Irish Chamber Orchestra

The Irish Chamber Orchestra is Ireland’s most dynamic ensemble. Mixing traditional repertoire with new commissions, and collaborating with everyone from DJs to dance companies, the ICO pushes the boundaries of what a chamber orchestra can do. Likely to be found at Electric Picnic as Mozartfest, but wherever it performs, the ICO delivers world-class concerts feted for its energy and style.

Each year, the ICO presents concert seasons in both Limerick and Dublin, embarks on two national tours, and makes a number of prestigious international appearances. Its artistic committee works closely with Jörg Widmann (principal conductor/artistic partner) and Katherine Hunka (leader), to devise exciting, diverse and innovative programmes, mixing standard repertoire with new work – often specially commissioned – from the best young Irish composers. This versatile approach enables the ICO to appeal to music fans of every stripe while upholding the highest artistic standards.

Its groundbreaking initiative, Sing Out with Strings (SOWS), offers primary school children in Limerick the chance to learn music. The runaway success of SOWS has inspired the orchestra to set up a youth orchestra, the ICOYO, which provides aspiring musicians aged 12–18 years with the support they need to grow. The orchestra has made its home at the University of Limerick for over 20 years, and is deeply involved in the MA in Classical String Performance, supporting young talent through workshops and masterclasses.

The ICO is orchestra-in-residence at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, and is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

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