County Ensembles

Under the advice of the Government and Department for Education we are working hard to get in-person Music Groups back up and running as soon as possible and will be opening a selection of activities in person from 16 June 2021.

If you can’t find an activity here for you we are delighted to continue to offer our new and improved activities for our Virtual Music Centre (VMC) this term! ​

Click on your usual ensemble below to find a VMC activity that suits you.


East Sussex Brass Band


East Sussex String Chamber Orchestra


East Sussex Wind Orchestra


East Sussex Youth Orchestra

Back of older female violinists in orche

Hastings Area Youth Symphony Orchestra


South Downs Youth Orchestra

The county groups offer students the highest level of performing opportunities with East Sussex Music, with performances at prestigious venues at home and abroad. County Groups have performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London as well as large venues in East Sussex. Recent tours have included France, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Finland.


Players are typically of grade 6 standard and above, but the entry requirements for each group are slightly different.


There is no fee to join an Ensemble and once you are a member, you will be kept informed of all the upcoming courses and tours that you can sign up for, all of which are individually priced.

Players from low income families (level 1 and 2) can get assistance with fees. Residential courses and tours have additional fees. These do not always offer our usual fee reductions for low income families, but we do everything we can to make sure everyone can take part.

Members usually attend every course but it is not essential. You may lose your place to another player if you do not keep up your membership.

When courses take place

Week-long (or longer) courses take place during our summer school in July. Some groups also have day-long weekend courses during term time.

Applying for membership

You can apply for membership at any time, but we only hold auditions at certain times of the year.

See details of who can apply in the information for each group.