Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland to Hold Inaugural Concert

Shaun Healy conducting the Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland (Photo: Mark Stedman)

Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland to Hold Inaugural Concert

New youth orchestra led by musicians with disabilities will perform on Sunday 29 September at Athlone Institute of Technology.

Ireland’s first youth orchestra for musicians with disabilities, the Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland (OYOI), will perform in concert for the first time this Sunday at the Athlone Institute of Technology. The orchestra, which has twenty members, is part of the ‘Le Chéile’ project, led by the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and has four provincial centres in Athlone Institute of Technology, Pearse Street Library in Dublin, Cork Institute of Technology and Ulster University. 

The musicians have worked with an eighteen-gesture system known as conductology, a conducting system created by music educator Dr Denise White of Ulster University. Conductology allows the musicians to collaborate while being guided by their ensemble director. 

Commenting on the new ensemble, Dr White said:

Conductology enables everyone to truly participate in high-quality music-making and enables us to work with musicians who were previously prevented from creativity and expression. Music performance has not been as open and inclusive as it should be over the generations and now that we are in a position to change that, we can watch as the OYOI smashes barriers.

The performance will see the orchestra perform with a combination of conventional instruments and new music technology, as well as virtual reality technology, which was also used in the composition and preparation stages. 

RIAM Director Deborah Kelleher spoke of the motivation for the new initiative and the fact that one in seven people in Ireland lives with a disability:

This led us to wonder how many people are prevented from making music, sharing music and expressing their art. Music is so inclusive and modern technology so enabling that it made us determined to break down this frontier – effectively helping to democratise creativity. The response has been both affirming and inspiring and the musicians have created some beautiful work.

The inaugural OYOI performance will take place this Sunday 29 September at Athlone Institute of Technology at 3pm. Admission is free, though booking is required. For further details, visit:

Published on 25 September 2019


Be Part of the Future of the Journal of Music

Sign up for our newsletters to receive our latest news, UK newsreviews, articles, jobs and events.

To add a concert listing see here. For advertising visit this link.