The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland

The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland

About NYOI

Ireland's leading youth ensemble, the National Youth Orchestra aims to be a cultural beacon, acting as the pinnacle of orchestral experience for both members and the wider community.

Our mission is to nurture young orchestral musicians, enabling them to reach their full potential by providing exceptional education and performance opportunities in the full symphonic repertoire.


Our Values

  • Excellence in realising the creativity and artistry of our members.
  • Collaboration, participation, and equal access to musical training and experiences of the highest calibre for young musicians across all parts of Ireland.
  • Responsibility in our approach to the care and nurture of young musicians.


Our History

In the summer of 1970 Olive Smith brought together 63 musicians aged 14-20 from all parts of Ireland for a residential course in County Wicklow. Hugh Maguire accepted the role of Musical Director and Conductor, and the orchestra grew and flourished with members coming from all over Ireland.

Yesterday was a proud day for Ógra Ceoil when it launched after only eighteen months, the new Irish Youth Orchestra. Indeed, it was a thrilling occasion for everyone in the hall and it was fitting and pleasant that the Taoiseach led the standing ovation at the end." - The Irish Times, January 1972.

Since it convened its first course in 1970, the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland has involved nearly 5,000 young artists in orchestral performance of full symphonic repertoire. For over 50 years, it has provided training and orchestral opportunities of the highest calibre to exceptional Irish musicians, and performed concerts across the country and internationally; from the Symphony Hall in Boston, Avery Fisher Hall in New York and the Kennedy Centre in Washington, to The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Berlin and across Europe, the USA and Asia.



The Patron of the Orchestra is Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland.

From 2001 - 2011 President Mary McAleese honoured the orchestra as Patron.



NYOI is generously funded by the Department of Education & Skills and The Arts Council. 

Other pages in this area:

Programmes The Board Testimonials