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Ulster Youth Orchestra 25th Anniversary Alumni Concert

Monday 10th December 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

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2018 has seen the Ulster Youth Orchestra mark its anniversary with a showcase tour to Vienna and Bratislava ending with a thrilling concert at the Ulster Hall in August and to close this special year, on Saturday 29th December, it will bring players from every one of its past 25 years together for what promises to be an electrifying evening!

The formation of the Ulster Youth Orchestra 25 years ago arose from a partnership between Northern Ireland’s then five Education and Library Boards (now the Education Authority) and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The founding aim of the UYO was to bridge the gap between the work of the local education authority music services and tertiary level music education. 

The UYO strives to ensure that the activities and opportunities provided are relevant, affordable and that they empower young musicians to feel confident and prepared no matter which career path they take.  Over the years, over 2500 young musicians from all parts of Northern Ireland have had the opportunity to study with international conductors and some of the finest musicians in Europe and many have gone on to pursue highly successful professional music careers. 

The legacy of 25 years of high quality orchestral training and the camaraderie shared through our annual residential courses will be evident as the orchestra come together to perform the exhilarating Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.

Paula Klein, UYO General Manager, says:

“We are thrilled to re-connect everyone for this special milestone event and to begin the next exciting chapter full of pride in what has been achieved over the past 25 years. It promises to be a fabulous evening and we are extremely proud to have this high quality of home-grown musical talent returning to the Ulster Hall stage.”

Michael McHale, although best known as an internationally renowned pianist began his UYO connection as leader of the cello section. In 2017 Michael McHale took up his position as Patron of the Ulster Youth Orchestra alongside Sir James Galway and Barry Douglas. Michael commented:

“Everyone who has been involved with and benefitted from the Ulster Youth Orchestra over the years is very proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary. As a patron and former member of the orchestra, I’m delighted to join a group of alumni of all ages to perform in the Ulster Hall on 29 December, and we hope you will join us there, to send UYO towards its next twenty five years in style!”

Leader Joanne Quigley McParland led the very first orchestra and returns to her seat, 25 years later, with a long and varied professional career to her credit.  She explains what the UYO means to her:

“The UYO has been a huge part of my musical life for the past 25 years. It afforded me my first outings as an orchestral leader and provided some of the most memorable musical experiences of my career. I feel privileged to have been a member of the orchestra when it was in its infancy and also to have been part of the tutor team since 2006. Such a wealth of musical talent has come through the ranks since the first UYO course in 1994 and NI should be proud to have an educational institution which provides world class artistic experiences for our young people. I am proud to be associated with UYO and look forward to the next 25 years!”

Conductor Paul McCusker was a violinist with UYO for seven years, remarked:

"It's a pleasure to be invited back to conduct the UYO alumni concert as it's a fabulous opportunity to celebrate all the talented people that have passed through the orchestra over the years. So many former members have gone on to have successful careers in music, with many others continuing to perform at a high level in their spare time. To have so many of these people back together will be a very special occasion, especially with Michael and Joanne at the forefront of proceedings!"


Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

“Congratulations to the Ulster Youth Orchestra on achieving 25 years as the foremost youth music provider in the training, development, and showcasing of our finest young musicians in Northern Ireland.  The Arts Council is proud to be principal funder of this important organisation and is also delighted to have been able to support the commissioning of a new composition by Ryan Molloy and tour to Vienna and Bratislava, earlier this year, to mark this special 25-year milestone.  I would encourage everyone to go along to the alumni concert which promises to be an evening of magnificent music.”

Tickets are on sale NOW for this unique performance on Saturday 29th December 2018 at the Ulster Hall, Belfast starting at the earlier time of 7pm.

£16.50/£6.00 concession, 028 9033 4455/ www.ulsterhall.co.uk and at the door.

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