News


International Day of Peace 2021

International Day of Peace 2021

Photo Credit: Chris Lobina

International Day of Peace 21 September 2021
Music for Peace and Development

After 18 months of Covid restrictions preventing
the coming together of choirs and singing together,
with the resulting of all choral music engagement
to online activity, it was with great joy that the
children of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir
were able to reunite physically at the
Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir’s
special Commonwealth Music Workshop -
Music for Peace and Development, was presented
to mark International Day of Peace September 2021.

To Be A Friend - Words and Music by Simon Haw MBE
A little boy he wandered by, hot and dusty beneath the dusky sky
He’d come so far, so far to go, far along the road.
The pack he bore was digging deep, right down through his fragile feet,
He bravely strode along his path, so far to travel home.
Children of courage, faithful and true, Of all Nations, our faith’s in you.

A girl beside, she looked at him, said hey my friend, why look so grim?
Be not so sad, I’ll lend a hand, for I am by your side.
Children of courage, faithful and true, Of all Nations, our faith’s in you.

They walked along the long road, Both clinging to the heavy load,
To be a friend, a friend in need, What better path to lead.
Children of courage, faithful and true, Of all Nations, our faith’s in you.


World Oceans Day
Photo Credit: Renee Capozzola
Winner, UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition

8 June 2021
Celebration of World Oceans Day 2021

To mark and celebrate World Oceans Day 2021, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir launched Oceans, a specially commissioned piece of music composed by Simon Haw MBE, recorded by the Commonwealth Orchestra and Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and the Commonwealth Scholar’s Choir.

Read more...


CYO Logo
Christ's College
Professor David Rowland, Chairman,
Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir

Photo Credit: Chris Lobina

Glasgow

La Petite Bande

Christ's College
Photo Credit: Chris Lobina

Friday 14 May 2021
New donation to CYO’s Commonwealth Music Education Fund.

As part of the legacy of Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth, to mark and celebrate the 70th anniversary of The Commonwealth in 2019, the CYO created its Commonwealth Music Education Fund - Inspire to Aspire - to support its work across The Commonwealth through the coming decades.

With no central funding, the CYO has to seek out all its financial support to enable its work.

The CYO is delighted to formally announce the extremely kind support of the company P&O Cruises, which has made an important donation to support CYO’s Commonwealth Music Education Fund.

This significant donation from P&O Cruises will help to support CYO’s ground-breaking initiatives and programmes:

CYO’s Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
www.commonwealth-music.net/commonwealth-youth-orchestra-and-choir.html
Training orchestra and choir – workshops, performance, and recording

CYO’s Commonwealth Orchestra
www.commonwealth-music-council.net
Creating employment for young Commonwealth musicians

CYO’s Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir
www.commonwealth-music.net/commonwealth-scholars-choir.html
Performance opportunities for tertiary students on Commonwealth Scholarships

CYO’s Commonwealth Children’s Choir
www.commonwealth-music.net/commonwealth-childrens-orchestra-and-choir.html
Performance opportunities for primary and secondary schools

CYO’s Commonwealth Music Partnership
www.commonwealth-music-partnership.net
Performance opportunities for all Commonwealth musicians and choirs

CYO’s Commonwealth Music Distance Learning
www.commonwealth-music-distance-learning.net
Theoretical and practical tuition freely available on-line across the Commonwealth

CYO’s Commonwealth Music Council
www.commonwealth-music-council.net
Music composition, curation and creation

CYO’s Commonwealth Music Competitions
www.commonwealth-music-competitions.net
Composers, bands and choirs

On 14 May 2021 Professor David Rowland,
Chairman of the Trustees of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir thanked P&O Cruises for the very kind donation:

“The mission of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir is to use music as a means of international dialogue and to create opportunities for engaged diversity.

CYO’s Commonwealth Music Education Programme – Inspire to Aspire – is a ground-breaking initiative which helps young people to develop their ambition and to build self-confidence in what they can achieve.

CYO continues to develop its theme for the 70th Anniversary of The Commonwealth, “To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future”, and through its Commonwealth Music Education Fund, opportunities are created by CYO to empower young people.

The CYO is indebted to P&O Cruises for supporting this essential work and for believing in the important work of the CYO.”


With the announcement P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “We feel honoured that we are able to support the music education charity, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, which through music encourages young people to be the very best they can be. Being able to play a small part in securing the future of the next generation is indeed a privilege.”


Prince Philip
Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh,
with Commonwealth Secretary –General Kamalesh Sharma
at Marlborough House, engaging with some musicians of the
Commonwealth Youth Orchestra.

Photo: Crown copyright ©

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
1921-2021

The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
is deeply saddened by the death of
His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Over many years the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
has been honoured to have had the opportunity to perform
on numerous occasions for The Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness always took a great deal of interest in engaging
with all the instrumentalists and singers of the
Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
and he made a long-lasting impression on them all.

Read more...
Music by Simon Haw MBE

© Commonwealth Music International

Rangers Alert

The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir through its
Commonwealth Conservation Network and collaboration
With Zambesia Conservation Association in
Central-Southern Africa, are delighted to launch a new
Initiative in Commonwealth Week 2021 which is
Rangers Alert Campaign.

Read more...

Members of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra
And Commonwealth Children’s Choir performing
The Commonwealth Anthem for
Her Majesty The Queen
At Mansion House, City of London.


© ITV

8 March 2021

Happy Commonwealth Day.
Sending our very best wishes to all our
Patrons, supporters and
Commonwealth Music Partners across the
54 Nations of The Commonwealth

“Zambesia”
Music composed by Simon Haw MBE
Video by Shaun McMinn

Executive Producer: Sally Shebe
Assistant producer: Jake Ellwood


© Commonwealth Music International
Zambesia Conservation Alliance

A New Collaboration With The Zambesia Conservation Alliance (ZCA)

On 10 February 2021 Commonwealth Music International and the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra (CYO) are delighted to announce a new collaboration with the Zambesia Conservation Alliance (ZCA) and are using music to support its vital conservation work in the Zambesia Region with especially composed and performed soundtracks.

To launch this new collaboration Commonwealth Music International and the CYO has commissioned its Composer-in-Residence, Simon Haw MBE, to compose music as a main theme to support the ZCA and this score has been produced and combined with the stunning videography of Shaun McMinn. The world premiere release of Zambesia is shown opposite.

"Zambesia” is a pre-colonial term for an area referred to by 19th century explorers in their memoirs. It is a region located in the central-southern part of Africa, stretching coast-to-coast across seven countries from Namibia in the west to Mozambique in the east. It broadly covers the drainage basin of the Zambezi river. This life giving water reservoir gives rise to a biogeographically distinct zone called the Zambezian Region that houses more than a dozen of the world's most significant eco-regions.

The Zambesia region includes: Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The Zambesia Conservation Alliance (ZCA) was formed in 2020 to bring together effective frontline conservation efforts to combat the loss of natural habitat and its wildlife in the Zambesia region."

Read more news...


Commonwealth Youth Orchestra Choir at Buckingham Palace
Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
Performing at Buckingham Palace for
Her Majesty The Queen,
And Honoured Guests from around
The Commonwealth.



Photo: Crown Copyright © 2020

A Fanfare for The Commonwealth

A new Commonwealth Music recording
released on 10 December 2020,
To mark the Anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(10 December 1948). The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
has produced the world premiere recording of
A Fanfare for The Commonwealth,
composed by Commonwealth Music Ambassador
and Commonwealth Music Competition 2019
Prize-Winner, Ian B. Wilson.

A Fanfare for The Commonwealth is dedicated to
Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth,
on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the
Establishment of the Modern Commonwealth on 28 April 2019.

In a note from the composer, Ian B. Wilson
wrote about A Fanfare for The Commonwealth:

“One of the overarching principles that the
Commonwealth Music Youth Programme has adopted
to guide its work is to ‘promote the Commonwealth values
of social justice, democracy and human rights
amongst the young people of the Commonwealth.’

Those values provide the rhythmic cells for this fanfare,
permeating the whole piece to reflect the way in which
they underpin everything that we do.”

Ian B. Wilson, Commonwealth Music Ambassador.



In 2012 the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra recorded music from Handel’s “Water Music” which was supported by the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation, for the occasion of Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, 3 June 2012.


Commonwealth Anthem
Lyrics written by Commonwealth Secretariat
Music composed by Paul Carroll
Arranged by Simon Haw MBE


World Premiere of Cenotaph Requiem
Maestro Paul Carroll, Artistic Director of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & Choir, Commonwealth Orchestra, Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir and Commonwealth Children’s Choir, presented a framed score of The Commonwealth Anthem to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on Diamond Jubilee Commonwealth Day 2012.



Photo: Crown Copyright © 2020

A New President

The Trustees and Executive are delighted to announce that, as of 17 November 2020, The Marquess of Salisbury is the new President of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir.

Sir Charles Bowman has completed his three-year term as President and has now become President Emeritus of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO).

CYO Director-General Sally Shebe thanked former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Charles Bowman:
“Sir Charles has been wonderfully supportive over these last three years and we are so grateful to him. We look forward to continuing our association with Sir Charles as President Emeritus”.

“CYO had the immense honour of being invited to perform at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in 2018, as part of the Commonwealth Business Forum, and we are very grateful for the support of the Corporation of London in the production of a recording which was presented to all the Heads of Government and guests attending, as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle”.

The Marquess of Salisbury has been a long-time supporter of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir. In 2012 Lord Salisbury was Chairman of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation - the organisers of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a 1,000-boat tribute to Her Majesty The Queen’s 60-year reign. One of the largest public events ever held in London, the Pageant took place on The Thames on Sunday 3rd June 2012, sailing from Putney to Tower Bridge.

In 2012 The Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation supported a recording of Handel’s Water Music which was produced by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra to mark this historic event. Some of the recording was used in the short video opposite, showing images of the Pageant and featuring one of twenty painters chosen to paint the event, based on the Millennium bridge over the river Thames.

Her Majesty The Queen is Diamond Jubilee Patron 2012 of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir.

In announcing the new President, Director-General Sally Shebe said:
“We are honoured and delighted that The Marquess of Salisbury has accepted our invitation to be the next President of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir.”

The new President said:
“I am delighted to be continuing my association with the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and much look forward to many more opportunities to enjoy the wonderful music they make.”

For a full list of Patrons of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, please click on the link: http://www.commonwealth-music.net/patrons.html


World Premiere of Cenotaph Requiem
World premiere recording of Cenotaph Requiem. Produced in January 2019 in the Guards Chapel by the State Ceremonial Musicians of the Household Division, Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir and Commonwealth Children’s Choir.

Photo Credit: Chris Lobina

On the eve of Remembrancetide 2020, Commonwealth Music Is delighted to announce the release of its production of the World-Premiere recording of Cenotaph Requiem composed by Simon Haw MBE.

Performed by the State Ceremonial Musicians of the Household Division, CYO’s Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir and Commonwealth Children’s Choir, the recording is now available for purchase, on both CD or download.

Dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth, Cenotaph Requiem is a Universal Act of Remembrance; a poignant musical reflection on the service and sacrifice given by all soldiers, sailors and airmen in the face of adversity.



World premiere of Cenotaph Requiem Performed on 1 November 2018 in the Guards Chapel by the State Ceremonial Musicians of the Household Division, Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir and Commonwealth Children’s Choir.

Photo Credit: Chris Lobina


Read more...


Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg (left) with Ian B. Wilson, Winner of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2019

Photo Credit: Chris Lobina

International Day of Peace

International Day of Peace, Monday 21 September 2020, in Westminster, UK, The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO) announced the winners of two of its landmark music contests:

  • Commonwealth Music Competition 2019
  • Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2019

These music competitions were very kindly sponsored by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

The results were delayed until this time on account of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more...


Commonwealth Music Workshops during Covid-19 Lockdown

During the months of Covid 19 lockdown from April 2020, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir continued its weekly rehearsals and workshops through online participation of hundreds of young people.

