About Us

Who We Are:
NYLSO, the New York Late-Starters String Orchestra, is something special. It was founded in early 2007, and grew out of a concept developed by The East London Late Starters Orchestra (ELLSO), an award-winning group in England. NYLSO is an amateur chamber orchestra for beginning or recently returning adult players of violin, viola, cello, and double bass. We are not a class, but rather a highly committed and enthusiastic group of individuals who want to enjoy the experience of playing serious music in an organized group.

If you played a string instrument when you were younger and would like to start again, or if you are learning as an adult and would like the chance to play in a group of similar people, then NYLSO is for you! Our goal is to create a fun, supportive, noncompetitive environment for adults 18 to 80+ who wish to participate in collective music-making.

Participants should have basic music reading skills and a willingness to commit to the group, but are not required to audition. Absolute beginners are welcome, but it is recommended that you have studied your instrument for at least 1 year.

What We Play:
NYLSO’s primary focus is on classical music. To date we have played pieces by Elgar, Grieg, Mozart, Haydn, Corelli, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Bach, and many other well-known composers. The interests of participants may help to guide future musical choices.

Repertoire is carefully chosen to suit the abilities of the group. Most rehearsals are in full orchestra, with occasional sectional rehearsals to ensure the development of the pieces and to work on troublesome areas. Scoring ranges from simplified through more advanced parts, so that players can join in even at an early stage of study and accomplishment. The emphasis is on providing a constructive, enjoyable, stress-free experience.

How We Work:
We are a very flexible and friendly group. The only requirements to join are to be an adult amateur string player and to have a healthy sense of humor. We know that New Yorkers are busy people. It is fine to drop in and try us out for a single session, or to skip an entire rehearsal cycle when an emergency arises and then return for the next one. Ultimately, though, the joy is in the development that takes place when a cohesive group works (and laughs) together. Too many absences disrupt the function of the group and make it difficult to perform the pieces. We expect members to take the work seriously, to respect each other and the group as a whole, and to honor the commitment to the group after joining it. In return, you can expect to develop as a player and to have some serious fun!

Rehearsals and Concerts:

Sessions are in 6-week rehearsal cycles, with 2-hour rehearsals held once a week for 6 weeks. We work with the goal of producing 1 to 3 very informal “friends-and-family” concerts per year.

Group Leadership:
Our professional tutor/facilitator serves as coach and conductor, giving guidance to accommodate everyone’s level of play. She has extensive experience in one-on-one teaching and in leading ensembles, and provides us with thoughtful, tolerant, and inspirational leadership. Occasional substitute conductors join in to teach sectionals, providing players with valuable experience in working with different approaches and styles.

Materials You Will Need:

Your instrument, a portable music stand, and any accessories you require such as a stand light, tuner, extra strings, and rosin. You should have a folder or envelope to keep your music together and a soft-lead pencil with an eraser for writing in changes, dynamic markings, and bar numbers on your score. Sheet music is provided.