Archives: IMO

THE IMO

​”Composer Dave Flynn has assembled a formidable collective of musicians, composing critically acclaimed music especially for them…..they are steadily garnering a reputation for melding traditional and classical music with a twist” The Irish Times

“I’ve never seen musicians work so brilliantly together and with such intensity. If you ever get a chance to see them together pay any price you can afford!” Fergus Finlay, Irish Examiner

AT THE 2018 CORK FOLK FEST WITH CONDUCTOR BJORN BANTOCK Photo: John O'Neill
AT THE 2018 CORK FOLK FEST WITH CONDUCTOR BJORN BANTOCK Photo: John O’Neill

The only ensemble of its kind in the world, the IMO has wowed audiences from London to Moscow, Clare to Korea with its ground-breaking and inclusive approach to orchestral music. Since founding in 2012 the IMO has broken down barriers by removing sheet music from the stage, thus opening access to musicians and instruments not usually found in orchestral music. The IMO’s 100% commitment to memorised performances sets them apart from every orchestra in the Western world. The IMO has a core of 20 world-class musicians, led by founder/composer Dave Flynn, conductor Bjorn Bantock and violinist Niamh Varian-Barry.

Photo of THE STRING SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O'Neill
THE STRING SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O’Neill
Photo of THE WIND & REED SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O'Neill
THE WIND & REED SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O’Neill
Photo of THE HORN & PERCUSSION SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O'Neill
THE HORN & PERCUSSION SECTIONS OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O’Neill
AT THE 2015 SORI INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL, SOUTH KOREA WITH CONDUCTOR SINEAD HAYES AND SOLOIST CIARA NI BHRIAIN

Vision Symphony

2017-2019 Vision Symphony outreach programme – working with blind and vision-impaired musicians
“Flynn’s craft in combining traditional and contemporary music elements is always something to appreciate, but here he achieved more; he has broken down boundaries for people with sight loss” – The Journal of Music

“This project has huge implications in regards to its capacity to create opportunities for accomplished musicians with visual impairments to perform and work with a professional orchestra” – Clare Arts Office on The Vision Symphony

Between 2017-2019 we developed this project with 3L Online Music to enable musicians with sight-loss to perform orchestral music. The premiere of ‘The Vision Symphony’, performed by dozens of vision-impaired musicians with the Irish Memory Orchestra, occurred on 26th October 2019 in glór, Ennis.

​The Vision Symphony Project was funded by Clare Arts Office through an Invitation to Collaboration Grant from the Arts Council of Ireland and additional funds from Creative Ireland. ​In kind supporters included the National Council for the Blind and glór. View the videos below to learn more.

Read a review of the premiere at the Journal of Music here

Outreach
Apprentice Schemes

  • Community: Our Apprenticeship Schemes are orchestral and choral training programmes which engage communities in ways that truly make a difference.
  • Inclusive: Our schemes are inclusive to musicians trained in classical, traditional, jazz and/or popular music styles, whether or not they can read sheet music.
  • Access: Our schemes also give opportunities to talented musicians who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to orchestral performances either due to disability, age, financial circumstances or the simple fact that the instrument they play isn’t usually used in orchestral training programmes.
  • Legacy: Since 2013 we have trained over 200 talented musicians aged 10 – 90 in our unique performance methods.
  • Advancement: Our schemes provide excellent professional development opportunities. Several apprentices have graduated to perform professionally with us and other ensembles.
  • Membership: Three of our core professional members started with us as apprentices – Matthew Berrill, Alex Borwick and Róisín Donohoe. Several of our deputy members were also apprentices.
  • Mentorship: Apprentices have rehearsed and performed with some of Ireland’s finest musicians under the guidance of scheme leaders Dr. Dave Flynn and Bjorn Bantock.
  • Professional: Apprentices have performed in professionally produced world premieres of large orchestral works in major venues including Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin and glór, sharing the stage with leading soloists including Máirtín O’Connor and Martin Hayes.
  • International Reach: Musicians have travelled from the USA, Canada, Japan, Italy, UK and all over Ireland to take part in our Apprentice Schemes. Our 2021 scheme is limited to Irish citizens and residents due to funding conditions and Covid-19, however we hope to be able to accept international participants again.

Bill Whelan Scholarships

At our last Apprentice Scheme six talented apprentices were awarded scholarships thanks to the generous support of composer Bill Whelan. The winners are pictured below.

Outreach

  • Community: Our Apprenticeship Schemes are orchestral and choral training programmes which engage communities in ways that truly make a difference.
  • Inclusive: Our schemes are inclusive to musicians trained in classical, traditional, jazz and/or popular music styles, whether or not they can read sheet music.
  • Access: Our schemes also give opportunities to talented musicians who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to orchestral performances either due to disability, age, financial circumstances or the simple fact that the instrument they play isn’t usually used in orchestral training programmes.
  • Legacy: Since 2013 we have trained over 200 talented musicians aged 10 – 90 in our unique performance methods.
  • Advancement: Our schemes provide excellent professional development opportunities. Several apprentices have graduated to perform professionally with us and other ensembles.
  • Membership: Three of our core professional members started with us as apprentices – Matthew Berrill, Alex Borwick and Róisín Donohoe. Several of our deputy members were also apprentices.
  • Mentorship: Apprentices have rehearsed and performed with some of Ireland’s finest musicians under the guidance of scheme leaders Dr. Dave Flynn and Bjorn Bantock.
  • Professional: Apprentices have performed in professionally produced world premieres of large orchestral works in major venues including Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin and glór, sharing the stage with leading soloists including Máirtín O’Connor and Martin Hayes.
  • International Reach: Musicians have travelled from the USA, Canada, Japan, Italy, UK and all over Ireland to take part in our Apprentice Schemes. Our 2021 scheme is limited to Irish citizens and residents due to funding conditions and Covid-19, however we hope to be able to accept international participants again.

