Fifty Years on for Ealing Youth Orchestra

Joined by guest soloist in performance of Verdi's Requiem for its Golden Jubilee

Related Links

EYO chair Julia Walport, Ealing Mayor Ian Green, present day conductor Leon Gee, anniversary committee chair Sue Green (no relation), Stephen Pound MP for Ealing North, orchestra founder John Railton

International Choral Festival to Take Place in Ealing

Watermans Listings


Ealing Youth Orchestra

Sign up for our free newsletter

The Ealing Youth Orchestra (EYO) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2009 and marked the occasion by reliving its beginnings with a repeat performance of Verdi’s Requiem – 50 years on! On Saturday 25 April, the orchestra performed Verdi’s Requiem in St Barnabas Church, Ealing, Pitshanger Lane, conducted by EYO founder John Railton. The evening began with a performance of William Walton's Spitfire Prelude and Fugue conducted by EYO's Music Director Leon Gee.

Joining EYO for the performance of the Requiem were guest soloists Belinda Evans (soprano), Jean Rigby (mezzo-soprano), Robin Bailey (tenor), Edward Price (bass) and the John Railton Anniversary Choir. EYO was delighted that internationally renowned soloist Jean Rigby, who first performed the Requiem with John Railton conducting, was able to take part in this special performance to mark both the 50th anniversary of EYO and the 80th birthday of John Railton. Singing in the choir were many past members of the orchestra, parents, and members of John Railton’s past choirs. Special guests in the packed audience of past and present supporters, members and organisers of the orchestra included Ealing Mayor Ian Green and Stephen Pound MP.

John Railton founded Ealing Youth Orchestra in 1959 and ran it for the next 20 years. As Director of Music at the then Ealing Grammar School for Boys, his vision was to provide opportunities and experience for gifted musicians from all the schools in the area. At a time when musical instrumental lessons were free at all state schools, EYO was one of the first youth orchestras to meet on a regular weekly basis. EYO has stayed true to John Railton’s vision by continuing to serve the interests of young musicians. Many members have gone on to careers in music playing with leading national and European orchestras.

ealing youth orchestra

John Railton in performance of the Verdi Requiem on 25 April 2009 with Ealing Youth Orchestra, the orchestra he founded in 1959, soloists Belinda Evans, Jean Rigby, Robin Bailey and Edward Price, and the John Railton Anniversary Choir


Fifty years on, Ealing Youth Orchestra numbers over 80 players aged 13-19 from 28 schools across west London. It remains true to its founding vision to serve the interests of the young musicians of the borough of Ealing, giving young players the experience of rehearsing and performing music to a high standard. The orchestra’s music director since September 2006 is Leon Gee, and its patron is renowned composer Mark-Anthony Turnage.

The next major 50th anniversary event is a special 4th July concert at St Barnabas in which EYO will be joined by former members of the orchestra from the past 50 years and the young Ealing Schools Orchestra. The orchestra invites its past members to come and play or join the audience on 4 July. Past members of EYO can get in touch via the orchestra’s website,, where they can register on the alumni database and find out more information about taking part in the concert on 4th July.

April 30, 2009