Junior String Ensemble (JSE)

The Junior String Ensemble (JSE) is the youngest of the Queensland Youth Orchestras but is renowned for the high quality of its performances. In 2016, the ensemble has 63 players aged 8 to 15 years. JSE regularly performs joint concerts with other QYO, youth and school ensembles.

In 2016, JSE performed with QYO3, Western Suburbs String Orchestras and St Hilda’s School string ensemble in Southport. Other highlights for JSE include a performance at QYO’s Gala Concert celebrating QYO’s 50th anniversary at the Brisbane City Hall in May and a visit by Urangan School String Orchestra from Hervey Bay for a successful concert at the Old Museum in August.

JSE performs a wide range of repertoire, much of which is skillfully arranged by conductor Chen Yang. In 2015 repertoire included:

Australian Folk Song arr. Sharp Click Go The Shears
J.S Bach, arr. Yang Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Berlioz, arr. Yang Rakoczi March
Bizet, arr. Yang Spanish Entrácte from Carmen
Borodin arr. Yang In the Steppes of Central Asia
Brahms, arr. Isaac Hungarian Dance No.5
Corelli “Christmas” Concerto Grosso in G minor
Copland, arr. Bulla Hoe Down from Rodeo                              
Delibes, arr. Yang Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé
Delibes, arr. Yang Aria from the opera Lakmé
Handel The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Lehar, arr. Yang Vilia from The Merry Widow
de Falla, arr. Yang Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo
Saint-Saëns, arr. Yang Delilah’s Aria from Samson & Delilah
Sharp La Llorona – Spanish Suite
Tchaikovsky, arr. Yang Waltz from Swan Lake
Vivaldi, arr. Yang Allegro from Lute Concerto in D major
Vivaldi Concerto for two Cellos in G minor
Wagner, arr. Yang Siegfried’s Funeral Music from Götterdämmerung


Conductor Chen Yang

Chen Yang has had a long association with Queensland Youth Orchestras. He first joined as a violinist in 1975 and was concertmaster of QYS from 1978 to 1980, touring with the orchestra in 1980 to Europe, including the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Aberdeen, Scotland. Attributing these positive QYO musical experiences as a major influence in choosing music as a career, Chen studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and graduated with distinction in violin performance.

As his first professional musical undertaking, Chen was the Concertmaster of the Queensland Theatre Orchestra (later renamed the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra), working under the distinguished Maestro, Georg Tintner. In 1981 Chen joined the Queensland Symphony Orchestra where he played in the first violin section until 1989.

Deciding on a change, Chen spent the next spent two years as musician-in-residence on Dunk Island Holiday Resort in North Queensland where he led a string quartet and performed as a cabaret violinis. He continued as a freelance musician throughout the early 1990s, performing in show orchestras for many major musical productions at QPAC.

Chen is the leader and conductor of The Sinfonia of St Andrew’s orchestra and is the string teacher and conductor at St Hilda’s School, Southport. He adjudicates regularly for eisteddfods and competitions and is also a prolific arranger of string music for the Junior String Ensemble. Chen was the conductor of QYO3 from 1983 to 1988 and since 1991 has been the conductor of the Junior String Ensemble.

Watch QYO’s Junior String Ensemble play Jeza, Dance for String Orchestra, by John Rotar:


Junior String Ensemble Application Information


  • 65-member string orchestraJSE
  • Standard string repertoire & advanced arrangements
  • Current conductor:  Chen Yang (since 1991)
  • Rehearsals:  Saturdays 8.45am-11.30am
  • Weekend music camp: QCCC Brookfield, Fri 3 - Sun 5 Feb, 2017
  • Violin min AMEB Grade 5 (guide only)
  • Viola & cello min. AMEB Grade 4 (guide only)
  • Bass min. AMEB Grade 2 (guide only)
  • Maximum age limit as at 31 Dec 2016: 15 years


  • Violin 1 (18), violin 2 (18), viola (12), cello (14), double bass (8)


QYO Junior String Ensemble (JSE)     QYO Junior String Ensemble (JSE)

 “I think QYO is awesome. We get to play lots of awesome music, make lots of new friends and just have fun.  I think the camp is one of the highlights of the year because that’s where we make a lot of our new friends.  I think Chen is an awesome conductor as he encourages us to keep playing music and we have lots of fun.”

- Henry, JSE Cellist