Irish orchestra plans Italian voyage

The Cork Youth Orchestra is setting sail next month for Italy to take part in an international music festival that will feature the finest young talent that Europe has to offer.

Irish orchestra plans Italian voyage

The orchestra will represent Ireland at the European Festival Of Youth Orchestras in Italy and will perform in open air concerts in Florence, Perugia, and Montecatini from July 6 to July 9.

In 2002, the orchestra travelled to Florence for the festival where they featured Shaun Davey’s ‘The Brendan Voyage’, with soloist Flaithri Neff on the uileann pipes.

This time round, they will reprise that performance, again with Flaithri Neff as soloist, but will present it within a broader programme of music.

The orchestra will present Reflections Of Ireland at the festival and also during the Italian tour. As well as ‘The Brendan Voyage’, the programme will include ‘The Irish Suite’ by Leroy Anderson, ‘Aisling ‘by Declan Townsend and ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ by AJ Potter.

The encore will be ‘Danzon No. 2’, an internationally recognised work by the Mexican composer Arturo Marquez.

A taster of what the Italian audiences can be heard at a pre-festival concert to be held on July 1 at Cork City Hall.

The Cork Youth Orchestra’s experiences of performing this work for an international audience have been amazing, with the captivating and haunting sound of uileann pipes making these concerts a huge attraction. The last time it was in Florence, the orchestra played to more than 3,000 music lovers.

Flaithri Neff is an academic, researcher, musician, and composer. He has performed with Riverdance, the Afro Celt Sound System, NeffBros, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Lorient Festival Orchestra, and the Cork Youth Orchestra.

Along with his brother Eoghan, he has worked with film composer Atli Orvarsson on the score of The Eagle, a film by Oscar-winning director Kevin McDonald.

The Cork Youth Orchestra has built a reputation for bringing international stars to the City Hall stage in the past and conductor Tomás McCarthy said all members are proud to be bringing the music of Ireland to the international stage in this 1916 centenary year.

Founded in 1958, the orchestra performs concerts twice a year at Cork City Hall to sellout audiences and in the last few years has presented James Galway, Colm Wilkinson, Michael Ball and most recently Hayley Westenra, among many others.

The orchestra has established an international reputation for excellence and professionalism and plays to a hugely diverse audience, coming together from far and wide including from abroad to participate in concerts.

Tickets for the orchestra’s pre-tour concert at Cork City Hall on July 1 are available from: The Everyman (; Pro Musica; O’Driscoll’s Ballinlough; or orchestra members or at the door.

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