The Violin Orchestra

Violin Orchestra - Christmas 2019

Register Now to Join the Orchestra!

9th November to 7th December 2019

The Violin Orchestra runs twice a year (Summer and Christmas), with Saturday afternoon rehearsals culminating in a concert in Central London.

Members of the Orchestra also perform in small ensembles, which rehearse directly before the orchestra on Saturday afternoons.

+44 (0) 20 3051 0080
[email protected]

The Friendly Orchestra for Every Age and Experience Level!

Any questions? Get in touch at [email protected] or give us a call anytime on +44 (0) 20 3051 0080!

If you're new to The Violin Orchestra, then before you register, why not come along to the first rehearsal and meet everyone? It's a great chance to get to know us, and to see whether the Violin Orchestra is a good fit for you.  

Just turn up to the first rehearsal at 3.20pm (for 3.30pm) on Saturday 9th November - we'll email you venue details once you've registered - click the button below! 

We'll be playing through a variety of different pieces of music, and everyone is welcome to come and meet the community and take a sneak preview of the Violin Orchestra repertoire together.

New to the Violin Orchestra? Come and meet us!

Yes, I'd like to try out my first orchestra session for free!

So come along to the first session (then if you enjoy it, you can register for the whole project afterwards). Just click here to register, and we'll send you the venue address:

Dear Violinist, 

We're delighted to invite you to join the Violin Orchestra in London, a unique orchestra, for every age and level! 

The Violin Orchestra is open to everyone - all ages and experience levels are welcome! For Christmas 2019, we're delighted to be featuring some of the most popular pieces from our 'back catalogue', at our concert on 7th December!

There is an ensemble part to suit your technical experience, whether that’s open strings, first position only or advanced level. We’re always delighted to welcome music students and pre-professional players too. 

As a group, we work to a really high musical level. We pride ourselves on creating compelling performances. We play for a live concert audience here in London, and the final concert is streamed around the world through our online webcast.

Here's one of the pieces we performed in the Summer of 2016 (Sonata in E K380 by Scarlatti)


To take part in the Violin Orchestra you’ll need: 

- A violin (!) 

- For Beginners: Enough experience to play open strings and 1st fingers in 1st position - in time, in tune and with a good sound (we recommend completing Beginner Violin Course A or equivalent - then you'll be ready to join the orchestra!) 

- For everyone else: a little bit of practice time each week to consolidate what we do in the rehearsal sessions 

- A music stand (not strictly essential!) 

- A friendly, can-do approach and a desire to make beautiful music and… 

- ...that’s about it! 

The idea behind the Violin Orchestra is that you can engage in truly great music making regardless of how much technical experience you have on the violin. Our standards are high, and everyone is welcome.

Creative Violin Ensemble: 'The Free Rangers'!

NEW for Christmas 2019, we are delighted to announce that a new Creative Violin Ensemble for intermediate and advanced players will meet before the Violin Orchestra rehearsals (as an alternative to Classical Ensemble music).

Led by our resident musical omnivore and all-round musical free spirit Matthew Forbesthe group will create a non-notated, non-classical jazz-folk-gypsy-rootsy-blues-inspired collaboration ... an ideal creative challenge for players of any intermediate or advanced level!

The group will meet before the orchestra rehearsal begins at 3.30pm:

  • Saturday 23rd November, 1pm to 3pm
  • Saturday 30th November, 1.45pm to 3.15pm

Get ready to explore and experiment with some truly creative violin playing!

Dates & Times

The first preview session is on 9th November, and we then rehearse on Saturdays 23rd and 30th November, with the Christmas Concert itself taking place at 2.30pm on Saturday 7th December at St John's Church, Waterloo.

Each week, Rehearsal Rooms will be available (£12/hr) for Ensembles who wish to perform at the Christmas Concert, and participants of ViolinSchool Courses C/D/E rehearse their ensemble (chamber music) pieces earlier in the afternoon.

From 3.30pm to 6pm, the Violin Orchestra rehearses, to prepare the repertoire for the concert (with a big break for tea & biscuits in the middle!). After 6pm, orchestra members can be found socialising in the nearby 'Grosvenor' pub (79 Grosvenor Rd, SW1V 3LA) :)

Our rehearsal schedule for Christmas 2019 is:

  • Saturday 9th November - First Rehearsal / Preview Session (in Pimlico)
  • No rehearsal on Saturday 16th November
  • Saturday 23rd November - Rehearsal (in Pimlico)
  • Saturday 30th November - Rehearsal (in Pimlico)
  • Saturday 7th December - 12pm Rehearsal (10am Ensembles), 2.30pm Concert (in Waterloo)

Saturday 7th November, 2.30pm 
Concert Venue: St John's Church, Waterloo 

We'd love to see you at every rehearsal, but if you can't make all the sessions, that's OK -- just make sure you learn the music in advance! (Digital scores/parts and MIDI recordings will be available once you have registered).


