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The Irish Memory Orchestra Outreach Programme


Our outreach programmes cross generations and backgrounds, educating hundreds of musicians in a professional performance environment.

2021/22 Apprentice Youth Orchestra & Choir Scheme ‘Vision and Memory’

Our last Apprentice Scheme occurred in Galway during Easter 2022, with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland’s Young Ensemble Scheme. The scheme was based around a performance of The Vision Symphony. Apprentices formed a new IMO Youth Orchestra and Choir to perform alongside core members of the Irish Memory Orchestra and professional blind and vision-impaired musicians who performed in the premiere of the Vision Symphony in 2019. Applications are now closed. To pre-register interest for our next apprentice scheme please contact us.

2017-2019 Vision Symphony outreach programme – working with blind and vision-impaired musicians

Flynn’s craft in combining traditional and contemporary music elements is always something to appreciate, but here he achieved more; he has broken down boundaries for people with sight loss
The Journal of Music
This project has huge implications in regards to its capacity to create opportunities for accomplished musicians with visual impairments to perform and work with a professional orchestra
Clare Arts Office on The Vision Symphony

Between 2017-2019 we developed this project with 3L Online Music to enable musicians with sight-loss to perform orchestral music. The premiere of ‘The Vision Symphony’, performed by dozens of vision-impaired musicians with the Irish Memory Orchestra, occurred on 26th October 2019 in glór, Ennis.

The Vision Symphony Project was funded by Clare Arts Office through an Invitation to Collaboration Grant from the Arts Council of Ireland and additional funds from Creative Ireland. In kind supporters included the National Council for the Blind and glór. View the videos below to learn more.

Read a review of the premiere at the Journal of Music here

Apprentice Schemes

Bell Harbour Droneys – 2013 Apprentice Schem
  • Community: Our Apprenticeship Schemes are orchestral and choral training programmes which engage communities in ways that truly make a difference.

  • Inclusive: Our schemes are inclusive to musicians trained in classical, traditional, jazz and/or popular music styles, whether or not they can read sheet music.

  • Access: Our schemes also give opportunities to talented musicians who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to orchestral performances either due to disability, age, financial circumstances or the simple fact that the instrument they play isn’t usually used in orchestral training programmes.

  • Legacy: Since 2013 we have trained over 200 talented musicians aged 10 – 90 in our unique performance methods.

  • Advancement: Our schemes provide excellent professional development opportunities. Several apprentices have graduated to perform professionally with us and other ensembles.

  • Membership: Three of our core professional members started with us as apprentices – Matthew Berrill, Alex Borwick and Róisín Donohoe. Several of our deputy members were also apprentices.

  • Mentorship: Apprentices have rehearsed and performed with some of Ireland’s finest musicians under the guidance of scheme leaders Dr. Dave Flynn and Bjorn Bantock.

  • Professional: Apprentices have performed in professionally produced world premieres of large orchestral works in major venues including Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin and glór, sharing the stage with leading soloists including Máirtín O’Connor and Martin Hayes.

  • International Reach: Musicians have travelled from the USA, Canada, Japan, Italy, UK and all over Ireland to take part in our Apprentice Schemes. Our 2021 scheme is limited to Irish citizens and residents due to funding conditions and Covid-19, however we hope to be able to accept international participants again.

Bill Whelan Scholarships

At our last Apprentice Scheme six talented apprentices were awarded scholarships thanks to the generous support of composer Bill Whelan. The winners are pictured below.

Rachel Clancy (sax) 2017 IMO Apprentice of the Year
Rachel Clancy (sax) 2017 IMO Apprentice of the Year
Betty O'Shea (tin whistle) 2017 IMO Young Apprentice of the Year
Betty O’Shea (tin whistle) 2017 IMO Young Apprentice of the Year
Eileen Coyle (voice) 2017 IMO Singer of the Year
Eileen Coyle (voice) 2017 IMO Singer of the Year
John Caulfield (voice)
John Caulfield (voice)
Cara Wildman (percussion)
Cara Wildman (percussion)
Siofra Ni Dubhghaill (harp)
Siofra Ni Dubhghaill (harp)

Vision Symphony Partners

IMO Child & Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Statement and Policy