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Cork Youth Orchestra today…

Cork Youth Orchestra 2008

Cork Youth Orchestra is a gem in the cultural fabric of Cork and Ireland. Founded in 1958, CYO is the oldest youth orchestra in Ireland. Despite being in existence for half a century, the orchestra has had only three conductors until now: Michael O'Callaghan, Conor O'Ceallacháin and Tomás McCarthy.

The CYO undertook its first tour to Wales in 1998 with musical director, Conor O'Ceallacháin. After Conor's retirement in 1998, Tomás McCarthy was appointed to the position of musical director/conductor. Under Tomás, CYO was invited to perform at the European Festival of Youth Orchestras in Italy, 2002. In beautiful Florence, the orchestra played Shaun Davey’s ‘Brendan Voyage’ with soloist Flaithri Neff (Uilleann Pipes).

In recent years, CYO has worked on varied projects, ranging from performances in major concert halls, live R.T.E. radio broadcasts, recordings and benefit concerts, all of which have have incorporated wide-ranging programmes. CYO toured the Czech Republic in 2004 with soloist Mark O’Keeffe (principal trumpet with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra) who performed the Arutjunjan Trumpet Concerto.

In 2005 the orchestra had the pleasure of working and performing with the members of the Ulster Orchestra under principal guest conductor, Takuo Yuasa, in Cork City Hall. The Orchestra's most ambitious project to date afforded our young musicians the rare opportunity of inviting Sir James Galway to Cork as their guest soloist on December 1st, 2005, as part of the closing sequence of "Cork 2005".

The orchestra has continuously adapted to suit the ever increasing and varied performance opportunities that have presented themselves, including particpation in two European Festivals of Youth Orchestras in Italy in front of capacity audiences. The orchestra is an equal opportunities organization and provides access to the arts for the whole of Cork City and County.

Apart from having had the pleasure of working with some of Ireland’s finest soloists over many years, CYO also benefits greatly from the wealth of talented and renowned music teachers who contribute so actively to the musical development of our young players. All Youth Orchestra projects are possible only through the tremendous and dedicated voluntary work of the parents and generous sponsorhip received.