IMO Youth Orchestra & Choir

Applications are now open for young musicians wishing to audition for the 2021/22 IMO Youth Orchestra & Choir

Following the first round of auditions some places remain in the programme for talented musicians aged 10 – 24.

This new cross-genre youth orchestra and choir is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland’s Young Ensemble Scheme and will meet for rehearsals in Galway City from 12th-15th April 2022, for a concert at the Black Box Theatre on 16th April.

Together they will work towards a performance of Dave Flynn’s groundbreaking work, The Vision Symphony. The performance will be conducted by Bjorn Bantock and will also include the world premiere of a new collaborative work composed by young blind/visually-impaired composers.

Play an RTÉ news clip about the world premiere of The Vision Symphony in 2019

The young musicians will be mentored by Flynn, Bantock and a selection of internationally acclaimed professional IMO members including orchestra leader Niamh Varian-Barry, flute player Aisling Agnew, percussionist Aidan Dunphy, cellist Maria O’Connor, fiddler Tara Connaghan and Ensemble Eriu members Neil O’Loclainn (bass) and Matthew Berrill (clarinet/sax). The choir will be directed by renowned choir conductor Frank Kelly.

All of the musicians involved in the programme will perform from memory. Without the need for sheet music, the notion of disability recedes and enables each member of the orchestra to contribute equally. The most outstanding applicants will be selected as Youth Orchestra section leaders, and will work alongside professional members of the Irish Memory Orchestra to mentor their section. For all of the young participants, the experience of working with acclaimed musicians from diverse musical backgrounds promises to be an unforgettable creative and social experience.

Play a short documentary about the world premiere of The Vision Symphony in 2019

Who can apply?

Young musicians aged 10-24 who live in Ireland or are Irish citizens, and meet the following criteria, are invited to apply:

  • Instrumentalists performing in a range of genres (trad, jazz, world, classical etc).
  • Singers performing in any style
  • Musicians who have a high level of ability in traditional Irish music, classical music and/or jazz will be prioritised.
  • Musicians who have reached an intermediate level of proficiency at a minimum, with the passion and commitment to perform a challenging programme by memory

Places remain in the choir for vocalists of all styles and in the following instrumental sections

Bowed Strings (violin/fiddle, viola, cello, double bass)
Oboe, Clarinet, French Horn, Bassoon
Uilleann Pipes
Harp (Irish and Classical)
Sax, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba

There are no places available for flute, tin whistle, concertina, accordion, banjo, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki or keyboards, so please do not audition with those instruments.

Additional requirements

  • Musicians must be available to attend rehearsals and concert in Galway from 12th-16th April 2022
  • It is not necessary to be able to read music to participate. Musicians who can and can not read music are catered for.
  • Fortnightly online mentoring will occur from January 2022, with an introductory social in November 2021. It is not mandatory to attend online mentoring, but strongly encouraged.


Thursday 26th August 2021: Applications Opened

November 2021 – April 2022: Online mentoring

Tuesday 12th – Friday 15th April 2022: Rehearsal period in Galway City

Saturday 16th April 2022: Final rehearsal and public performance in Galway City


  • There are no tuition fees in 2021/22
  • Participants must organise and pay for their own travel and accommodation, and supervision is not provided for younger participants outside of the rehearsal hours.
  • A recommended accommodation option with group booking rates is available, if required.
  • There are several travel and accommodation scholarships for blind and vision-impaired musicians/singers.
  • An audition fee of €12 will apply per applicant.

Audition now

To audition, please complete the online form at the link below and send us video auditions of yourself performing 2 contrasting pieces/songs on each instrument you wish to audition for.

Remaining places will be filled on a first-come basis, so it is advised to audition as soon as possible because limited places remain.

The final application deadline is Wednesday 17th November 2021 – 10pm

Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland’s Young Ensemble Scheme

Arts Council of Ireland logo