Bill Whelan Scholarships

At our last Apprentice Scheme six talented apprentices were awarded scholarships thanks to the generous support of composer Bill Whelan. The winners are pictured below.

About

The only ensemble of its kind in the world, the IMO has wowed audiences from London to Moscow, Clare to Korea with its ground-breaking and inclusive approach to orchestral music. Since founding in 2012 the IMO has broken down barriers by removing sheet music from the stage, thus opening access to musicians and instruments not usually found in orchestral music.

The IMO’s 100% commitment to memorised performances sets them apart from every orchestra in the Western world. The IMO has a core of 20 world-class musicians, led by founder/composer Dave Flynn, conductor Bjorn Bantock and violinist Niamh Varian-Barry.

What the critics say…

​’Composer Dave Flynn has assembled a formidable collective of musicians, composing critically acclaimed music especially for them. . they are steadily garnering a reputation for melding traditional and classical music with a twist’

The Irish Times

“I’ve never seen musicians work so brilliantly together and with such intensity. If you ever get a chance to see them together pay any price you can afford!”

Fergus Finlay, Irish Examiner

Support

​Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra relies on its supporters to maintain its ground-breaking work. Your help enables us to continue our work in the arts and the community.

Whether you give as an individual, through a corporation, in-kind or volunteer, your support is vital to the continued success of the Irish Memory Orchestra, and is greatly appreciated.

In return you can receive exclusive benefits and get closer to the Irish Memory Orchestra.

Please explore the links above to find out more about our support schemes that benefit you AND us.

​You may also make a straight-forward donation below.

Or join our patronage programme on Patreon

​Irish Memory Orchestra Limited is a non-profit Private Company Limited by Shares. Company Number 656735.

DAVE FLYNN’S IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA AT CORK FOLK FESTIVAL 2018 Photo:John O’Neill

 

2019 SUPPORTERS

VISION SYMPHONY PARTNERS

The Arts Council of Ireland
National Council for the Blind
Clare Arts Office
​Creative Ireland
3L Online Music

ACCOUNTING PARTNERS

Optimum Office

EVENT PARTNERS

glór, Ennis

IN KIND SUPPORTERS

​Abbey Capital

VOLUNTEERS

Many thanks to our volunteers, without whom none of our work would be possible.
Special thanks to our steering committee: Jackie Walshe, Aodhagán Hurley, Celia Walshe and Elizabeth Walshe.

Photo of ESB concert in the cavern
‘THE ESB CONCERT IN THE CAVERN’ DAVE FLYNN’S IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA PLAY IN TURLOUGH HILL. Photo:John O’Neill

INDIVIDUAL GIVING

You can donate to Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra.  Your funds will go directly towards supporting our work.

Click below to donate

For more information on other ways you can support us please email  – ​director@irishmemoryorchestra.com

CORPORATE PARTNESHIPS

Since founding in 2012 we have developed award-winning corporate partnerships with organisations including ESB, Clare County Council, RTÉ, Aer Lingus & the J.P. McManus Charitable Foundation. We won an Allianz Business to Arts Award with ESB/Electric Ireland in 2015 and were nominated with Clare County Council in 2014.

​For more information about how we support and benefit each other please email  – ​director@irishmemoryorchestra.com

PLANNED GIVING

Consider including Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra as a beneficiary in your estate planning. It is with the generous support of individuals that we are able to undertake our ambitious, award-winning programmes.

You can be certain that a legacy gift will play a vital role in supporting the orchestra, Irish music and the next generation of Irish musicians for decades to come.

We understand how personal and important estate planning is, so we are always available to discuss the many options we can provide to ensure your legacy is honoured through our Planned Giving programme.

For more information about how you can support us please email  – director@irishmemoryorchestra.com​

IN-KIND GIVING

We really appreciate the in-kind support we receive. Tax-deductible contributions of supplies, equipment, and other in-kind gifts are a great way to be involved with the orchestra.
Examples of in-kind gifts include;

  • Musical instruments (Professional standard)
  • Technical equipment including PA, Microphones, Recording Equipment etc.
  • Rehearsal space
  • Office equipment and supplies
  • Design, printing, marketing, videography, photography etc.

​For more information about how you can support us please email  – ​director@irishmemoryorchestra.com​

Corporate Partnerships

​Since founding in 2012 we have developed award-winning corporate partnerships with organisations including ESB, Clare County Council, RTÉ, Aer Lingus & the J.P. McManus Charitable Foundation. We won an Allianz Business to Arts Award with ESB/Electric Ireland in 2015 and were nominated with Clare County Council in 2014.

