A Summer of Music

This summer has seen a new level of activity for youth orchestras and young players with no less than six national-level ensembles rehearsing and performing throughout the summer months in addition to many other orchestral, chamber music and other music courses running around the country. IAYO’s two new ensembles got off to a great start: both the Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra (IYBO) and the Irish Youth Brass Ensemble (IYBE) had their first editions hosted by the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. IYBO is a collaboration between IAYO and the Irish Baroque Orchestra and saw fourteen advanced students on strings, flute and continuo rehearse for a week under IBO Leader, Claire Duff, along with tutors and mentors from the IBO and a flute workshop with Lisa Beznosiuk. The subsequent concert, Pitched Battles and the Yearning for Peace, was a very inspiring display of the work of the week. You can view a short video on the first edition on the web at iybo.ie and we will shortly be announcing the dates for next year. Our new brass ensemble, aimed firstly at band players, but also orchestral, had a great first edition under Artistic Director, Brendan Breslin, with a concert at the lovely Pepper Cannister church (St Stephen’s) in central Dublin. We’re planning for next year already and hope to develop a partnership that sees the ensemble rehearse both in the Republic and Northern Ireland in future years with two courses a year. The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland toured the Wild Atlantic Way this summer under young Venezuelan conductor, Ilyich Rivas, and with ex-leader of the NYOI, Patrick Rafter, as violin soloist, performing in Sligo, Galway and Kerry on the way. August saw two ensembles aimed at college-level and pre-professional orchestras: Sinfonua from the National Concert Hall education programme, directed by David Brophy, and the player-led and organised Esker Festival Orchestra. July saw the first tour of the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble in ten years as they travelled to the Mid-Europe Festival in preparing three sets of repertoire for the varied performances during the festival (you can watch their tour video at iywe.ie). As always, the Ulster Youth Orchestra put on a great course and concerts, this year performing the ever-popular Symphonie Fantastique and Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. Finally, on the orchestral front (we hope we’re not missing anything) was the debut from the Sym-Phonic Waves regional orchestra for the west of Ireland – Sinead Hayes, the orchestras conductor, tells the story inside. Add to all those the courses at ConCorda, Ceol na Mara, Summer Music on the Shannon, Dublin Youth Orchestras Chamber Music Courses, OURchestra, and others and we can just see that there is more activity than ever going on for young players and much excellent playing being done. Long may it last!

Allin Gray, Director, IAYO.

Irish Youth Brass Ensemble at the Pepper Cannister Church (St Stephen’s Green). Photo: Stedman Photography.