In 2017 a new musical journey begins in the form of the Irish Youth Brass Ensemble, the youth brass band for the entire island of Ireland. This will be the flagship ensemble for brass and percussion musicians all over Ireland, affording the opportunity for specialised engagement in brass band repertoire, whether from the brass band background or not.
As a young man growing up in Northern Ireland I was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by strong and varied musical influences, from orchestras to choirs, in musical theatre and bands. It was in the brass band genre that my story which still continues today, really began. This encouraging, educative and exhilarating pastime soon became more than a hobby for me, and to this day still shapes and forms my professional pathway. Through countless rehearsals, workshops and courses, I was constantly challenged, reassured and supported by this wonderful music.
Having travelled all over this island for music in a professional capacity, I have been encouraged and invigorated by the talent and potential from brass and percussion musicians all over. It has always been a goal of mine to one day see a flagship course and ensemble to facilitate the talent of Ireland, north and south. To encourage the growth and development, and to support and nurture the stars of today and tomorrow.
And so here we are . . .
It will be my great pleasure and honour to direct these young musicians along with the talented and skilled artistic team, and with the support of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras and The Royal Irish Academy of Music we could not be in a better position to begin the journey. But this journey needs passengers; musicians with a passion to play, share, learn, and have fun, happy to follow but willing to lead. The passengers on this musical excursion will share in a journey of a lifetime with a commitment from the IAYO and its’s partners, groups directed by those who once sat in the very ensembles themselves.
I am excited by the notion that in ten years, when looking back over the first decade of the IYBE, how many young instrumentalists have been engaged, supported, inspired and reassured. All I can ask right now is that you come on the journey with us, help us tell our story.
Irish Youth Brass Ensemble