​For more information about how we support and benefit each other please email ​director@irishmemoryorchestra.com

Contact

BOOKINGS AND ARTISTIC QUERIES
Dr. Dave Flynn – Artistic Director
director@irishmemoryorchestra.com

OUTREACH AND EDUCATION QUERIES
Avril Crotty – Outreach Development Officer
outreach@irishmemoryorchestra.com

APPRENTICE SCHEME/YOUTH ORCHESTRA PARTICIPANT QUERIES
Uta Bean Ui Almhain – Apprentice Liaison Officer
apprentices@irishmemoryorchestra.com

OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER (FOR PHOTO REQUESTS)
​​JOHN O’NEILL
mrphoto@eircom.net

IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA LIMITED
STREAMSTOWN
CLIFDEN
GALWAY
​H71 X797
IRELAND

Achievements to Date

2004

Dave Flynn is the first Irish composer to receive a Masters in Composition from The Guildhall School of Music, London

2004

Dave Flynn is the first Irish composer to win The Composers Award at The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

2010

Dave Flynn is awarded the first ever Composition PhD from Dublin Institute of Technology

2010

Dave Flynn’s Fiddle Concerto ‘Aontacht’ premieres in The National Concert Hall with RTE Concert Orchestra

2012

Dave Flynn founds The Irish Memory Orchestra – 1st orchestra in the Western world to always perform without sheet-music

2013

‘Clare Concerto ‘Premiered with 70 piece Irish Memeory Orchestra In Glor

2014

Irish Memory Orchestra & RTÉ Concert Orchestra sell out National Concert Hall performing Flynn’s music ​

2014

Irish Memory Orchestra plays in Moscow Catholic Cathedral to 1100 strong crowd ​at Christmas Festival

2015

Irish Memory Orchestra headline South Korean Sori International Festival, Asia’s largest folk festival

2015

IMO wins Allianz Business to Arts Award with ESB

2016

Dave Flynn’wins Eamon Ceannt Memorial Commission Competition to compose a work for 1916 centenary

2016

Irish Memory Orchestra headlines Fleadh TV in front of a large worldwide audience

2017

World Premiere of Dave Flynn’s ‘Memory Symphony’ in Christchurch Cathedral

2018

​Headline appearances at London’s Cadogan Hall and Cork Folk Festival,

2019

​World Premiere of Dave Flynn’s ‘Vision Symphony’ with blind/vision-impaired musicians in glór

What Our Audiences Say

Another unbelievable performance. Would walk on hot coals to hear them again! BERNIE

Thank you for such a beautiful concert at the Catholic Church in Moscow! Wish you success all the time! ANDREW

their performance was so astounding! Wish you all the best of luck in spreading the joy! JUDITH

​Congrats to all concerned for that fantastic, amazing concert last night. Have been to many concerts in many places but that beat all! MARGARET 


Just wanted to say thanks for a truly unique musical experience …. So glad I got those last minute tickets! JASON

what a fantastic treat for the senses. Please please can we have another performance anywhere – MARY

I couldn’t stop smiling the whole way through, I now notice I wasn’t the only one! Privileged to have been part of the scheme, (along with my daughter Síofra last year) and made some new friends in the process too… BRIDGE

absolutely blown away by the whole concept of the IMO .. Brilliant and wonderful to hear and see such talented Irish musicians collaborating together on stage. Congrats ANNE

An absolute triumph! Next stop Carnegie Hall! MARY

Absolutely sublime and uplifting. Don’t miss them if you can. ALBERT

I have no words for how good this is! KRISTIAN

A River Dance moment for trad inspired Music. Brilliant! COLM

I was there and will never forget it. SPLORTZ

heard the London debut t’other night. very interesting music. KELAMUNI

Fíor concerto, níla leithéid aon áit eile ar domhan, b’fhêidir ar neamh! EILEEN

Alex Petcu

Contemporary flautist Brendan Rowan grew up in Co. Meath and first developed his passion for traditional flute while studying with one of the masters of Irish traditional music, Catherine McEvoy. Awarded at both provincial and all-Ireland level, his unique style and flare for Irish Music has established and grounded his playing firmly on a national level.

Brendan also studied the classical flute under the renowned William Dowdall, as a scholarship recipient to the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He is seated as a principal member and is a scholarship recipient of the UCD Symphony Orchestra and has been placed at national competitions on numerous ocassions. Recently, he was publicly announced as deputy flute/whistle player in the Irish Memory Orchestra, where Rowan’s taste for contemporary flute playing was first noted during their 2014 Apprentice Scheme .

Performances in the UK, Sweden, Belgium, and North America, as a soloist and chamber musician, have further developed his international career. At home, Brendan inspires young traditional flute players as a private and group tutor with Ceoltóirí Chluain Tarbh. Brendan is currently a fourth year medical student at University College Dublin, and spent the summer of 2017 completing a research project in cancer biology at Harvard University.

Aidan Dunphy

Aidan Dunphy studied drums and percussion at Trinity College of Music in London. Whilst in London he played Jazz and Classical music (English National Ballet, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra) and appeared at both the ‘100 Club’ and Ronnie Scott’s legendary jazz club. Since moving back to Ireland he has worked as a freelance drummer, playing with a number of bands and singer-songwriters, including Paul Casey, Maeve Dunphy, Siobhan Pettit and Declan O’Rourke, with whom he toured and recorded on the multi-platinum selling album ‘Since Kyabram’ (2006). He has also accompanied visiting Jazz stars Digby Fairweather, Lee Koenitz and Scott Hamilton.

Aidan lives in his native Omagh where he teaches and maintained a residency in McCann’s bar as drummer in the band of legendary Irish guitarist Arty McGlynn.

As principal percussionist of the Irish Memory Orchestra Aidan has performed with some of the leading Irish traditional musicians including Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Mairtín O’Connor, Liz Carroll, Mary Bergin and Johnny Óg Connolly.

Billy Mag Fhloinn

Billy Mag Fhloinn is a native of Limerick, Ireland. He holds a PhD in Irish Folklore, and a B.A. in archaeology, from University College Dublin. As well as lecturing and tutoring at university, he occasionally works in television and media, and makes and plays replicas of prehistoric musical instruments from Ireland. He also plays traditional music on the bouzouki, and is a tutor with the Online Academy of Irish Music.

