Vereniging Hofstads JeugdOrkest (VHJO), as it is known in Dutch, is the oldest youth orchestra in the world. Founded in 1923, the association offers children and youngsters between the ages of 6 and 25 the opportunity to play classical music together. Achieving the highest possible level in music, whilst having fun, are key objectives.
The Hague Youth Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1923 by Mrs. Tilly Talboom-Smits. The first concert was held on 14 April 1923 in Diligentia Theatre in The Hague. In 1964, having conducted and managed the orchestra for 40 years, Mrs. Talboom-Smits handed over the baton to Mr. Lex Veelo, a violinist who had been a member of the Youth Orchestra. Mr. Veelo conducted the Youth Orchestra until 2010. His successor, Mr. Marcel Geraerds, continues to conduct the orchestra to this day.
The Orchestras and Ensembles
In the early 1970s the orchestra began to grow. In order to accommodate all the children wanting to play, new orchestras were formed. The association now totals around 400 members, from beginners in the preparatory String Orchestra to the more advanced players in the Youth Orchestra. To broaden the skills of the young musicians, a String Ensemble was established, and a variety of ensembles now play together on an ad hoc basis.
The association offers introductory lessons (Orkestacademie) to young players on a wide selection of instruments. Hire of the instrument can be arranged through the association. Children who enrol in this programme also get their first taste of playing in small groups. Most go on to become members of one of the orchestras.
The orchestras rehearse every Saturday afternoon (16:00-18:30) or evening (19:00-22:00) at the Dalton School, Aronskelkweg 1 in The Hague.
All orchestras and ensembles of the association perform regularly in The Hague and surroundings. In addition, every year, the Junior Orchestra and Youth Orchestra go on national and/or international concert tours.
The association is open and family-like. Social activities play an important part. Through social activities, we hope to provide a safe, welcoming and fun environment for children to play classical music together and to stimulate a shared passion. Social events include parties, team-building events and activities for the younger children.
Come and meet the orchestra during one of our open days (open dag) or one of our recruiting days (instroomdag) Check our calendar for actual dates. Young musicians of all instruments are welcome to come and try out the orchestra. We have a trial period of 4 weeks, without obligations.
Please contact us if you are interested in playing in one of our orchestras or ensembles, the introductory lessons and/or would like more information. Or register by filling out the registration form.
Our young members include children and students from the German, French, British, American and International schools of The Hague.
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.