…to the website of the association The Hague Youth Symphony Orchestra. Hofstads JeugdOrkest (VHJO), as it is known in Dutch, is the oldest youth orchestra in the world! The association offers children and young people between the ages of 6 and 25 the possibility of playing classical music together. Achieving the highest possible level of music, at the same time as having fun, is a key objective.
The Hague Youth Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1923 by Mrs. Tilly Talboom-Smits and the first concert was given on 14 April 1923 in theatre Diligentia in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 1964, after 40 years of conducting and managing the orchestra, Mrs. Talboom-Smits handed over the leadership of the orchestra to Mr. Lex Veelo, a violinist who had been a member of the youth orchestra. Mr Veelo conducted the Youth Orchestra until 2010, when he was succeeded as current conductor of the Youth Orchestra by Mr Marcel Geraerds.
The orchestras and ensembles
In the early 1970’s the original Youth Orchestra began to grow and in order to accommodate all the children, additional preparatory orchestras were added to the association, which now totals around 300 members, from beginners in the String Orchestra to the most experienced players in the Youth Orchestra. To broaden the skills of the young musicians, a Wind Ensemble and a String Ensemble were established, and brass or mixed ensembles play together on an ad hoc basis.
The association offers a programme of introductory lessons to young players on a wide selection of instruments, including hire of the instrument. They also get a first taste of playing in small groups and most go on to become members of one of the orchestras.
The orchestras rehearse on a Saturday afternoon (16:00-18:30) or evening (19:00-22:00) at the Daltonschool, Aronskelkweg 1 in The Hague, with the exception of the Ypenburg Introductory Orchestra, which rehearses on a Wednesday afternoon (16:00-18:00) in Ypenburg.
All orchestras and ensembles of the association regularly perform in The Hague and surroundings. In addition, the Junior and Youth Orchestras have frequent national and international concert tours, most recently to Sicily and China respectively.
The association has an open, family character and social activities are an important part of the association’s way of providing a safe, welcoming and fun environment within which to stimulate a passion for playing classical music together. Social events include festive parties, sailing holidays, team-building events and activities for the younger children.
Please send an email if you are interested in playing in one of our orchestras or ensembles and/or would like more information. Children and students from the various international schools in The Hague, such as the German school, French School, British School, and the International and the American School, are often members of the association. Young musicians of all instruments are welcome to come and try out the orchestra. We have a trial period of 4 weeks, without obligations.
Approximately 1,600 children and young musicians have played in our association over the last 90 years, forming friendships for life. Many have gone on to become professional musicians. We look forward to hearing from you!