“The children learn so much from playing in EDYO. Although each child has individual lessons outside of EDYO, without playing in an orchestra they have little opportunity to learn vital lessons such as listening to fellow musicians, playing together, and following a conductor. For many of the orchestra’s members EDYO is their first experience of ensemble playing; several of the schools the students attend don’t have orchestras, and there is often little opportunity to explore the classical repertoire.” - Megan Tress

About the Orchestra

  • The Esher and Dittons Youth Orchestra was set up in Autumn 2011 as a successor to the Orchestra of the Pagoda which ran from 1999 to 2009.
  • Orchestra meets on the first 5 Sunday afternoons at the beginning of each term, to avoid conflict with school activities.
  • A public performance is presented on the last Sunday of each course, giving the players a feeling of real achievement as well as an opportunity to demonstrate their skills to their parents and other members of the audience.
  • Players may volunteer a solo performance of a piece they have mastered to gain experience.
  • EDYO welcomes players of grade 4 or above, aged between 8 and 16. No audition is required.
  • Cake breaks provide time for friendships to grow amongst like-minded people.
  • The orchestra meets at the Vera Fletcher Hall in Thames Ditton.

The EDYO Team

Michal Kasnowski

Michal Kaznowski - Principal Conductor

Michal has a fantastic rapport with the children, encouraging them to express themselves, so that EDYO is a place where the students can gain self-confidence as well as developing their musical talent.

Michal has taught for many years at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music and is a member of the Maggini Quartet.

Megan Tress

Megan Tress - Manager

Megan was born in Esher and grew up in Thames Ditton. She is a great supporter of classical music and committed to creating opportunities in the local community for children to play music together. For the last ten years Megan has also run stringed-instrument masterclasses in the Loire Valley, France, where teachers from the top UK conservatoires come to teach at both junior and adult level.

Megan is an expert brownie baker and bringer of chocolate happiness to children in orchestra breaks.

Amy Tress

Amy Tress - Section Coach

Amy is 1st violinist of the Solem Quartet, with whom she enjoys a busy performing schedule all around the UK and Europe.

Amy is experienced teacher, privately, in schools and at the Royal Northern College of Music, and has given masterclasses and workshops across London in collaboration with Spitalfields Music and the Wigmore Hall learning centre.

Amy is a director of La Mariette Junior String Masterclasses in the Loire Valley, France.

Alessandro Ruisi

Alessandro Ruisi - Section Coach

Alessandro is 1st violinist of the Ruisi Quartet in which he performs with his brother Max.

He is co-leader of the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the 12 Ensemble and regularly performs with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Alessandro is a first violin sectional coach for the National Children's Regional Orchestra, London, and has worked as a teaching assistant at such festivals as Bowdoin international festival, USA.

Sarah Kasnowski

Sarah Kaznowski - Section Coach

Sarah is an accomplished Cellist and has worked for the BBC Symphony Orchestra for many years.

Amanda Hurton

Amanda Hurton - Piano Accompanist

Amanda Hurton studied at Yehudi Menuhin School and Royal College of Music, and graduated with First Class Honours in Performance. She now has a busy career as piano teacher, accompanist, chamber music coach, adjudicator, and has examined for ABRSM for 19 years. Amanda is an experienced accompanist for concerts/festivals/auditions/competitions, and enjoys supporting and encouraging young instrumentalists on these special occasions.


What does your child gain from playing in a Youth Orchestra?

Intellectually demanding

Playing in a youth orchestra is an incredibly intellectually demanding exercise, and one that must command your full attention. Concentration is divided between your own playing, your section's timing, the orchestra's pace as well as keeping an ear and an eye on the conductor .

Augments interest in music

Playing in a group is great fun, and the social side of the orchestra means the children are more likely to stick with their instruments rather than becoming bored or disillusioned with classical music as a result of only ever having individual lessons.

Teaches Teamwork

The youth orchestra needs to function together as a team. Everyone needs to pull together and contribute with best efforts to produce a performance the audience want to hear.

Organisational skills

Juggling the practising of one's part between rehearsals, schoolwork and other activities is good practice for getting through workloads at university and in life.

Coping with pressure

Commitment to the team demands a high standard of play and minimising mistakes. Playing in front of an audience will help to overcome stage fright and boost confidence.

Cultural history

Music reflects the environment and the time of its composition. Learning a variety of music types in the classical traditions and each piece's background and storyline can advance our appreciation of our own and other cultures.


EDYO term starts and runs for 5 weeks, every Sunday between 14:30 and 16:30 at the Vera Fletcher Hall.


Sep 2016

EDYO term starts and runs for 5 weeks, every Sunday between 14:30 and 16:30 at the Vera Fletcher Hall.


Jan 2017

EDYO term starts and runs for 5 weeks, every Sunday between 14:30 and 16:30 at the Vera Fletcher Hall.


Apr 2017

Contact us

Please contact Megan Tress on 0208 941 8532 / 07932 717 582 or enter your details below and Megan will contact you.