The Concert Orchestra has grown into a vibrant group of 134 young musicians, ranging in age from 13 to 16, and drawn from all over the city and county. Involvement in the Concert Orchestra is a wonderful musical experience, giving young musicians who might previously have only experienced individual training and solo performance the opportunity to experience large ensemble playing, and to make lasting friendships with like-minded young people. The Concert Orchestra boasts a very broad repertoire, including classical, jazz and popular music, so all tastes are catered to, and our young players have the opportunity to gain experience playing in a wide range of styles.
The Orchestra plays an annual spring concert, which is a highlight of the year for members and their families. Every two years we also travel abroad on tour, and have made trips to France and Italy in recent years. In between these foreign tours, we try to organise an Irish tour or a concert/social event.
Preparing for tours and concerts is serious business, with a series of intense rehearsals involved to help members to gain experience playing together and to introduce them to new pieces. For example, leading up to our tour to Italy at Easter 2013, four days of intense rehearsals took place during mid-term break in February, then in the week leading up to the tour we had another four days of preparation. During the seven-day tour, we had four rehearsals and four concerts. This busy schedule gave the players a real opportunity to experience what it is like to be in a professional orchestra on tour. The bonding between the players and the standard of the music rose with each rehearsal and concert.
Auditions are held annually, and rehearsals take place over one weekend each month.
Cormac Ó hAodáin
Cormac Ó hAodáin was born in Dublin in 1971 and studied horn with Victor Malirsh at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (1985 – 1990). He was a member of both the Junior and Senior Youth Orchestras of Ireland (1986 – 1991) as well as the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble (1987 – 1992). Following undergraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester (1990 – 1994), Cormac undertook postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London (1994 – 1995). Cormac represented Ireland in the European Union Youth Orchestra (1993 – 1996) with whom he toured Europe, Russia and South America. On these tours he had the privilege of working with Maestros Kurt Sanderling, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Georges Prêtre and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Cormac joined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1997 – 1999) touring Europe, North America and Asia under the baton of such eminent Maestros as Daniele Gatti, Yehudi Menuhin, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Berglund, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Yuri Temirkanov. He became a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra (1999 – 2009) touring Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America, Russia and the Middle East with Christoph von Dohnányi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ricardo Muti, James Levine, Maxim Shostakovich, Yuri Simonov, Gennady Rozhdestvensky , Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Charles Dutoit.
In 2009 Cormac was appointed Principal Horn of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Since his return to Ireland Cormac has established the Cassiopeia Wind Quintet, the Irish Horn Quartet and Cornucopia Brass Ensemble. Cormac joined the teaching staff of the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2015 and made his conducting début with the Royal Irish Academy of Music Intermediate Orchestra. Also in 2015 he began conducting classes with Robert Houlihan. In 2016 Cormac completed his Masters in Performance at CIT Cork School of Music and began to assist conducting the Lourdes Brass Band in Drogheda. Since 2018 he has been conducting the St. Agnes’ Community Late Starters Orchestra at their Summer Camp and since June 2020 has joined the Orchestra as a Double Bass player! In 2019 Cormac was invited to conduct the Dublin Youth Orchestras Concert Orchestra in Madrid and at the National Concert Hall, Dublin and subsequently was appointed their conductor in 2020. From September 2019 Cormac has also been conducting the Dublin Symphony Orchestra. In September 2020 Cormac decided to continue his studies, undertaking a Masters in Conducting with David Brophy at TU Dublin.