18th Festival of Youth Orchestras

18th Festival of Youth Orchestras by Jonathan Pearson: As is the case every year, the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras took over the National Concert Hall to showcase the talent in youth orchestral music in Ireland. The IAYO Festival, now in its 18th year, saw performances by WIT Budding Bows Chamber Orchestra, Mayo Youth Orchestra, Julianstown Youth Orchestra, and Roscommon County Youth Orchestra in the afternoon with evening performances by a collaborative ensemble consisting of members of Carlow Youth Orchestra, Laois School of Music Senior Ensemble and Lír Orchestra, the County Cork School of Music VEC Youth Orchestra, another collaboration, this time international, by Young Dublin Symphonia, Vestfold Ungdomsstrykeorkester from Norway and Midtjyllands Unge Strygere from Denmark, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra closed the evening.

It was the first time in the Festival’s history that orchestras from outside the island of Ireland took part, and the success of the international collaboration bodes well for future partnerships. It is fair to say that the audiences of both concerts were treated to a fine display of young orchestral repertoire, where classical pieces by composers such as Vivaldi went hand-in-hand with arrangements of popular tracks by artists such as Lady Gaga, Elbow and The Beatles. It was very encouraging to see that all of our returning orchestras had improved considerably, and most encouraging of all was the two collaborative successes on the night. It is not easy to organise collaborations with orchestras, as the number of players are large and the repertoire can be complex, and so this makes the fantastic performances of the Carlow-Laois-Lír collaboration and the Young Dublin Symphonia and friends collaboration all the more impressive. It is great to see that there is so much going on regarding youth orchestras in Ireland, and this festival was a reminder that the standard of playing within these orchestras is increasing year by year. I’m sure we are all looking forward to seeing what next year brings to the National Concert Hall.

Jonathan Pearson, Marketing & Comms Officer