Be a Friend

Irish Association of Youth Orchestras

Be a friend

In February of 2020, the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras celebrated 25 years and our 25th Festival of Youth Orchestras at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. (Click the image to watch our 25th Anniversary Festival short film and images throughout the page to related content.)

“I am still in disbelief that I got the opportunity to play in the National Concert Hall. Being in the orchestra was so overwhelming. I miss it so so much. I would love if we could have continued on.”

Ellen T. Crowley IAYO Festival Orchestra musician

With orchestras and ensembles shut down in March, much of the instrumental music teaching around the country moved online and we were in a position to support this move: we had previously piloted and supported a number of online teaching and teacher-training initiatives and had access to many helpful materials through our international networks. (Click the image to see a pdf our online-instrumental-teaching pilot from 2016.)

In March and April, we saw a series with Evelyn Grant on RTÉ lyric fm playing music performed by our ensembles and members and interviews focussing on the way in which immigrants have contributed so enormously to the development of classical music in Ireland. Throughout April and May, we kept in touch with our members and connected with other national and international organisations to find the best digital pathways for our community. Our mission was to deliver practical supports to keep young people meeting and playing together.

In May, we engaged young orchestra members for National Drawing Day on the subject of the socially-distanced orchestra. A drawing competition saw some wonderfully imaginative creations – one of which inspired the main visual theme for Ode to Joy. Next up, in June, we lent our support and were one of the main contributors to Ode to Joy, a project which saw socially-distanced outdoor performances for individuals and ensembles throughout the country for European Music Day. We were a central point in the collaboration of over 50 music organisations working to bring our community together. (Click the image to visit the Ode to Joy website.)

July and August are amongst the busiest times of the year in IAYO and this year, surprisingly, was not different. While we may have run our lives through Zoom, the re-imagining of our summer courses saw us developing and learning new ways of engaging and bringing people together with some very surprising results. We still didn’t get to play together in real-time but we will seek to reproduce at least some of each of the courses we presented online in 2021 and beyond – ConCorda Chamber Music Course for Strings, the Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra and our Conducting Workshops.

“What I found most exciting was to see how much students can learn from each other and how helpful it can be for students to learn in a supportive and open environment.”

Claire Duff, Artistic Director Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra and Leader of the Irish Baroque Orchestra

Reaching the end of August, the young professional players who mentor and perform with the Esker Festival Orchestra were due to get together – some young Irish professional musicians completing their 14-day quarantine after returning home – only to have their plans derailed by the August lockdown. Fortunately, they were allowed to perform with an online stream (while coping with thunder and torrential downpours on the recording studio’s roof). From mid-August, we began a series of workshops to help members with online and blended orchestra and for getting back together in person. We included workshops on risk assessment and mitigation and sessions on starting chamber music programmes that could keep running through various levels of restrictions. Workshops ran through until the end of November and we had, by popular demand, another get-together of the ConCorda Chamber Music Course for Strings between Christmas and New Year. We wrapped up the year with a radio documentary celebrating 35 years of the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble. Winds of Change premiered on RTÉ lyric fm as the Lyric Feature on Saturday, 26 December at 6pm. (Click the image to see and hear ConCorda’s Biber Battalia.)

“I was blown away by how rich the quality of this year’s chamber music course was. I came to the clear realisation that ConCorda has nothing to do with a time or place. It is a spirit that comes from young and mature musicians alike sharing a passion for music.”

Aisling Martin ConCorda participant

Be a Friend

By joining IAYO as a Friend, you can enable us to keep creating on and off stage in 2021. We have worked hard in 2020 to connect, to deliver programmes and to play together despite restrictions. We have remained true to our mission. We have adapted, we have performed, and we have kept young hearts and minds alive through music. With your support, we can ensure that we can learn, lead, connect and thrive for players, orchestras and ensembles across Ireland.

Because the triangle player who plays just once in a symphony is just as important as the orchestra leader, we see all our friends as being just as important as each other and don’t call them different names depending on how much they give. We would ask you to support us with as much as you feel comfortable giving.

We suggest donations of:

  • €100 per year
  • €250 per year
  • €500 per year
  • Or another amount

On all donations of €250 or more in a calendar year, IAYO can claim tax relief. If you pay tax (PAYE or Self-Assessment), your €250 donation increases to €362.32 at no additional cost to you.

How to donate:

We are grateful for any donation to the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras and we will do our best to accommodate your payment preferences as best we can. Monthly options are available.

You can pay online via PayPal here.

You can pay by bank transfer – please contact us for details at 021 421 5187 or

You can pay by cheque, postal order or in cash to the office:

Irish Association of Youth Orchestras Ltd.,
Civic Trust House,
50 Pope’s Quay,

If you pay by cheque, postal order or cash, please download the form (word document or .pdf format) or and return it with your donation.

If you would like us to post you out the form, please contact us on 021 421 5187 or email and we will post one to you directly.

To read more about the Charitable Donation Scheme, click here.

IAYO adheres to the principles laid out in the Charities Regulator’s Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public. You can see our Donor Charter, company information and much more on our Transparency Page.

We look forward to honing and developing the skills of our talented musicians in 2021 until they can perform again on stage, near you, for you.

We wish to thank the following people for their generous donations:

Friends of IAYO

Claire Chambers
Aliye Cornish
Clare Daly
Eugene Daly
Gretta Daly
Jane Daly & Justin Donnellan
Liam Daly
Ruth Daly
Brian Murray
Fred O’Callaghan
Philip O’Kane
Gillian Smith