Christchurch School of Music


There is nothing quite like the experience of playing in an orchestra and at CSM we believe this is an important part of the learning process. An orchestra not only gives students the ability to be part of a “big” sound from very early stages of their musical development, but also helps students to develop a sense of rhythm, pitch and sight reading skills. It’s also great fun! All of our orchestras will play a mix of traditional orchestral repertoire along with a selection of more contemporary tunes that will appeal to younger students such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.

  • PLAY! In the Junior Symphony Orchestra

    Saturday 8:45 – 9:55    Catholic Cathedral College Hall

    Conductor: Anne Robinson

    Assistant Conductor: Mandy Fleener

    Students choosing to learn an orchestral instrument should consider joining the Junior Symphony Orchestra (JSO) after they have been learning for about a year. Students need to have some confidence in reading music in order to enjoy the experience, but your teacher will be able to help you to decide the appropriate time to join. JSO is a fantastic introduction to orchestral playing where students will learn the concept of a beat and learn the importance of watching the conductor. Students of all ages are welcome to join this wonderful orchestra.

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  • PLAY! In the Intermediate Symphony Orchestra

    Saturday 10:00 – 11:25  Catholic Cathedral College Hall

    Conductor: Beth Cohen

    The Intermediate Symphony Orchestra is generally appropriate for students who have been learning an instrument for 3-5 years. As many of our students in this orchestra are still quite young, the focus at this level is mostly on making the orchestral playing experience enjoyable, but students will also begin to learn more about advance musical concepts and interpretation (dynamics, phrasing, accents). A greater scope of repertoire including arrangements of well known classical pieces.

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  • PLAY! In Sinfonia

    Saturday 11:30 – 1:00 Catholic Cathedral College Hall

    Conductors: Neville Forsythe, Tony Ryan

    Sinfonia is the training ground for our flagship Christchurch Youth Orchestra. Students need to be of at least a grade 5 standard in order to enjoy this orchestra where they will begin to play standard orchestral repertoire rather than simplified versions. Although still focused on fun, Sinfonia has a slightly more serious focus and students will begin to learn about the expectations placed on orchestral players.

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  • PLAY! In the UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra

    The UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra has its own website – for more information check it out:



    Rehearsals Tuesday 5.30pm-9.30pm

    Conductor: Helen Renaud

    Christchurch bassoonist, saxophonist and conductor, Helen Renaud has been the HOD of Music at Burnside High School, where she now works part time. She studied bassoon at the Wellington Conservatorium of Music, and Music History at the University of Victoria, before receiving her teaching qualification. In 2009 she graduated with a Masters in Music from the University of Melbourne, where she focused on conducting. It was here that she was taught by the late Professor John Hopkins OBE, and Richard Gill OAM.

    Since then she has been working to develop her conducting skills as the Conductor of the Burnside High School Orchestra, Symphonic Band and Junior Concert Band. She is currently studying part time for her Doctorate in Musical Arts, looking at rehearsal techniques for high school and youth ensembles. Helen was appointed to the roll of Conductor of the Christchurch School of Music  UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra in 2016.

    About the UC CYO

    The UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra (CYO) was founded in the 1970s and has offered talented students in the Christchurch area the opportunity to play challenging and exciting orchestral repertoire. Each year the orchestra will perform 3-4 concerts and can often be called on to perform at corporate and community events. Professional players from the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and occasionally the NZSO, will work with students at sectionals to coach them in the nuances of orchestral playing.

    In 2015 the CSM signed a sponsorship agreement with the University of Canterbury for the youth orchestra which is an exciting development in the orchestra’s history. This sponsorship gives naming rights to the university and ensures the players can have access to interesting repertoire and essential equipment.

    Entry into the Youth Orchestra is by audition. This not only ensures that talented students throughout Christchurch are given the opportunity to join the orchestra, but also that those students who might choose to pursue a musical career have the chance to experience the “live” audition process.

    Check out the orchestra’s Facebook page here

    Contact the office if you would like to schedule an audition.

    Latest News for the UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra:

    Final concert for 2018

    UC CYO Chamber Groups in Concert

    30 November 2018

    Knox Church 28 Bealey Ave

    Tickets Adults $20 Concession $15 Student $5

    Tickets available through Eventfinda


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  • PLAY! In Stringendo (Adults)

    Thursday 6:30—7:30

    Conductor: Anne Robinson

    A string orchestra formed especially for mature string learners! This group focuses on learning through playing. Adult string players are welcome to join the group as soon as they’re comfortable reading easy music which is usually after 1-3 months of lessons. The group rehearses weekly and players will learn technical and orchestral aspects of playing in groups as well as playing ensemble music aimed at beginners. The group is very social and is perfect for adults wanting to have some fun with their music!

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  • PLAY! In Camerata Strings

    Conductor: Patrick Shepherd/ Beth Cohen

    Camerata Strings is a string orchestra made up of violins, violas, cellos and double bass for professional and advanced adult string players who enjoy playing the sublime string repertoire. Camerata is a performance based group that rehearses in the weeks leading up to a performance. Players can choose how many concerts they wish to participate in throughout the year. Rehearsals are held at Catholic Cathedral College in the music room and concerts at St. Augustine’s Church.

    The rehearsal and concert schedule for 2018 will be posted shortly



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Christchurch School of Music

60 Ferry Road
Christchurch Central
Christchurch 8011

P (03) 366 1711

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