The Clare Memory Orchestra is a uniquely Irish orchestra founded by composer Dave Flynn, who has combined some of Ireland’s leading traditional and classical musicians to create a distinctive new sound:
A string section infused with the sound of Irish fiddles, a wind section mixing Irish flutes, whistles and pipes with the haunting tone of the oboe, a harmonic background of Irish harp and guitar and a dynamic rhythm section mixing rumbling double bass and ticking percussion. Add to that booming bronze-age horns, triumphant trumpets and trombones, crooning concertinas and the amazing accordion playing of honorary guest member Mairtín O'Connor and you have a thrilling new sound that has brought audiences to their feet at every concert the CMO has played.
The orchestra gets its name from the fact that the musicians play from memory, without the barrier of sheet-music on stage and that they are based in Clare County on the West Coast of Ireland.
The CMO operates with a core chamber orchestra of 20 world class musicians, however The CMO made history on Nov 8th 2013 when a specially expanded 70 piece Clare Memory Orchestra premiered Dave Flynn's hour long 'Clare Concerto' entirely from memory to a rousing reception from the capacity audience at glór theatre, Ennis. The orchestra for the premiere featured three generations of Ireland's finest musicians.
The CMO has come a long way in very quick time following its debut concert in 2012 where a 15 piece chamber orchestra performed as the showcase event of Clare's Culture Night. They have since performed to great acclaim at the Feakle International Festival of Traditional Music, headlining in a performance with Artists in Association Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill.
In June 2013 the CMO presented the first International Clare Memory Orchestra Festival of Memorised Music in various venues in Clare. The festival featured special guests Martin Hayes, Íarla Ó Lionaird, Mary Bergin, Johnny Óg Connolly and Steve Cooney.
Following this CMO held auditions for their innovative Apprenticeship Scheme from which 50 'apprentice' musicians were selected to be mentored by the CMO section leaders to premiere 'The Clare Concerto' following a commission by Clare County Council under the Per Cent for Arts Scheme.
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