Billy is one of the few living people who play and make the Bronze Age Irish Horns that were revived by Simon O’Dwyer in the 1980’s. A member of Ireland’s Bronze Age recreation society ‘Umha Aois’, Billy built his own replica of an Iron Age-style trumpet and can be heard playing it in the clip posted here. This is an experiment with four tracks, as the surviving Iron Age trumpet of Loughnashade was one of four identical instruments recovered from the lake near the mythic and archaeological site of Emhain Macha. Evidently, this type of instrument was meant to be played in concert with each other.

tradition.ie

Alex Borwick

Alex is a multi-instrumentalist, currently based in Dublin, Ireland. Growing up in New Zealand, he spent his early years studying jazz trombone, receiving multiple awards at national jazz competitions, and performing with New Zealand’s premier big band, the Roger Fox Big Band. After studying at the New Zealand School of Music, Alex discovered Irish traditional music and picked up the banjo.

Since relocating to Ireland, Alex has dug out his niche in the local music community, performing regularly with groups such as indie-folk group The Young Folk, contemporary Irish ensemble The Irish Memory Orchestra, urban/trad group Aldoc, and Jamaican ska band Interskalactic. He has opened for Imelda May and South African legend Hugh Masekela, and shared the stage with musicians such as Lisa Hannigan, Martin Hayes, Villagers and Jape. Alex has toured internationally throughout Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Alex also works as a recording engineer and producer, and is the house engineer at Grouse Lodge Recording Studio in Westmeath. When not working at Grouse Lodge he works as a freelance engineer/producer in Dublin..

Alex was invited to become Principal Trombonist of the Memory Orchestra after successfully completing the 2013 Apprenticeship Scheme.

Neil Yates

Multi-instrumentalist composer, arranger and educator Neil Yates studied music at Salford University and Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He stepped out into the professional music business in 1991, as a London-based jazz trumpeter working most notably for the BBC Big Band and Johnny Dankworth Orchestra. He moved on to higher profile session musician work in 1994, performing and recording with The Brand New Heavies, Supergrass, Black Grape, Lighthouse Family, Alison Moyet, Will Young, Raw Stylus, Suggs, Matt Bianco and Robbie Williams.

To address his own creative urges in 1999 Neil moved out of London and travelled the festivals of UK and Ireland for a year in a caravan, eventually settling in a North Wales beauty spot to write and record his award winning first solo jazz album “New Origins” and his new album “Five Countries”, released on Edition Records November 2011. He also became much involved in Celtic music, performing, writing and arranging for traditional music legends Michael McGoldrick and Kate Rusby. Through this work he has developed a unique ability to perform traditional Irish music on the trumpet.

As an educator Neil lectures in music at Salford University, Leeds College of Music, and previously taught at Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He has also receives large scale commissions as composer, including an hour long suite for brass called “Sketches of a Northern town” and two hour antiphonal suite for jazz orchestra entitled “Surroundings”, nominated for British Composers Award 2011. Recently Neil returned to some commercial session work, including performances with Elbow, Katie Meluah and Rumer. He has just completed a four year PHD in Musical Artistry and is the winner of Arts Council Wales’ Creative Wales Award 2012.

Matthew Berrill

Matthew Berrill hails from Headford, County Galway, in the West of Ireland. He grew up with a rich musical education, learning various styles of music from his parents. He graduated with a Masters Degree in Music Performance in May 2010, where he specialised in jazz saxophone, clarinet and composition, studying with John Ruocco at the Royal Conservatoire, Den Haag, The Netherlands.

He teaches in numerous music education projects throughout Galway County, is conductor of the NUIG University Orchestra and is a founder of the ‘Headford Music Works’ teaching and performing scheme in North Galway.

He is Artistic Director of the Galway Jazz Festival and a member of many music ensembles in the jazz, improvised and traditional Irish worlds including Ensemble Ériu, Cuar, and the Irish Memory Orchestra.

​Matthew was invited to become Principal Sax and Clarinet player for the Irish Memory Orchestra after successfully completing the 2013 Apprenticeship Scheme.

Jack Talty

Jack Talty is a traditional musician, composer, producer, and educator from Lissycasey in county Clare. As a performer Jack has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Australia, and Asia, and has contributed to over 50 albums to date as a musician, producer, composer, arranger, and engineer. A regular contributor to traditional music programmes on television and radio, Jack has worked with musicians such as Tommy Peoples, Finbarr Dwyer, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Frankie Gavin, Noel Hill, Tony Linnane, Sharon Shannon, Mairtín Ó Connor, Téada, Steve Cooney, Séamus Begley, Brendan Begley, Le Chéile, Bobby Gardiner, Jesse Smith, Colm Gannon, Alec Finn, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Geraldine Cotter, The RTÉ Concert Orchestra with conductor David Brophy, and Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra.

In 2011 Jack released the critically acclaimed Na Fir Bolg with fellow concertina player Cormac Begley on his own Raelach Records label, and also formed Ensemble Ériu with double bass and flute player Neil O’ Loghlen. The band’s eponymous debut album, released by Raelach Records in October 2013 was described by Jim Carroll of the Irish Times as “one of the best Irish albums of 2013”. In January 2015, Ensemble Ériu were announced as winners of the prestigious Gradam Comharcheol TG4 (musical collaboration award presented by Ireland’s national Irish language broadcaster).

jacktalty.com

Etain McCooey

Etain’s interest in traditional music began in Wexford where she learned tin whistle and worked with innovative band ‘Dorchadas’, which combined classical and traditional music and instruments performing original compositions through the Irish language.

