Youth Orchestra

The CBSO Youth Orchestra is the successor to the Midland Youth Orchestra, founded in 1956 by CBSO General Manager Blyth Major and for nearly half a century one of the UK's leading independent youth orchestras.

In 2004 it joined with one of the world's great professional orchestras to become the CBSO Youth Orchestra, giving young musicians from across the Midlands the chance to experience professionally-supported orchestral playing at the highest level.

Open to all Midlands young musicians aged 13 (in Year 9) to 21, the CBSO Youth Orchestra gives its members an unmatched opportunity to be part of an internationally renowned orchestral organisation, playing challenging music in prestigious venues with top professional conductors and soloists. Complementing the region’s existing youth and schools orchestras, the CBSO aims to have a youth orchestra that is dynamic, challenging and filled with dedicated young players who share the CBSO’s own passion for music. CBSO Youth Orchestra courses are typically held annually in October, February, and July.

Members of the CBSO Youth Orchestra benefit from:

  • Sectional coaching from CBSO musicians
  • Performances with leading professional conductors
  • The chance to play in Birmingham's Symphony Hall, one of Europe's finest orchestral concert venues
  • Performing exciting and adventurous music, including regular world and UK premieres
  • The support of the CBSO's management team - exactly like a professional orchestra.

To join the CBSO Youth Orchestra applicants need to undertake an audition with a panel of CBSO musicians, just like a professional orchestral audition. Auditions are held annually during the summer term.

To apply for the CBSO Youth Orchestra audition process, please complete this form.

We ask that applicants are working at a minimum of Grade 7 standard for strings and Grade 8 for woodwind/brass/percussion.

If you have any questions at this stage, please email

Applications for CBSO Youth Orchestra 2022/23 season are open between Friday 1st April 2022 and Sunday 8th May 2022. 

2022-23 Key Audition Dates
Audition applications are open from Friday 1st April 2022 to Sunday 8th May 2022.

You will be sent out your Audition Booklet one month in advance of your audition date.