CONCERT DAY - Draft Schedule

9am Get-in

10am Ensembles Rehearsals & Soundcheck

12pm Orchestra Rehearsals & Soundcheck

1pm Children's Ensemble Soundcheck

1.30pm Setup / End of Rehearsal

2pm Doors

2.30pm Concert

4.30pm Christmas Party @ Venue TBC South Bank

© ViolinSchool 2019 | Terms & Conditions
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3051 0080 | Email: [email protected]
 Mail: 15 Palace Street, Westminster, London SW1E 5HS


The Violin Orchestra is run by ViolinSchool as a non-profit community project. We are committed to making participation as affordable as possible for the widest number of people. For this reason, Violin Orchestra participation is now run on a donation basis (suggested amounts below).

Please help us to spread the word about the Violin Orchestra, to encourage participation from as many violinists as possible! 

Suggested donation for 1 Adult Violinist (or 1 Adult + 1 Child) is:

Non-Member: £150
ViolinSchool Member: £100
Enrolled Course (A/B/C) Learners: £50
Term Pass Holder / Course D/E Learners: participation is included in your Term enrolment, no donation required

Your participation donation covers the cost of:

  • All rehearsals (and biscuits!)
  • Violin Ensembles or Creative Ensemble ('The Free Rangers')
    These sessions, which take place before the orchestra rehearsals, build on the repertoire (chamber music) development of Course D and E and MiniHubs, and give you a chance to play in a small groups with other violinists. The optional Creative Ensemble with Matthew Forbes is a chance to explore non-classical violin playing, and to broaden your experience across a wide range of different styles.
  • Digital files of all sheet music arrangements 
  • Digital music notation / sound files, to help you learn the repertoire in advance of the project
  • Concert Participation (1 performer + 1 free guest ticket)

Each Violin Orchestra project costs several thousand pounds to produce. 100% of funds raised go directly towards the cost of the project. If you are in a position to make a more substantial donation than the suggested amount, this will help us to:

  • cover the full costs of the project
  • subsidise places for those who would not otherwise be able to afford to take part
  • reach a larger number of people

We would be very grateful for your extra support.


Never Knowingly Short Of Biscuits

We take our biscuits seriously at The Violin Orchestra, and there's always a good tea-and-biscuit break in the middle of each afternoon rehearsal! We're partial to a good Jam Cream... what's your favourite? :)


The Violin Orchestra rehearses in Central London, SW1 (Pimlico/Westminster)

We will confirm rehearsal venue addresses to you by email in advance of each rehearsal.

Beginners & Young Violinists

Beginners: Never played violin before? Come to one of our Beginner Violin Classes to get started! You can then join the Violin Orchestra and dive straight into the thrilling experience of ensemble playing. If it's your first time playing a musical instrument, we also recommend our Beginner Violin Course A, which will have you playing fluently on the violin in just 10 weeks!

Young Violinists: We now welcome players aged 5-13 to the Violin Orchestra! Younger players (5-8) will be given additional support with learning the music, as part of our Children's Course A and B.

Children taking part in the Courses, as well as the Orchestra, are invited to take part in Ensemble performances featuring favourite pieces from the A and B Courses.


The sheet music for the project is arranged especially for the Violin Orchestra, so that parts are available for all experience levels. 

The music will be available for you to download and print, so that you can download and practise the music between rehearsals. We can also print copies for you at the rehearsals.

We are pleased to announce that the 2019 Christmas Violin Orchestra repertoire will include favourites from the Violin Orchestra's 'back catalogue', including:

Adagio attributed to Tomaso Albinoni

Por Una Cabeza (Tango) by Carlos Gardel

Oratory by Matthew Forbes

I am the Doctor (Theme Tune from Dr Who)

The Ensembles Repertoire will include:

Ragtime, Serenade & Rumba by Anita Hewitt Jones

Pastime with Good Company by Henry VIII

Folk/Jazz Violin Ensemble

...and much more!

Register now for full access to all scores, parts and videos as soon as they become available!

Practice Rooms / Ensemble Rehearsal Rooms

We encourage all members of our community to form violin ensembles together ... a library of sheet music will be available, or bring your own ... if you need help finding other people to collaborate with, let us know that you'd like to find an ensemble to play with, and we'll help match you up to players of a similar level!

NEW for Christmas 2019 - we will be making available rehearsal rooms (or practice rooms) at £12/hr for those who wish to get together and practice or rehearse.

If you would like your ensemble (trio or larger) to be considered for the Christmas Concert, then please let our director (Simon) know as early as possible, so that your group can be considered for inclusion in the concert programme.

Please note: We encourage Quartets, Quintets, and larger ensembles for the 7th December concert, although there may be limited space for some Trios. 

There is also a small amount of space available for guest viola players and cellists, but please check with our Support team first, before inviting non-member participants, to ensure availability of space. Solo and Duos will be welcome at a special Solo/Duo concert later in 2020!

Violin Orchestra People

This Christmas, the violin Orchestra is conducted by Simon Hewit Jones from ViolinSchool, with Matthew Forbes and Thomas Hewitt Jones (Piano/Cello), arrangements by David Worswick and Matthew Forbes, and guest performers To Be Announced. Full biographies will be available here soon, or you can find out more about us at!