Irish Baroque Orchestra | Making the Past our Present Series

The Irish Baroque Orchestra will deliver a series of four online talks throughout May/June, in which four members of the orchestra bring their perspectives to baroque music.

May 11 | 7pm | Peter Whelan | From Paper to Performance
The IBO’s Artistic Director Peter Whelan has a reputation for Irish heritage programming, which forms a core pillar of the IBO’s identity. But how does he weave a narrative from source material? In this talk he takes a look at JS Cousser, a Hungarian composer who studied at the Court of Versailles and came to live in Dublin for the final 20 years of his life. His ‘Commonplace Book’ (a kind of address book/diary) is housed in Yale University and provides us with a fascinating and unique insight into the Dublin Music Trade of the early 1700s, providing us with a springboard of inspiration for concert programmes and research.

May 18th | 7pm | Malachy Robinson | The Generalbassist
Being a bass player in music from the 17th and early 18th centuries is an adventure. Rather than identifying primarily as the player of a particular instrument (mainly the double-bass in Malachy’s case), you are a member of a team within the orchestra called the continuo group (Generalbass in german), all playing from the same part.

The continuo group celebrates diversity, comprising instruments that are bowed, plucked, blown, strummed and of course keyboards. In this talk, Malachy discusses the role of the continuo player and demonstrates the varied bowed bass instruments that he plays in this role: double-basses of 3 and 4 strings, and violas-da-gamba of 5 and 6 strings.

May 25th | 7pm | Marja Gaynor | Baroque Bows and Folk Fiddles
In this talk, violinist Marja Gaynor will talk about the folkier side of the 17th and 18th-century repertoire. She will introduce and play examples from collections like “The Division-Violin” (1684) and “The Hibernian Muse” (1786), chat about her approach to arranging and performing this kind of repertoire and explore similarities and differences in the playing techniques and ornamentation of Baroque and traditional music.

June 1st | 7pm | Aoife Nic Athlaoich | Baroque Behind the Scenes
In this session, cellist Aoife Nic Athlaoich will bring us into her practice room to look at different practice techniques and approaches. Through this, she examines the role of the cello in Bach’s cantatas and shows us how she will prepare for IBO’s upcoming ‘Rejoice! Music to lift the Spirit’ concert at the NCH on June 10th.

​This series is presented in partnership with the National Concert Hall, Dublin, with support of Arts Council Ireland and the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

All talks will be available to access for free via the NCH YouTube and Facebook channels.

For further information, please see