Irish Youth Wind Ensemble

In association with IAYO

The Irish Youth Wind Ensemble was formed in 1985 by James Cavanagh and Colonel Fred O’ Callaghan. It is one of the lasting legacies of European Music Year 1985 when the Ensemble was one of many artistic initiatives through Ireland. That the IYWE has survived and flourished for over two decades is due to the enthusiasm and vision of its founders, the talent and enthusiasm of its members and the efforts and commitment volunteered by numerous supporters. To date, some 800 young wind, brass and percussion players have participated in the Ensemble and have benefited greatly by the experience.

The group meets once every year for a week-long residential course. The course commences with sectional rehearsals which are tutored by some of Ireland‘s finest professional wind, brass and percussion players. The Ensemble then move into intensive rehearsal which is always followed by a series of concerts in Ireland. These concerts are normally recorded for and broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM radio. The IYWE have also toured abroad on numerous occasions.

The ethos of the IYWE is to offer young wind, brass and percussion players an opportunity to study, perform and experience music specifically composed for the wind ensemble medium and to present music which otherwise would not be heard by Irish audiences. As a result, the vast majority of pieces in each programme have been either a world premiere or an Irish premiere.

The IYWE have commissioned works by Philip Martin, John Buckley, Fergus Johnston, Jennifer Walshe and in 2007, a new work by John Kinsella. The group have also recorded a highly praised and well-received CD of Music entitled: Where The Wind Blows (after the work by John Buckley for Wind Ensemble of the same name).

The policy of the Ensemble is always to utilise two conductors. James Cavanagh and Fred O’ Callaghan shared the podium until 1995. James Cavanagh was appointed Musical Director in 1995 and Ronan O’Reilly took over as Musical Director in 2008. Guest conductors who have worked with the group include: Tim Reynish, John Wallace, John O Connor, Fergus O Carroll, William Halpin, Mark Armstrong and Wayne Jeffers.

In the past, the IYWE have had the pleasure of working with Evelynn Glennie, Finghin Collins, Philip Martin and other distinguished soloists from Ireland and abroad.

For the latest details, visit the IYWE web site at