The 24th Festival of Youth Orchestras

Sean Rocks with Cork Youth Orchestra and conductors, Daire Mac Mághunuis and Tomás McCarthy. Photo by John Soffe.

The 24th Festival of Youth Orchestras was celebrated on Saturday, 9 February 2019. It can only be described as one of the highlights of the year for the 500 young musicians who took to the stage of the National Concert Hall for the 24th Festival of Youth Orchestras and proved once again that this day has become such a pivotal event on the calendar of Irish youth orchestras. Eight youth orchestras from across the country performed in a thrilling two-part programme, presented by a young and dynamic musical community who delighted audiences and fellow musicians.

This year’s Festival was a showcase of the continually rising standards in youth orchestras around the country and also the diverse range of music that they create. The programme included classical works, movie soundtracks, the first ever traditional orchestra to perform the Festival (Nós Nua – Louth Youth Folk Orchestra), a suite of music written by young musicians in the orchestra (Julianstown Youth Orchestra) and a story told between orchestra and narrator (Scoil Úna Naofa Violin & Orchestra Project)! There were also modern Irish works by Dónal O’Connor and Oonagh Keogh celebrating the wonderful musical talent in Ireland.

We had a mix of musicians from all over the country. At the 3pm concert, Music Matters Orchestras from East Galway, Julianstown Youth Orchestra from County Meath, Scoil Úna Naofa Violin & Orchestra Project from Crumlin in Dublin, plus Belvedere College Symphony Orchestra from Dublin City. For the evening at 8pm, Nós Nua – Louth Youth Folk Orchestra from County Louth, Ceol na Mara Orchestra from County Limerick, Athenry Music School Camerata from County Galway and Cork Youth Orchestra from Cork City .

We wish to extend our thanks to all who were involved and volunteered in the build-up and running of the Festival. It is with this combined effort that the Festival was once again, such a huge success this year.

Congratulations to everyone who performed on the day! It was spectacular and we look forward to doing it all again next year on Saturday, 8 February 2020 for the 25th Festival of Youth Orchestras! It promises to be special!