The Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra is a collaboration between the Irish Baroque Orchestra and the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras supported by the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

claire-duffDue to coronavirus restrictions, the IYBO will unfortunately not be meeting and performing concerts together this July. This is a real shame as I look forward every year to the IYBO experience. The level of progress which is made in one week is truly remarkable and I love to witness how a random group of strangers and some friends can gather together and within a few days become a true and unified orchestra. Friendships are made and there is always a lot of fun mixed in with a lot of learning.

I am pleased to say that, despite restrictions, we are nevertheless continuing to provide a course. This year it will be entirely online. This is actually a very exciting opportunity for us to learn together in a very different way. Musicians always have the deadline of performing a concert. On the one hand, a performance deadline is a great way to focus our energy and concentration. On the other, the need to be able to master the pieces can take up so much time that there often isn’t enough energy or time remaining to really step back and think about the music and learn it away from the instruments.

During IYBO 2020 we will have the unique experience of an orchestra coming together online to discuss and learn from each other without actually playing together. Our main focus will be Bach and baroque dance. We will learn Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 from looking at the score, thinking about the dances and listening to various performances. There will be discussions and analysis on different interpretations and styles. The students will also be submitting their own performances of Bach’s dances from his Partitas for solo violin and his Bach cello suites. With contributions from the baroque dance expert Mary Collins, and the experienced tutors, Malcolm Proud, Aoife Nic Athlaoich, Lisa Dowdall and Miriam Kaczor, the students will experience some intense training over a few days. In addition, there will be a professional development strand including input from Aliye Cornish and an interview with Rachel Podger. Each day will end with an online Feldenkrais lesson with Sabine Volkmann, which will be a wonderful way for everyone to relax and develop their awareness of their bodies and how they move.

I’m really looking forward to what should be a stimulating online adventure together!

Claire Duff
Artistic Director
Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra