Youth Company

Garsington Opera 2017 Silver Birch Community Chorus with James Way (Davey) credit John Snelling
About the Youth Company

Artistic Director: Karen Gillingham
Vocal Director: Suzi Zumpe

Garsington Youth Company provides local young people aged 9-21 with the opportunity to develop their singing, creative skills, confidence and stage experience through the exciting world of opera. During annual Easter and summer residencies, young singers learn from world-class stage and music directors, leading up to a performance on the main stage for an invited audience at Wormsley. In 2017 the Youth Company took part in the hugely successful world premiere of Silver Birch, performing three sold-out nights at Wormsley alongside international opera stars and the Foley Sound Design team from Pinewood Studios.

The Youth Company is divided into two groups: YC1 (ages 9-13) and YC2 (ages 13-21). Rehearsals are held in the High Wycombe area, and the majority of members live in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. 

High Wycombe is near Junction 4 of the M40 and the Wormsley Estate is near Junction 5. 


2018 Schedule

Schedule for YC1 (9-13 years)
Schedule for YC2 (13-21 years)

2018 Youth Company Performance

We are very excited to announce that in summer 2018, our Youth Company will be performing a new production of Eliza and the Swans, an opera by John Barber (composer) and Hazel Gould (librettist), on the main stage at Wormsley. 

Eliza and the Swans is an update of Hans Christian Andersen's Wild Swans, a magical tale of a young princess who has to recue her brothers from an evil queen. This piece will be performed exclusively by the Youth Company and will offer some opportunities for solo singing. 

John Barber is a dynamic composer with a passion for drama, collaboration and voices. He was twice commissioned by the Royal Opera House to write works for their Youth Opera Company, and composed for Spitalfields Festival and Glyndebourne. He created the music for Max Webster's highly-acclaimed production of Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe, and wrote Song of Songs - three choral pieces commissioned and premiered by The Sixteen. John won a British Composer Award for his cantata Consider the Lilies, and won Royal Philharmonic Society awards for both his opera We Are Shadows, and his oratorio Seven Seeds, which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall by 2,000 young singers. His mini-opera Mighty Oaks Academy was performed by Garsington Youth Company in 2016.

Hazel Gould is a director, writer and workshop leader who specialises in community and outreach for productions and workshops. For the last 15 years, she has collaborated with musicians creating new work in a diverse range of settings from professional productions to prisons and special needs schools. As an assistant director she works regularly for the Royal Opera House, and as a librettist she won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for We Are Shadows for Spitalfields Festival. She has had works premiered by Philharmonia Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva, Streetwise Opera, Aurora Orchestra, The Triborough Music Hub and W11 Opera. Hazel has directed on Garsington Opera schools and community projects both in Buckinghamshire and nationally. 

Karen Gillingham (Director) and Suzi Zumpe (Vocal Director) will be leading on this performance of Eliza and the Swans. 

All enquiries: Julian Guidera, Learning & Participation Co-ordinator | 07812 955874

Eliza and the Swans was commissioned by the W11 Children's Opera Trust and was first performed by them on 12 and 13 December, 2015. 

Youth Company Auditions

We will be holding open auditions for new members in Autumn 2018.

If you would like to audition, please contact our Learning & Participation Co-ordinator, Julian Guidera: or 07812 955874