Etain has won eight all Ireland titles including the President’s Award at Slogadh and a number of national Feis awards, winning the Tara Shield three times, and has appeared on the Late Late Show and RTE’s Puirini. Her interest in traditional and folk music further developed while living in Dublin, where she introduced the oboe to trad music sessions. Etain also works as a session musician and recording work includes Frank Cullen’s traditional music album “And All Points West” and Tony Boylan’s “Life’s the Teacher”. She was commissioned to compose music for the Hidden History TV series – “Duffy’s Cut”. Etain teaches oboe with Coole Music in Gort.

Mark Redmond

With a musical upbringing in purely traditional uilleann piping, Mark Redmond has gained vast experience in recent years as a performer who fuses with a range of various genres. He has performed as soloist on numerous occasions with the RTE Concert Orchestra; The RTE National Symphony Orchestra (including the historic state visit of Queen Elisabeth II to Ireland); Camerata Ireland (under the direction of Barry Douglas);
The Savannah Philharmonic, USA and the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, France.

Mark has also toured globally as a soloist performer in his own right as well as with renowned stage shows, namely Riverdance and Celtic Legends.

Over the years he has also joined other touring ensembles such as The Irish Memory Orchestra, The Irish Harp Orchestra and a host of provisional ensembles on behalf of Culture Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs to promote Ireland overseas and demonstrate its rich culture.

Mark was appointed Principal Uilleann Piper of the Irish Memory Orchestra in 2017 on the recommendation of his predecessor and mentor Mick O’Brien.

Aisling Agnew

Aisling was born and raised in Belfast and is now based in Glasgow. She started learning the flute at an early age with Billy Dunwoody and played in the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Aisling went on to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where she also won a scholarship to the Lake Placid Institute for Arts in New York and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her studies were generously funded by awards from the Belfast Classical Music Bursaries, BELB and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.

Aisling has a keen interest in chamber music and also working with composers. She regularly performs around the UK and Ireland and has appeared in concert across Europe, North & South America, Asia and the Middle East. Her performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio and RTE Lyric FM and include many high profile concerts such as a Wigmore Hall chamber music recital, the British Flute Society’s International Convention and the National Flute Association’s 40th International Convention in Las Vegas.

​As Concerto Soloist she has appeared with various orchestras including the Ulster Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 2006 she released her acclaimed debut album Recital with Natural Studio Records and has continued this affiliation with the release of two further chamber music recordings Histoire du Tango and Standing Stones.

www.aislingagnew.com

Niwel Tsumbu

Congolese guitarist, composer and singer Niwel Tsumbu has emerged as an engaging and innovative musician in constant demand and has gained many admirers around Ireland and Congo.

Since moving to Ireland in 2004 from the Democratic Republic Of Congo Niwel has settled with his wife and three children and has quickly become a prominent face on the Irish music scene.
He has been hailed as ”an exceptional guitar player” by Europe’s leading online Jazz magazine All AboutJazz and his music “enchanted” The Irish Times.

He has collaborated with many celebrated Irish musicians such as Sinéad O’Connor, Liam O’Maonlai, Donal Lunny, Glen Hansard, as well as international stars such as Ma Xiaohui (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack), Senegalese legend Baaba Maal, Richard Bona and Nigel Kennedy amongst others.

With influences from far and wide, his elegant and fluent guitar playing draws from his past excursions with African rhythms, rumba, jazz, classical and much more besides.

After working with the Abbey Theatre and performing with a number of Opera productions in the last 5 years, 2018 sees Niwel focusing on his own music, working with his long time collaborator Eamonn Cagneyon percussion.

His debut appearance with the Irish Memory Orchestra at London’s Cadogan Hall in 2018 was the latest in a line of collaborations Niwel has had with Dave Flynn including the supergroup DFF and a performance with the Crash Ensemble in Cork Opera House.

Anne-Marie O’Farrell

As the leading exponent of the Irish or lever harp as a recital instrument, Anne-Marie’s development and expansion of its repertoire have led to performances and recordings for TV and radio throughout Europe, the USA, Scandinavia, Japan, Russia and Africa. A prolific recording artist, she has released numerous recordings including Just So Bach, Heads & Harps, Harping Bach to Carolan, The Jig’s Up My Lagan Love and Double Strung with Cormac De Barra.

Anne-Marie is especially noted for the unique levering techniques which she continues to develop on the harp, as a result of which she was consultant to Salvi harpmakers on the design of their Irish harp, the Livia. She is regularly invited to give lecture recitals, workshops and masterclasses at international festivals in addition to acting as jury member for international harp competitions.

​She has performed and recorded at home and around the world with among others Aylish Kerrigan, Moya Brennan, Ellen Cranitch, the Chieftains, Sharon Shannon, Anúna and Cormac De Barra.

www.annemarieofarrell.com

Neil Ó Loclainn

Neil Ó Loclainn is a musician and composer from Ballyvaughan, Clare. His work is dedicated to exploring the contemporary and the universal in the local. He has been described as “a musical seeker” (The Irish Times) and his work as “redefining the possibilities of Irish traditional music” (All about Jazz)

He is co founder of Ensemble Ériu, an award winning (TG4 Gradam ComharCeoil award 2015) group dedicated to developing new conceptualisations in Irish traditional ensemble playing.

He leads his own chamber ensemble group Cuar which explores composition and improvisation within the framework of Irish traditional music. Their debut album Roscanna has been described as “an ear craningly beautiful missive from the new post genre frontier.” (The Irish Times)

He began learning Irish traditional music on the flute and tin whistle at a young age and studied double bass with David Whitla at the Cork school of Music. As a jazz musician he has been bassist of choice for many of Ireland’s leading musicians including Myles Drennan, Richie Buckley, Hugh Buckley, Meilana Gillard, Mike Nielsen. He was a member of the Louis Stewart quartet from 2012 until the guitarists death in 2016.

