Dave Flynn's Irish Memory Orchestra (formerly Clare Memory Orchestra) is the first and only orchestra in the Western world to play exclusively from memory.
Visionary founder and Artistic Director Dave Flynn has enlisted some of Ireland’s leading traditional, classical and jazz musicians to create a kaleidoscopic new sound around his award-winning music; A string section infused with the sound of Irish fiddles; a wind section mixing Irish flutes, whistles and uilleann pipes with the haunting tone of the oboe; a harmonic background of Irish harp, mallet percussion and guitar; and a dynamic rhythm section mixing rumbling double bass and ticking percussion.
Add to that crooning concertina, triumphant trumpet, sax, trombone and spectacular Ancient Celtic bronze-age horns, and you have a thrilling new uniquely Irish phenomenon that has brought audiences to their feet at every concert the orchestra has played from Dublin to Moscow.
2015/2016 highlights include the orchestra’s first appearance in Asia at the Jeonju Sori International Traditional Music Festival in South Korea, the biggest festival of its kind in Asia, made possible with the generous support of Culture Ireland; An Allianz Business to Arts Award for their collaboration with the ESB and performances at the 2nd Ceol Meabhair Festival of Memorised Music.
Recent season highlights include performing to over 1000 people in Moscow’s Catholic Cathedral: receiving national headlines for the ESB 'Concert in a Cavern' in the Mountainside of Turlough Hill; acclaimed World Premieres of two large scale new works by Dave Flynn 'Mná Brian Boru' and ‘The Clare Concerto’ both commissioned by Clare County Council; plus an historic collaboration between the Memory Orchestra, Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill and Ireland’s National Concert Orchestra (RTÉ) to a capacity audience in Ireland's National Concert Hall. This concert was recorded by RTÉ for future release.
The Memory Orchestra currently operates with a core chamber orchestra of 21 world class musicians, however it occasionally expands to a 70 piece orchestra through the innovative ‘Apprenticeship Schemes’ devised by Dave Flynn. Since 2013 over 100 talented young and amateur musicians (drawn from across Ireland and as far afield as the USA, Canada and Italy) have been selected by audition to take part in these ‘Apprenticeship Schemes’. At the end of each of these intensive training schemes 50 talented young and amateur musicians aged 11-90 have had the incredible opportunity to join the core orchesstra and Martin Hayes to perform Flynn’s genre-defying, hour long ‘Clare Concerto’ entirely by memory. The ‘Apprenticeship Schemes’ were devised by Dave Flynn to address the need for a new education system which enables musicians to become equally well versed in numerous musical styles. This system has since been adopted for the Burren Summer School of Music and Culture in co-operation with Music Generation Clare.
The Memory Orchestra has come a long way in very quick time following its debut concert in 2012 where a 15 piece chamber orchestra called The Clare Memory Orchestra performed as the showcase event of Ireland’s National Culture Night in co-operation of Clare County Council. Following a successful period in collaboration with Clare County Council between 2012 and 2015 the Clare Memory Orchestra relaunched in 2016 as the Irish Memory Orchestra.
The Irish Memory Orchestra now represents Ireland internationally as the only orchestra of its kind, focused purely on the presentation of Irish traditional music, old and new, in contemporary orchestral settings and new works inspired by the tradition
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