Easter Orchestra Week

Friday 3 April – Thursday 9 April 2020

Ellesmere, Shropshire

Applications for 2020 are now open for all sections except the following, which are already full: flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, horn, tuba

The Easter Orchestral Society organises an annual orchestral residential week for adults and students, based at Ellesmere College, close to the market town of Ellesmere in Shropshire. Click here for directions to Ellesmere College.

During the week we aim to tackle repertoire most amateurs do not normally get the opportunity to play. It is intensive and challenging, but fun and friendly.  See below for 2020 repertoire.

Most participants choose to stay on campus. There are single, twin and double rooms available. A limited number have en suite facilities. You can also choose to stay elsewhere as a non-resident.

Facilities on campus include plenty of rooms for chamber groups, a swimming pool, gym, tennis courts, a golf course and on-site car parking. There is a bar on campus; local pubs are within walking distance. 

A typical day involves work on the principal works in the morning followed by lunch. There is free time in the afternoon and then we tackle a major play-through work (often a large-scale symphony) after tea. We break for dinner, and then there’s more, often lighter, play-through repertoire after dinner. Most of us then head for  the bar! At the end of the week there is an informal concert where we play the principal works.

Players need to be of at least Grade 8 standard with orchestral experience and excellent sight reading skills. You are advised to apply as soon as possible because there is a degree of competition for places, particularly in the woodwind and brass sections. Priority will be given to the consideration of applications received before the end of September 2019 from players who have attended in the previous two years. The Musical Director’s decision on acceptance is final.

The Musical Director is Michael Thorne. Tom Hammond is our Assistant Musical Director. The orchestra is led by Margaret Holter.

Easter Orchestra Week subscriptions (per person) are given in the table below.


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Free places

Student/young people’s scholarship places are available which provide places free of charge (including accommodation and full board) to string and harp players aged 18-25. Numbers are limited, so please apply as soon as possible after applications open because the free places go quickly.

Click here to apply for an Easter Orchestra Week Scholarship (age 18-25

Half price places

There are a few subsidised student places for instruments for which there is a vacancy, which halves the subscription. If you would like to be considered for a subsidised place, please indicate this and give details of your full-time student status on the application form (under Other Information). 

“What a pleasure it is to play such interesting and challenging repertoire in a full string section – pure heaven!”

First-time violin participant

repertoire 2020

The repertoire for 2020 is given below. We will do our best to adhere to this repertoire, but we may need to make substitutions in cases where we have been unable to obtain the music.

There’s a list of all the repertoire we’ve played since 2006 here:  Easter Orchestral Society Repertoire Listing to 2019

Morning sessions — principal works

Andrzej Panufnik Procession for Peace
Bohuslav Martinů Symphony No 1
Gustav Holst The Planets


Afternoon sessions


Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony No 9
Gustav Holst Suite from The Perfect Fool
  Egdon Heath
Dmitry Shostakovich Symphony No 6
Benjamin Britten Prelude and Dances from The Prince of the Pagodas
Sergei Prokofiev Symphony No 4 (1947 version)
Claude Debussy Iberia
Franz Schmidt Symphony No 2
Antonín Dvořák Symphony No 6

evening sessions

William Grant Still Symphony No. 1
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5 (Emperor)
David Maslanka Unending Stream of Life (wind/double basses/percussion only)
Hector Berlioz March to the Scaffold and Witches Sabbath from Symphonie Fantastique
  Overture: Les Franc Juges
  Overture: Carnival Romain
Gustav Mahler Kindertotenlieder
Alan Hovhaness Hymn to Yerevan (wind/double basses/percussion only)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6
Dmitry Kabalevsky Cello Concerto No 1
Malcolm Arnold Tam O’Shanter
John Foulds Keltic Lament
Richard Strauss Oboe Concerto
Michael Nyman Suite from The Draughtsman’s Contract
Charles Ives/William Schuman Variations on America


Easter Orchestra Week Subscriptions 2020 (per person)

(subscriptions have been held at 2019 levels)




Single Room (shared bathroom)

Full Board



Single Room (en suite)

Double Rooms (en suite) are £595 per person

Full Board



Twin Room (shared bathroom)

Full Board




Tea/coffee plus one meal per day


The number of en suite rooms is limited, and will be allocated strictly on a first come first served basis. Where an en suite room has been requested, but is unavailable, a shared facilities room will be allocated, at the lower subscription, of course!

Full Board includes accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea/coffee/biscuits/cakes in breaks starting with dinner on the first day of the week and finishing with breakfast on the final day.

To apply, please click below. The Secretary will then be in touch with you about your application, and to request a non-refundable deposit of £100 (refundable if your application is unsuccessful).

You can download a copy of the Easter Week Brochure 2020 here: EOS brochure 2020


Apply Now