March 27, 2018
16-year old pianist Eleonora Nanni was the winner in this year’s closely contested EYO Concertothon with a barn-storming performance... Read more
For more than half a century, eyo has had a tradition of ambitious music-making, including the performance of works by its Honorary Patron Mark-Anthony Turnage, collaborations with local schools and singers in semi-staged operas, and concertos with young soloists often drawn from within its own ranks.
eyo was founded in 1959 by John Railton, the Director of Music at Ealing Grammar School for Boys. His vision was to provide opportunities and experience for gifted musicians from all the schools of the area. He remained the orchestra’s conductor for 21 years.
Hilary Davan Wetton, Director of Music at St Paul’s Girl’s School, was conductor between 1979 and 1981. He was followed by Stephen Block. The baton passed in 1984 to Mark Gooding who widened the orchestra’s repertoire and in 1988 introduced the annual summer tour.
Mark Forkgen took over in 1999 and the orchestra continued to build its reputation for excellence, attracting young musicians from all over West London. In August 2006 Mark took up an appointment as Head of Music at Tonbridge School, and handed over to the present Music Director, Leon Gee.
eyo has stayed true to its original vision by supporting young musicians, even during cutbacks in arts funding and music education. Many members have gone on to careers in music and have graduated to play with leading national and European orchestras.
One feature of eyo that sets it apart from many other youth orchestras, is that it is completely independent and self-financed. Until the early 1990s it was substantially funded by the London Borough of Ealing, but this support eventually was withdrawn. The orchestra finances itself through subscriptions and ticket sales and is administered by volunteers.
In 1996 the orchestra became a registered charity, number 1067041.