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The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra

On 3 March 2014 Her Majesty The Queen graciously approved the title of ‘The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra’ for the new Army String Orchestra in recognition of the Corps of Army Music’s Colonel in Chief, The Countess of Wessex GCVO.  

The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra (CWSO) was created on 1 April 2014 as part of recent changes within the Corps of Army Music.  There has been a long tradition of string playing in the British Army, particularly associated with the orchestra of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, in existence for over 250 years, and proud to have been the first professional orchestra in Britain.  The CWSO can however trace its heritage back to ‘The King’s Musick’ of strings from the time of the Restoration in England which was eventually to form the basis of Queen Victoria’s private band in the nineteenth century.


The CWSO performs a variety of music, ranging from classical to pop, in various settings both in the United Kingdom and abroad, most recently in Jordan and Algeria.  As well as playing core string orchestra repertoire and salon music, the CWSO utilises the very latest technology performing on electric string instruments and reading from digital scores.  Engagements are varied and include:


·               Investitures

·               Ceremonies at Royal Households

·               State Banquets & Dinners

·               Support to army regiments and corps

·               Defence engagement activity

·               International Short Term Training Teams


The CWSO is based at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich and is proud to be named after the Corps of Army Music’s Colonel-in-Chief.

Contact the orchestra

The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra
RA Barracks
SE18 4BB

Telephone: 020 8781 3219

Email: BandCWSO-DoM@mod.uk

Contact us about joining

Corps of Army Music
Corps Engagement Team
Kneller Hall

Email: CAMUSHQ-CET-0Mailbox@mod.gov.uk

Telephone: 0208 744 8681