Longford-based musicians sought for Irish Memory Orchestra

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The Irish Memory Orchestra – the only orchestra in the world which plays music exclusively from memory – is seeking applications from Longford-based musicians for its Apprentice Scheme until Wednesday, March 8.

Outstanding apprentices will join the orchestra for 'The Memory Symphony', which will be performed by a 100-piece orchestra in Christchurch, Dublin and Galway.

This is the first ever symphony composed specifically to be performed without sheet music on stage and so is a world first.

The absence of sheet music means that the scheme is open to visually impaired musicians, who would ordinarily be excluded from orchestral music.

Memory Orchestra Artistic Director Dave Flynn says:


“When the musicians perform from memory, they know the music intimately. They have spent a long time learning it by heart, so they have really lived with the music in a way that isn’t the case with musicians who rely on sheet music”.

The scheme is part of a cross-genre orchestra course which will run over the Halloween mid-term from October 28, culminating in the world premiere of the Memory Symphony in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin on November 4 and in Galway on November 5.

'The Memory Symphony', which will be performed by a 100-piece orchestra,  is the first ever symphony composed specifically to be performed without sheet music on stage and so is a world first.

It’s open to visually impaired musicians, who would ordinarily be excluded from orchestral music.

The scheme, from the Galway-based orchestra has the added incentive of Bill Whelan Scholarships and the title of ‘Apprentice of the Year’ available to outstanding applicants.

This innovative cross-genre orchestra training course was devised by the award-winning composer Dr Dave Flynn, a regular collaborator with Con Tempo Quartet, Crash Ensemble and RTÉ Concert and Irish Chamber Orchestras.

The orchestra, formerly the Clare Memory Orchestra, has combined the talents of some of Ireland’s leading traditional and classical musicians to create a distinctive new sound. These include Mick O’Brien (regular collaborator with Caomhin O’Raghailligh of The Gloaming), Adrian Hart (I Draw Slow), Jack Talty & Matt Berrill (Ensemble Eriu), Neil Yates (Robbie Williams, Alison Moyet). Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill performed with the Irish Memory Orchestra in 2014.

Nominated for an Allianz Business to Arts Award in 2014, the Orchestra’s Apprentice Scheme is aimed at advanced musicians of all ages and instruments (including voice) who perform traditional, classical and/or jazz music. Uniquely, apprentices do not need to be able to read sheet music to take part. That’s because the orchestra performs from memory. Previous Apprentices include some of Ireland's best musicians including All-Ireland Fiddle champion Brid Harper.

Since the first apprentice scheme in 2013, more than 150 musicians, including some from the USA and Canada, have travelled to Ireland to perform alongside the Memory Orchestra, sharing the stage with world-class musicians including Galway’s Matthew Berrill, Liz Coleman and Peter Berrill.

Legendary Galway accordionist Máirtín O’Connor (Riverdance/Dé Danann) will be the special guest for performances in major venues in Christchurch, Dublin on November 4 and in Galway on November 5.


■ For more details about the apprentice scheme go to irishmemoryorchestra.com or email apprentices@irishmemoryorchest ra.com.