Some of the schools’ Commonwealth Music Workshops focused on “ Believe”, a song composed by Commonwealth Music Ambassador, Simon Haw MBE, to mark and the 70th anniversary of The Commonwealth.

The children were encouraged to send in contributions both musical and other, such as sport, drawing, baking, dancing etc, which have been brought together in a special compilation video.


Commonwealth Day at The Guildhall

A Tribute to Her Majesty The Queen
Head of The Commonwealth
Monday 9 March, Commonwealth Day 2020 at 1.00pm

At Guildhall, in the City of London,
108 members (2 children representing each Commonwealth Nation)
of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra’s Children’s Choir,
together with the State Ceremonial Band of the Welsh Guards,
preformed A Tribute To Her Majesty The Queen
to mark and celebrate Commonwealth Day 2020.

President of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir,
Alderman Sir Charles Bowman, made Remarks and
CYO Trustee Nicholas Holme presented the Narrative.

Read more...




A Song For The Commonwealth
Monday 9 March, Commonwealth Day 2020

On Commonwealth Day 2020, the BBC chose to use
a track of “A Song For The Commonwealth” recorded by
the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra’s Children’s Choir and
the Coldstream Guards’ Band, conducted by Lt Col Simon Haw MBE,
for the BBC’s edited highlights of The Commonwealth Day Service 2020 held at Westminster Abbey.




5th COMMONWEALTH NURSES AND MIDWIVES CONFERENCE
6-7 March 2020 London UK
Nurses and midwives: breaking down barriers, leaving no-one behind.

The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Children’s Choir were
honoured and delighted to be invited by the Commonwealth
Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF) to perform at the
Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony of their Conference
held in London, at the Royal College of Physicians,
on the eve of Commonwealth Week 2020.

Executive Secretary of CNMF, Jill Iliffe wrote afterwards:
“The Commonwealth Children’s Choir brought tears to the
eyes of delegates as they performed so beautifully at the
opening ceremony of the conference. It was such a privilege
to hear them sing.”


70th Anniversary of The Commonwealth Celebrated by
200 young musicians

On 28 April 2019 was the 70th Anniversary of the
establishment of The Commonwealth.

To mark and celebrate this historic milestone,
a special event was presented in Westminster by
    Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir
    Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and
    Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

Also marked and celebrated at the event were the
    60th Anniversary of the
        Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and
    50th Anniversary of the Open University.

The event was based around the importance of recognising the achievements of the past and making plans to be delivered in the future.

Read more...



Believe was recorded at Abbey Road, Studio 2, on 17 January 2019, by members of the Commonwealth Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Commonwealth Children’s Choir, Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir, featuring Mica Paris and conducted by Simon Haw MBE.

Read more...


Believe, featuring vocalist Mica Paris, has been released on 25 April 2019 as a charity single to raise funds for CYO’s Commonwealth Music Education Fund.

Read more...




To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future

In Commonwealth Week 2019 a new song Believe was world-premiered on Horse Guards Parade on Commonwealth Day and the following day the recording of the song was launched at a special event in Westminster which was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO).

Dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth, Believe is an inspirational song, which has been composed by Commonwealth Composer-in-Residence Simon Haw MBE, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Commonwealth in 2019.

Believe has been composed as part of CYO’s educational programme “Inspire to Aspire” and its message is central to CYO’s theme for the 70th Anniversary of The Commonwealth, which is “To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future”.

Believe, featuring vocalist Mica Paris, is being released as a charity single to raise funds for CYO’s Commonwealth Music Education Fund.

From 12 midnight local time on Thursday 25 April 2019 the track will be available to download online from all major music platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube etc.

Read more...



Commonwealth Music Competition 2018
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

Believe – Launch in Westminster in Commonwealth Week 2019

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO) hosted the Launch Event of Believe in Westminster in Commonwealth Week 2019.

Believe was performed by 53 members of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir, with members of the Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir,Commonwealth Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, conducted by Simon Haw MBE.

Read more...



Commonwealth Music Competition 2018
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

To Celebrate the Past and Plan for the Future

A new song, Believe, words and music by Simon Haw MBE, was world-premiered by 500 children of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir on Commonwealth Day 2019.