He has studied Karnatic music at the Brhaddvani Institute, Chennai, India and Ewe music at the Dagara Centre, Medie, Ghana. He has won numerous scholarships and bursaries to attend workshops and residencies including the Banff Centre creative music workshop, Canada, the School for Improvisational Music (S.I.M) workshop, New York and the Cill Rialaig residency, Ballinskelligs. His music has been released by Irish labels Raelach and Diatribe Records.

www.neiloloclainnmusic.com

Maria O’Connor

Maria holds both a B.Mus and an MA from the Cork School of Music (CSM). She has been a prizewinner in numerous competitions including Feis Ceoil, Feis Maitiu and the CSM Concerto and Chamber Music Competition and has been invited to perform as a soloist with the CSMSO. Maria played with the National Symphony Orchestra as part of their mentoring scheme and also as a deputy player.
Along with fellow members of the Chiral Quartet, Maria was awarded the 2014 CSM Directors Prize. The quartet were subsequently named Ensemble in Residence in the CSM. They have been winners of the CSM RTE Vanbrugh Quartet Chamber Music Competition, the KBC Great Music in Irish Houses Residency competition and the Music in Drumcliffe Strings Attached Competition and have studied with both the Vogler Quartet and the Vanbrugh Quartet.

Maria has performed in numerous venues and festivals at home and abroad including the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Killaloe Music Festival, the Music in Drumcliffe festival and in the RDS Rising Stars recital series, the Jenneusses Musicales Festival and Guildhall, London. Maria is also a traditional fiddle player and has been playing fiddle since the age of 8.

She has played in numerous competitions in the Fleadh Cheoil over the years and has received medals at both local and national competitions. As well as preforming, Maria teaches cello and fiddle in the Kerry School of Music and in Cork.

Ciara Ní Bhriain

Ciara Ní Bhriain was born into a very musical family in North County Dublin. Following in the footsteps of her older sister Aoife, Ciara started violin classes a the age of three.
Ciara started learning the harp at the age of seven with Michael Rooney who encouraged her to apply for a place in the College of Music with renowned harpist Denise Kelly with whom Ciara is now studying both Irish harp and Concert Harp. While still studying violin in the R.I.A.M. Ciara was asked to try the viola and so she changed instruments and has been studying viola with Ms. Liz Csibi for the past 5 years, obtaining scholarships each year.

She has been awarded prizes in the E.S.B. Feis Ceol Dublin and the Sligo Feis Ceoil on both harp and viola. She won the 2012 Senior All-Ireland competition for miscellaneous instruments, performing on viola and she won the Under 18 All-Ireland Fiddle title in 2013. In 2011, she was a member of the National Youth Orchesta of Ireland under the baton of Gearóid Grant, where she was a member of the viola section. She has a an active recording schedule and she has also performed in many concerts and on radio. She recently worked with the Grammy Award-Winning producer Judith Sherman recording the viola parts for Dave Flynn’s work ‘Stories from the Old World’.

A founder member of the IMO aged just 15, Ciara has since performed in Moscow and South Korea with us. She assumed lead fiddle duties on our South Korean tour.

Róisín Donohoe

Róisín Donohoe is a harpist, fiddler and singer from Kinsale, County Cork.

Born into a musical family, Róisín began learning the fiddle at the age of three. As her passion for music continued to grow, so too did her interest to master a broader range of instruments – she is now an accomplished musician on the violin, harp, concertina, viola and voice. Her first solo TV performance was at the age of ten where she sang self-accompanied on harp in a family talent show on TG4, called “Glas Vegas”. Since then she has performed numerous times on TV alongside her brother Darren (also an accomplished fiddler), fellow musicians of the group ‘Lasair’, as well as the Vienna Youth Orchestra (Austrian TV). Róisín has also been interviewed and performed on radio multiple times during her career.

Róisín studied classical violin and viola in the Cork School of Music under Ruxandra Petcu, Adrian Petcu and Constantin Zanidache and was awarded an LTCL with distinction. Róisín was selected as the main singer for the Irish Memory Orchestra’s debut of Mná Brian Ború at the age of 17 ; she also played fiddle and viola during the various performances of Mná Brian Ború in Ireland and South Korea.

Róisín has been a member of many orchestras including the County Cork Junior where she was the leader, County Cork Youth, Cork Youth, Cork School of Music Symphonic, National Youth, Vienna Youth and most recently the IMO. As a member of ‘Lasair’, an Irish traditional group, she also performed in the National Concert Hall. She has won multiple All Ireland Medals in various disciplines at all age levels.

Currently, Róisín Studies in Université Grenoble Alpes in France as part of her Commerce and French degree in UCC. Her Senior All-Ireland medal in 2017 was complemented by one of her Harp students winning the All-Ireland U12 Slow Airs.

Róisín Donohoe is a harpist, fiddler and singer from Kinsale, County Cork.

Born into a musical family, Róisín began learning the fiddle at the age of three. As her passion for music continued to grow, so too did her interest to master a broader range of instruments – she is now an accomplished musician on the violin, harp, concertina, viola and voice. Her first solo TV performance was at the age of ten where she sang self-accompanied on harp in a family talent show on TG4, called “Glas Vegas”. Since then she has performed numerous times on TV alongside her brother Darren (also an accomplished fiddler), fellow musicians of the group ‘Lasair’, as well as the Vienna Youth Orchestra (Austrian TV). Róisín has also been interviewed and performed on radio multiple times during her career.

