About Us

The Orchestras

Founded in 1944, Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra is one of the oldest youth orchestras in the UK. Based in Wimbledon, London, we currently have over 160 players aged from 8 to 18, drawn from around 80 different schools all over Surrey and south and west London.

Stoneleigh comprises two orchestras: the Main Orchestra, aimed at musicians who are the equivalent of Grade 7 standard or above, and the Training Orchestra, designed for less experienced musicians who are at least Grade 4 standard. The orchestras rehearse in Wimbledon on Sunday afternoons during school term time and perform three concerts a year in some of the best concert halls in London and Surrey. Recent venues include Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Dorking Halls, and the Royal College of Music. The Main Orchestra also undertakes a week-long tour in Europe each July.

Our Musical Director is Robert Hodge, who conducts the Main Orchestra. Our Assistant Conductor is Naomi Butcher, who is responsible for the Training Orchestra. They are assisted by a team of leading professional musicians who take sectional rehearsals. We have also been fortunate to perform with many inspiring soloists. These have recently included Ben Goldscheider, Richard Harwood, Tom Poster, Joo Yeon Sir, Alexander Soares, and Andrew Zolinsky.

We aim to provide an orchestral environment which is challenging, fun, friendly and supportive, in which young musicians of all backgrounds can develop their skills and nurture a lifelong love of classical music. Entry to both orchestras is by audition. Auditions are held at the start of every term and at other times by arrangement.

Stoneleigh is wholly independent and a registered charity (charity no. 280297). It is run by a committee of dedicated parents of current and former players who volunteer their time. Financial assistance towards the cost of membership is available. Our firm policy is that no person who is musically eligible will be denied access to membership for financial reasons.

*Credit to Splaat Media



1st January 1944

Stoneleigh Junior Orchestra founded by Edward Gough in Stoneleigh, near Epsom.


1st January 1945

First concert


1st January 1951

Participated in the Festival of Britain


1st January 1965

Edward Gough handed over the baton to his son, Howard Gough


1st January 1972

Adrian Brown appointed Musical Director


1st January 1976

Stoneleigh won the Music for Youth Festival


1st January 1989

Stoneleigh awarded the Novello Youth Orchestra Award


1st January 2003

Stoneleigh moved to its current rehearsal venue in Wimbledon


1st January 2005

The Training Orchestra was formed


1st January 2013

Adrian Brown steps down after 40 years as Musical Director and is succeeded by Robert Hodge


1st January 2018

Stoneleigh invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Music for Youth Prom