Ongar Music Club

A brief history ...

Ongar Music Club was founded in 1975 in the small market town of Ongar in Essex by a group of local music-enthusiasts. They presented numerous concerts, and in 1984 founded the prestigious Essex Young Musician of the Year competition, under the generous patronage of John Lill CBE. A great many past prize winners have gone on to enjoy successful professional careers.

 In addition to presenting this renowned competition, the club continued to present concerts, and in 2019 launched a series of lunchtime concerts called Soundbites! With the restrictions of the Covid Pandemic the club adapted their programme schedule, and moved their concerts online. LIVE LOUNGE was created, a season of concerts exclusively on YouTube, not only for members and friends of Ongar Music Club, but also as a Community outreach programme for Care Homes in the UK, bringing music into the homes of all those who are isolated due to Covid restrictions.

Many famous artists have performed in concert and given musical talks for the Club over the years. These include Yehudi Menuhin, John Lill, Dame Eva Turner, Sir Peter Pears, Stephen Kovacevich, Denis Matthews, Steven Isserlis, Richard Baker, Fritz Spiegl, Benjamin Grosvenor and The Fairer Sax. The Club was also instrumental in the formation of Ongar Jazz Club. It is this diversity of activity which has ensured the Club’s ongoing success.

On this website you will find details of Soundbites! and LIVE LOUNGE, as well as details of the prestigious Essex Young Musician of the Year Competition. You can download a prospectus and application form on the relevant page.

Membership of Ongar Music Club costs £20. Student membership is just £10. For more information, please contact

You can download a Membership Form here.