Believe is dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, on the occasion of Commonwealth Day 2019 and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of The Commonwealth in 1949. Believe has been gifted by the composer to the children of The Commonwealth.

Believe was recorded at Abbey Road, Studio 2, on 17 January 2019, by members of the Commonwealth Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Commonwealth Children’s Choir, Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir, featuring Mica Paris and conducted by Simon Haw MBE.

Read more...





World Premiere of Cenotaph Requiem

Composed by Commonwealth Music Ambassador Simon Haw MBE.

The CYO’s Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir and the
Commonwealth Children’s Choir were hugely honoured
to be invited to perform with the State Ceremonial Musicians,
Orchestra of the Household Division,
in the world premiere of Cenotaph Requiem by Simon Haw MBE.

Read more...



Commonwealth Music Competition 2018
Akbar Khan, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Simon Haw MBE, winner of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2016 at the launch in Westminster, London, UK.
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

Launch of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2018 and the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2018

On Monday 10 December 2018, on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, launched the Commonwealth Music Competition 2018 and the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2018.

Read more...



Inspire to Aspire
Creating Opportunities for Engaged Diversity

On Wednesday 26 September, by kind permission of The Master, Professor Jane Stapleton DCL and The Fellows of Christ’s College, Cambridge, the CYO held a special event as part of its programme Inspire to Aspire – Creating Opportunities for Engaged Diversity.

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"To be a Friend" New song launched for commonwealth day
Photographer Credit: Duncan Sparkes

A Song For The Lord Mayor of London

On the occasion of Alderman Charles Bowman, The Lord Mayor of London, becoming President of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, a new composition, “A Song For The Lord Mayor of London” was composed by Composer-in-Residence, Paul Carroll, which has been dedicated to The Lord Mayor of London and The Lady Mayoress.

The bound score of the composition was presented to Alderman Charles Bowman, The Lord Mayor of London by Major Simon Haw MBE at Mansion House in the City of London in July 2018.

Read more...





Simon Haw In Unity CD
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

Simon Haw, composer and conductor at a special performance of Earth Dance - A Commonwealth Cantata in Six Parts


In Unity CD – April 2018
To mark the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting London 2018 the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir launched a third new recording.

At Cadogan Hall, London, on Monday 23 April 2018, to mark the occasion of the 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in London, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir launched the third CD of its trilogy of non-commercial recordings made with the ceremonial state Band of the Coldstream Guards conducted by Major Simon Haw MBE.

This CD is called In Unity and it is dedicated to Prince Harry on his taking up his new role, on 16 April 2018, of Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.

To launch In Unity, 53 members of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir sang “To Be A Friend” accompanied by the Band of the Coldstream Guards, conducted by Major Simon Haw MBE.

This specially composed song, “To Be A Friend”, was performed at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 19 April 2018 to welcome the Commonwealth Heads of Government on their arrival at the Opening Ceremony of their Biennial Meeting, which was formally opened by Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth.

Also included on In Unity CD is a special orchestral and choral work, Earth Dance – A Commonwealth Cantata in Six Parts composed by Simon Haw, which was commissioned by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir as a musical manifestation of the core values of the 21st century Commonwealth.

Read more...



City of London CD


City of London CD - April 2018
On 17 April 2018 the CYO released a special, non-commercial CD “City of London”, which has been produced with the support of The City of London Corporation.

The CYO’s City of London CD was launched at a Banquet, which was hosted by the City of London Corporation, held on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting London 2018.

The Commonwealth Children’s Choir, conducted by Major Simon Haw MBE, performed “To Be A Friend” a special song written to welcome the Commonwealth Heads of Government to their meeting in London on 19 April 2018.

After their performance the Commonwealth Children’s Choir, composer and conductor Major Simon Haw MBE with Director-General, Sally Shebe, were presented to distinguished guests including:

  • The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Charles Bowman
  • His Excellency The President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa
  • The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland QC, Commonwealth Secretary-General
  • The Rt Hon Philip Hammond, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the British Government
  • City Remembrancer Paul Double, LVO
  • Read more...