Children start their ensemble playing experience one year after commencing lessons (or as soon as they are able to read music) by joining the Junior Orchestra. The members of the YES Junior Orchestra range in age from 4 to 6 years. The Junior Orchestra meets every Saturday during the term for half an hour. During the year they have the opportunity to play at School recitals in preparation for the annual showcase concert held in June each year.
The YES Intermediate Orchestra members range in age from 6 to 14 years. Many of the students will have 5 or more years of music education and most will previously have been members of the YES Junior Orchestra. The Intermediate Orchestra meets every Saturday morning during term time for one hour. The repertoire can include music from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary eras.
The Orchestra performs at school recitals during the year and at the end of year concert. In addition, the Orchestra participates in competitions, tours, festivals and outreach events. In 2015 they have won first prize in the Open Orchestras category of the Feis Ceoil.
For well over a decade, the members of the Young European Strings Chamber Orchestra (YESCO) have received weekly individual instrumental lessons, orchestral training and theory classes during the school year, and have attended master classes with well-known international pedagogues during the Autumn school breaks, and in the Summer months. Regular workshops and open classes give each of the students the opportunity to test their work in public.
Under the baton of Artistic Director Ronald Masin, YESCO has attained a high level of achievement and a uniquely distinctive sound. The orchestra won the first prize in the orchestra category of the 1999 Feis Ceoil and made their international debut with a highly successful concert tour of Finland in January 2001. Contemporary Irish and international composers are regularly commissioned by the YES School of Music to write works to complement the existing string orchestra repertoire. At present this repertoire stretches from early baroque to late twentieth-century music and each season YESCO enlarges it with at least two major works for string ensemble.
Besides their regular engagements within the framework of YES School of Music concerts, YESCO is often invited to partake in performances organised by fundraising committees and other platforms for young musicians.
Members of the orchestra are also presented as individual players in national and international competitions. For example, Gina Maria McGuinness completed her BMus studies at the University of Sion (Switzerland), under Pavel Vernikov, and YES Alumnus David O'Doherty is active both in Lausanne, where he is a member of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and in Dublin where he is lecturer at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.
The Orchestra has to date released three albums: the first was launched in November 2003 and featured music by Tchaikovsky and Grieg, amongst other compositions for strings. The second album, The Marino Suite (2006), was a collaboration between YESCO and John Sheahan of The Dubliners, including arrangements of Sheahan's melodies by renowned Irish composer Raymond Deane. The latest release, Third Edition (2012), showcases the Orchestra's skills with music by Mahler, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and the world premiere of the 'Five Piece Suite' by Raymond Deane.
The aim of our school is to keep these young musicians together on a long-term basis. They represent a unique type of musician, in that they are not only excellent musicians in their own right but, having spent a vast part of their childhood and early teens making music together, they have developed a unique sound of their own, a repertoire of chamber music for string orchestra which they play by memory and a style and presence on stage which belies both their age and the fact that they are still primary and secondary-school students.
Recent engagements of the orchestra have included performances in the Pillar Room of the Rotunda, in the National Concert Hall, and as special guests of IAYO gala concerts. Moreover, the ensemble has taken part in several international competitions and festivals.
- In 2015, they won first prize Summa Cum Laude, in the category String and Symphony Orchestras during the 63rd International
- Instrumental festival and competition "Europees Muziekfestival", in Neerpelt, Belgium.
- In 2009, they won first prize in the 'Orchestras' category in the international competition Jugend & Musik in Wien which took place in Vienna.
- 2006 Achievement Award by the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras.
- YESCO has consistently won prizes at the Dublin Feis Ceoil competitions.
- Members of the Chamber Orchestra have toured in Finland, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium to high acclaim.
- YESCO has performed in prestigious venues, such as the Brussels Conservatoire.
- For the fourth year running, YESCO will take part in the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in June 2015.
Repertoire of the Young European Strings Chamber Orchestra as of 2015
- Johann Sebastian Bach - Concerto for violin in D minor BWV (reconstruction)
- Johannes Brahms - Sextet in G major
- John Buckley - Music for Strings «In the Earth and Air»
- Raymond Deane - Hungarian Jewish Melodies
- Fritz Kreisler - Schön Rosmarin
- John Kinsella - Elegy, for strings
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Divertimento KV 136
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Octet
- Heitor Villa-Lobos - Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for solo violin and 5 violas
- Samuel Barber - Adagio Op. 11
- Bela Bartók - Divertimento for Strings
- Johann Sebastian Bach - Double Concerto; Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; Air on the G string; Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor
- Benjamin Britten - Simple Symphony
- Johannes Brahms - Hungarian Dance No. 5
- Luigi Boccherini - Minuet
- Raymond Deane - Five Piece Suite for strings; The Marino Suite (arrangements of original tunes by John Sheahan); A baroque session (with Carolan and friends)
- Antonin Dvorák - Serenade No. 1 Op. 22; Humoreske Op. 101; Slavonic Dances No. 10 Op. 72 & No. 8 Op. 46
- Edward Elgar - Serenade in E minor Op. 20; Salut d'Amour; Introduction and Allegro for Strings Op. 47
- George Gershwin - Lullaby for strings
- Edvard Grieg - Holberg Suite; The Death of Åse & Anitra's Dance
- Gustav Holst - St. Paul's Suite
- Joseph Haydn - Symphony No. 83
- Scott Joplin - The Entertainer
- Leopold Mozart - Cassatio ex G (Toy Symphony)
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Divertimento KV138; Divertimento KV136; Violin Concerto K219; Eine Kleine Nachtmusik; Sinfonia
- Concertante in E flat Major for Violin and Viola KV364
- Monti - Czardas
- Gustav Mahler - Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
- Gioacchino Rossini - Sonata for string No. 3 in C Major
- Johann Strauss - Annen Polka Op. 117; Pizzicato Polka; Tritsch-Tratsch Polka; Blue Danube
- Josef Suk - Serenade Op. 6 for String Orchestra
- Peter Tchaikovsky - Serenade in C Op. 48; Sounvenir de Florence; Chanson Saus Parole Op. 2 No.3
- Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons; Concerto for Two Violins Op. 3 No.8; Concerto for Three Violins RV551; Concerto for Four Violins RV580
- Peter Warlock - Capriol Suite
2011: Recording of the third album of the YES Chamber Orchestra under the baton of their Artistic Director Ronald Masin
The Marino Suite
2007: Recording of the second YES album, The Marino Suite, a collaboration between John Sheahan of The Dubliners and the YES Chamber Orchestra.
Young European Strings Chamber Orchestra
2003: Recording of the first album of the YES Chamber Orchestra under the baton of their Artistic Director Ronald Masin.
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