barley and in the summer of 2012 toured the Benelux Countries with the highly acclaimed cellist Natalie Clein.
We have performed at venues throughout the UK and toured extensively, visiting and performing in Belgium, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Scandinavia, Spain, and Switzerland.
We have played to very small audiences and also to frighteningly large ones (5,000), in churches, on beaches, in continental village squares, in palaces (Palazzo Vechio in Florence), imposing concert halls (Manuella concert Hall in Granada) and even Roman Amphitheatres!
In 2005 we were honoured to be the first ever western Youth Orchestra to be invited to accompany the Bolshoi dancers, and the performance of Swan Lake in the Roman Amphitheatre in Pula that summer, one never to be forgotten. Indeed, the event was recorded, for posterity, by television crews from across Europe!
But variety is the spice of life and for something a little different… in July 2000 many members of the orchestra participated in making a recording at one of the most famous of recording studios – the No1 studio where Elgar recorded and the Beatles made their biggest hits. The orchestra travelled to the Abbey Road studio providing the orchestral backing for a previously unreleased John Lennon song, ‘Grow Old With Me’.
To summarise the achievements of this orchestra a near impossibility, but here are some of the things others have said:
"...one of the most admired youth orchestras in the country...". Peter Cropper (2012).
"...the energy and sheer musicianship (gave) an astonishing performance...". Sheffield Telegraph (August 2011).
"...the CSYO has become one of the best youth orchestras in the country...". Sheffield Telegraph (April 2011).
“…was thrilled to work with an orchestra with such levels of dedication and energy, showing quite remarkable teamwork and support for one another…” Matthew Barley (April 2003),
“…infectious enthusiasm, dedication and exceptionally high performance standards…” Robert Quinney Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral (Dec 2002)
“…their obvious dedication, enthusiasm and sheer talent…” a sponsor (Easter 2002)
“…the finest ambassadors for the City of Sheffield…”. The Lord Mayor of London hearing them play to a capacity audience at the Barbican, raising funds for Leuka2000.
Hard work and dedication have brought the orchestra unqualified and well-deserved recognition and at a 25th Anniversary Concert we were joined by past members … that so many participated is a reflection of the very character of this orchestra, the affection and loyalty which CSYO has engendered in its members over the years. It is perhaps one of the greatest accolades that past members, Matthew Barley, Matthew Bugg and Martin Cropper now of international fame, return to perform, tutor, and compose for us.