Youth Orchestra Ovation Awards

Youth Orchestra Ovation Awards

The Irish Association of Youth Orchestra presents the Youth Orchestra Ovation Awards, an event and process that celebrates and spreads best practice and innovation in the youth orchestra community in Ireland.

Each year, in October, IAYO will hold an awards ceremony in which two awards will be presented in addition to commendations and the presentation of the work of all applications. (The two awards are initially valued at €2,000 each but it is intended to increase the cash / benefit-in-kind value in future years.)

The awards ceremony will see a gathering of young people from orchestras around Ireland with workshops, presentations of their work and the awards ceremony itself. It will form a second peak in national visibility for the youth orchestra community in the year, complementing and enhancing the promotional work of the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras which takes place in February.

The closing date for applications for the Youth Orchestra Ovation Awards 2021 is Friday, 16 July 2021.

You can download the full information: Application Details (pdf).

2021 Awards

We are delighted to announce that the Youth Orchestra Ovation Awards will be presented on Saturday, October 16 this year.

We are further delighted to announce that the first edition of the awards will be presented by Eimear Noone who came to prominence last year as the first female conductor to conduct at the Oscars. Eimear’s composing and conducting work includes twenty-six film and video game titles including notable Blizzard Entertainment titles Overwatch, Hearthstone, Diablo III, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, World of Warcraft and The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD. We are delighted to have someone who is so well connected to both orchestral music and to contemporary multimedia culture associated with the awards.

We hope to have the awards ceremony in the beautiful Banquet Hall at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin with real people present and to have a mixture of live and pre-recorded music and activities from the applicant orchestras and other young performers.

Awards Benefits

There will be two “winning” awards where awardees will receive:

  • An Awards Certificate in the form of a framed A3 poster;
  • A €2,000 cash prize towards their orchestra;
  • Inclusion in a national and regional PR campaign run by IAYO’s press company, Kearney Melia Barker Communications;
  • Letters announcing the award and commending the work of the orchestras to local representatives, arts office and ETBs as appropriate from the Chairperson of IAYO.
  • Promotion to the youth orchestra network through IAYO’s paper and electronic newsletters, website and social media channels.

We will also allow for an unrestricted number of commendations from applicants that will benefit from inclusion in regional press releases, letters to representatives, arts offices and ETBs and promotion through IAYO’s news and social channels.

All applicants will have their activities promoted through IAYO’s news and media channels as long as suitable materials have been supplied.

Previous Winners

Over the years we have seen many fantastic orchestra projects and initiatives. We have selected just a few examples below, to give you an idea, but there are many more! 

Musica Fusion Youth Orchestra won the award for their ‘Operation Integration’ which led to 80 young musicians aged between 4 and 18 performing in their orchestra together. Special arrangements which contained multiple lines of music for each instrument made the pieces accessible to the wide range of ages performing.

Young European Strings won for the extremely high standard of technical and musical accomplishment of their CD, Third Edition.

Julianstown Youth Orchestra received the award for their Gesamtkunstwerk, a two-year collaborative project undertaken by the orchestra under the musical direction of its founder and director Fergus Sheil. Ten JYO players composed pieces of music and other JYO players came up with fantastic performance concepts. The compositions were then recorded in Windmill Lane Studios.

St Canice’s NS Kilkenny won the award for their concert which celebrated their 30 years of existence. From its humble beginnings in the early 1980s, initiated by Gina O’Leary & Agnes O’Kane, the programme expanded with the acquisition of more instruments, more music teachers and more enthusiastic students! The music programme granted all children the opportunity to play a musical instrument.

Athenry Youth Orchestra received the award for their orchestra development and outreach programmes in schools in Athenry and the surrounding areas. The programmes take place during school hours in the schools and provide children with free access to instruments that can often be expensive or more unusual.

St Agnes Chamber Orchestra were worthy awardees for their valiant and varied fundraising efforts to support their young musicians to participate in an exchange with an orchestra from Madrid. They even received an invite to the residence of the Irish Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, in June 2018 – a great honour for visitors from Dublin, and deeply appreciated in Crumlin.

The East Meets West Orchestra received the award for the collaboration of Kilbride and Lakeside Band from West Wicklow and the Headford Youth Orchestra from County Galway and their concert. The goal of the combined orchestra was to expand the playing experience of both groups, led by their musical directors.

You can read our full current plan for the Awards here including how we intend the awards to benefit our mission, our members and the young people who make up our youth orchestras.