Róisín studied classical violin and viola in the Cork School of Music under Ruxandra Petcu, Adrian Petcu and Constantin Zanidache and was awarded an LTCL with distinction. Róisín was selected as the main singer for the Irish Memory Orchestra’s debut of Mná Brian Ború at the age of 17 ; she also played fiddle and viola during the various performances of Mná Brian Ború in Ireland and South Korea.

Róisín has been a member of many orchestras including the County Cork Junior where she was the leader, County Cork Youth, Cork Youth, Cork School of Music Symphonic, National Youth, Vienna Youth and most recently the IMO. As a member of ‘Lasair’, an Irish traditional group, she also performed in the National Concert Hall. She has won multiple All Ireland Medals in various disciplines at all age levels.

Currently, Róisín Studies in Université Grenoble Alpes in France as part of her Commerce and French degree in UCC. Her Senior All-Ireland medal in 2017 was complemented by one of her Harp students winning the All-Ireland U12 Slow Airs.

Tara Connaghan

Tara Connaghan is from Glenties, Co. Donegal, in the North West of Ireland. Her principle influences are Vincent and Jimmy Campbell, Danny Meehan, the late James Byrne and the older generation of fiddle players in the area, including the distinguished recordings of travelling fiddle maestro John Doherty.

Along with fellow Donegal fiddler, Derek McGinley, she released a well-received recording, Far Side of the Glen – Derek McGinley & Tara Connaghan, focusing on the fiddle style and repertoire specific of the southwest Donegal region, grant aided by the Arts Council Ireland.

‘This is not the “flashy” playing so often heard today; each note is given its chance to express itself properly – the music talks to you, as it should. No excessive speed, no attempts at fusion with other styles, just good, honest Donegal fiddling as we used to hear it years ago…’

John Waltham, The Living Tradition Magazine, UK

She has made a number of guest appearances on CDs including Dr. Liz Doherty & Fiddlesticks (2000), Leonard Barry Mind the Pipes (2002) and Eoin O’Neill In Session (2003). She also presented a TG4 Geantraí programme from Carlow in 2010 featuring musicians from the south east of Ireland.
She completed an uilleann pipe making course with Na Píobairí Uilleann.

Tara has been with the IMO since 2013, initially as project manager and then she joined became 1st Deputy Fiddle player. She’s performed with the IMO on numerous occasions since, including a memorable trip to South Korea in 2015.

Liz Coleman

Liz Coleman is a fiddle player from Clondalkin in Dublin now living in Galway.

Liz’s early musical training included classical violin lessons with Una Lawlor allied with traditional fiddle lessons from Terry Crehan and Michelle O’Brien. As well as numerous traditional music groups, she has also played in the Dublin Youth Orchestra.

She is a graduate of Ceoltoír, the traditional Irish music course directed by Paul McGrattan through Ballyfermot College of Further Education. As a member of traditional group, Nábac, Liz has toured throughout Europe. Liz is currently living in Galway city.

She was featured fiddle player on Dave Flynn’s debut album ‘Draíocht’ and toured Ireland in 2008 with Dave Flynn, Hugh Buckley, Mairtín Tourish and Ciarán Swift as part of the Trad Connections tour.

In August 2013 she joined the Irish Memory Orchestra for the IMO’s performance with Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill & Mairtín O’Connor at the Feakle International Traditonal Music Festival. She was then appointed principal fiddle player.

Liz is also holds a Doctorate in Physics from the National University of Ireland in Galway where she worked as a research scientist and lecturer before becoming a full time professional musician.

About

The only ensemble of its kind in the world, the IMO has wowed audiences from London to Moscow, Clare to Korea with its ground-breaking and inclusive approach to orchestral music. Since founding in 2012 the IMO has broken down barriers by removing sheet music from the stage, thus opening access to musicians and instruments not usually found in orchestral music.. Our 100% commitment to memorised performances sets us apart from every orchestra in the Western world.

The IMO has a core of 20 world-class musicians, led by founder/composer Dave Flynn, conductor Bjorn Bantock and orchestra leader Niamh Varian-Barry. This outstanding ensemble blends ancient Celtic instruments with orchestral strings, winds and brass, guitars and a jazz-tinged rhythm section.

The orchestra has played to capacity houses nationally and internationally, including Moscow’s Catholic Cathedral, London’s Cadogan Hall, South Korea’s Sori Festival and with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at Ireland’s National Concert Hall. The IMO’s innovative collaborations with leading traditional Irish musicians including Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, Mary Bergin & Máirtín O’Connor are acclaimed by audiences and critics alike.

Awards & Nominations:

2020 – Silver award at the All-Ireland Community and Council Awards for ‘The Vision Symphony, a world-first project, when the IMO were joined by 26 talented blind and vision-impaired musicians to premiere Dave Flynn’s ‘Vision Symphony’ in glór. Read more about the Vision Symphony here
2019 – Excellence in Local Government Awards – Nominated for ‘The Vision Symphony’ in Disability Services Provision
2015 – Allianz Business to Arts Award with the ESB for the Concert in the Cavern
2014 – Allianz Business to Arts Award Nomination and Commendation with Clare County Council for ‘The Clare Concerto’

MISSION STATEMENT

We operate with a core message of Innovative Irish Inclusivity . We redefine orchestral music by always performing by memory with a unique instrumentation and repertoire. Our artistic practice sets us apart from every other orchestra in the world.

VALUES

​We seek to work with exceptional musicians including those who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to orchestral music. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion has ensured we are a gender-balanced ensemble that has given opportunities to a wide cross-section of the community including blind/visually impaired musicians and people aged 10 to 90.

RESOLVE

For the West of Ireland to have an award-winning orchestra that is the only ensemble of its kind in the world, it has taken determination, resolve and extraordinary artistic vision.

