About the Yorkshire Late Starters Strings

Background and Ethos

YLSS was inspired by the East London Late Starters Orchestra (ELLSO) which had been founded in the early 1980's off the back of the ground-breaking Tower Hamlets childrens music project, itself a forerunner of schemes like In Harmony and Sistema ScotlandSheila Nelson was key in establishing the Tower Hamlets scheme from which an international network of Late Starters orchestras has now developed, and almost everyone who has ever learned a stringed instrument will have played some of her compositions and arrangements.

From its own small beginnings in September 2000, YLSS has grown to nearly fifty players with more joining each year. Each section has a range of abilities from virtual beginners upwards to experienced players.

Our members join us from all over Yorkshire and our rehearsals take place on Saturday mornings during term time, 10.00am - 12.30pm, at Allerton High School, Leeds

Our priority is to give our members the chance to simply enjoy playing together, to learn, and to grow in experience and confidence. We aim to make our music and our playing the best we can, but we're certainly not worried about a few wrong notes along the way! 

Our music is very varied and in recent terms included:

  • Byrd - Pavan & Galliard
  • Rameau - La Timide
  • Lloyd Webber - Music of the Night
  • Beethoven - Allegretto from 7th Symphony
  • John Gibbs - Norwich Suite 
  • Herschel - Symphony
  • Holst - St Paul's Suite
  • Dvorak - Nocturne
  • And not forgetting our New Music Competition winning piece, Fantasia, by Jasmine Simons
New Learners

For members that have only been playing a short time, we are very pleased to run a developing musicians group which runs alongside the first half of our main orchestra rehearsals each week. This smaller group is supported by an additional professional tutor, helping to explore some of the more accessible pieces in our repertoire, providing tips and guidance on technique, and helping less experienced players gain confidence with our music. The group rehearses separately for the first half of our Saturday mornings, and then join the full orchestra after our morning break. The music we play in the second half of our rehearsals is usually a little bit more accessible, to support those that join us after break. 

New members are free to choose whether to start in the smaller group, or to immediately join our full orchestra, depending on their level of confidence and experience. 


Full Member £94 per term, with concessions of £68.

Payments are paid by bank transfer and details are available when members complete their termly subscription form. We can also accept cheques made payable to Yorkshire Late Starters Strings.

Concessions apply to those in dependent on benefits and for full time students.  If in doubt, you can have a confidential conversation with Jane, our secretary, who will be happy to advise. 

YLSS is registered charity number 1088105, and welcomes contributions that attract gift aid to support our activities. Charitable contributions support the general work of YLSS and also help to sustain our biennial new music competition, helping to encourage and support new composers. If you are kindly making a charitable contribution and you are eligible for gift aid, you can make a gift aid declaration by clicking here.


Interested in joining us?

Click below to find out about rehearsals and how to join.

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