National Chamber Music Workshops

The annual IAYO Chamber Music Workshops moved west this year after two years in County Laois to be hosted by Galway Youth Orchestras at St Mary’s College in Galway City. Fifty-six young players took part in a course that was held in association with the Galway Ensemble-in-residence, the ConTempo Quartet.

The imposing looking building that is St Mary’s immediately becomes Hogwarts to all those that go and stay there although thankfully there were no headless ghosts or fire-throwing wizards in evidence on the weekend at the beginning of October. The college proved to be an ideal venue in many ways, having lots of rooms for playing chamber music alongside plenty of accommodation to host the young people staying over. It is presently home to Galway Youth Orchestras, Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe, The Galway Music Residency and Music for Galway so it is no stranger to music taking part within its walls.

This was course Director, Carol Daly’s final year with the course, having first directed the IAYO Chamber Music in Wexford in 2007 and subsequently in Cork, Kilkenny, Laois and finally this year in Galway. We had a final showing also from the Marble City Strings Quartet from Kilkenny who have been with us for five years and are now, we are told, ‘moving on to ConCorda’.

On the first day of the course, the ConTempo worked with four of the older groups including, for the first time, a chamber group with piano (thanks to the generosity of Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe in sharing their instruments). On the second day, these four groups combined to form a chamber orchestra under the direction of Adrian Petcu. The traditional performance to finish the weekend showed how much the standard of playing on the course has grown over the years, especially as it is aimed at very young players with little or no experience of playing chamber music. We are delighted to announce that the Chamber Music Workshops will go ahead again next year in association with the Galway Ensemble-in-residence and that the ConTempo Quartet will be working with the young players for the full weekend. Applications will open on in the new year.

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