GOVERNANCE

​Irish Memory Orchestra Limited is a non-profit Private Company Limited by Shares. Company Number 656735.

Photo of THE HORN & PERCUSSION SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O'Neill
Photo of THE HORN & PERCUSSION SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O’Neill
Photo of THE WIND & REED SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O'Neill
Photo of THE WIND & REED SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O’Neill
Photo of THE STRING SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O'Neill
Photo of THE STRING SECTION OF THE IRISH MEMORY ORCHESTRA. Photo: John O’Neill

Bjorn Bantock

Bjorn has performed in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, China, South Africa, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Russia, Malta, Ireland and the UK. Some of his recent engagements include the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town, the European Bienniale in Naples, the Svanker Music Festival, the International String Orchestra Festival in Malta and the Open Strings Festival in Denmark.

Bjorn is also the principal conductor of the St Albans Symphony Orchestra and the London Medical Orchestra.

He is also principal conductor for the London Chamber Strings with David Juritz as leader, the Europa Ensemble and the Film Score Spectacular Orchestra. Bjorn is regularly invited to give master classes, most recently for Pro Corda, King’s College Wimbledon, the European String Teachers Association at the Royal College of Music, the Amersham Music Festival and Crantock Bay Summer School.

Bjorn studied conducting with Colin Metters, Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has won numerous prizes, bursaries and scholarships including first prize in the Sir John Barbirolli competition, RNCM Contemporary Music Performance Prize
 and a Full International ABRSM Scholarship.

Bjorn regularly conducts the Hertfordshire Philharmonia and worked as conductor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the London Contemporary Dance School and the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain.

Bjorn has recently accepted the role of musical executive for the Sir Granville Bantock Society and has recorded and produced CD’s for the Kingsway and EM Record labels.

He is Head of Strings at Bedford School outside London.

www.bjornbantock.com

Niamh Varian-Barry

Niamh is a violinist/violist/singer from Cork. She pursued a Bachelor of Music degree in the Cork School of Music that led her to roles such as principal violist with the CSM and RIAM Symphony Orchestras. She was Highest-Placed Violist in the Senior Recital Competition in the CSM and was awarded a bursary viola by the Music Instrument Fund of Ireland. She has participated in masterclasses with the world-renowned Yuri Bashmet among others.

In 2011, Niamh completed a Masters in Performance at the prestigious Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, Ireland. Touring internationally to venues such Forte di Fenestrelle (Turin), Seoul National Theatre, Münich Philharmonic Hall and Carnegie Hall (New York). With tuition from the late Séamus Creagh, Niamh developed a strong foundation in traditional Irish music and toured North America with Comhaltas Ceóltóirí Éireann in 2008. She has featured in TG4 and RTÉ ads and TV programmes.

​Her distinctive singing has attracted much attention, leading to tours with groups such as Skellig, Loose and the leading Irish-American traditional group Solas of whom she was lead singer. She toured internationally with Solas until summer 2013 when her life took an important step with her marriage to her equally talented husband, accordionist Peter Staunton.

Niamh provides the IMO with a special versatility, switching between Principal Violin, Viola and Lead Vocals when required.

www.niamhvarianbarry.com

IMO Youth Orchestra & Choir Application Form

Applicant's Name
Please tick the appropriate box:(Required)
Date of Birth(Required)
Applicants must be aged between 10 and 24 at the time of applying
Are you blind or vision impaired?(Required)
Please tick the appropriate box below.(Required)
You can tick both of the boxes above to audition for the Youth Orchestra and the Youth Choir if you wish. However, you can only be accepted for one or the other.

Below, please submit video auditions of 2 contrasting pieces/songs on each instrument/voice you wish to audition for (maximum 3 instruments/6 videos). We can only accept streaming Youtube links, not downloads.

If you prefer your video to not be public please ensure you save it as 'Unlisted' when uploading to Youtube. Do not upload videos as 'Private' because the audition panel will not be able to view them!

Were you previously a member of the Irish Memory Orchestra Apprentice Scheme?(Required)
GDPR(Required)
Disclaimer(Required)

Payment

Non-refundable Audition Fee
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IMO Youth Orchestra & Choir

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

We are delighted to announce that the Irish Memory Orchestra is now inviting applications from musicians aged 10 – 24, to participate in the 2021/22 IMO Youth Orchestra & Choir programme: ‘Vision and Memory’.

This new cross-genre orchestra is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland’s Young Ensemble Scheme and will meet in Galway City from 12th-16th April 2022, with online learning and preparation beginning in November 2021.

Following an audition process, a large number of young full-sighted, blind and visually-impaired instrumentalists and singers will be selected to rehearse and perform alongside core members of the Irish Memory Orchestra and professional blind and visually-impaired musicians.

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

Together they will work towards a performance of Dave Flynn’s groundbreaking work, The Vision Symphony, in Galway on Easter Saturday, 16th April 2022. 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.

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 on any instrument in a range of genres (trad, jazz, world, classical etc).
  • Singers performing in any style
  • All instruments and vocal styles will be considered. 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
  • It is not necessary to be able to read music to participate. Musicians who can and can not read music are catered for.

Schedule

Thursday 26th August 2021: Applications Open

Friday 1st October 2021: Applications Close

November 2021 – April 2022: Participants must be available for online tuition approximately once a month

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

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

Costs

  • 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.
  • Further details on the rehearsal and performance venue in Galway will follow, along with a recommended accommodation option, if required.
  • There will be several travel and accommodation scholarships for blind and vision-impaired musicians/singers.
  • An audition fee of €12 will apply per applicant.

Apply now

To apply, 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.

Application deadline: Friday 1st October 2021.

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

Arts Council of Ireland logo