March 2022

Irish Chamber Orchestra

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh – Vocals

Paul Campbell – Conductor   Dónal O’Connor – Producer


Róisín Re-imagined  (CD Release 10 March)


“Nic Amhlaoibh and Irish Chamber Orchestra have found the sweetest of spots in which to collaborate, always letting the songs dictate the pace and mood, but opening them up to new horizons under the watchful eyes of these wisely chosen composers, and steered by producer Dónal O’Connor”  Siobhan Long – Irish Times

September 2020

The Irish Chamber Orchestra
Katherine Hunka Director/Violin
Finghin Collins Piano
Dermot Dunne Accordion

BACH WITH A BANG!  16 September UCH, Limerick                

“The musicians, all masters of their instruments, played as if their lives (and ours) depended on it, lifting us beyond ourselves, putting us in touch with what we were, what we are and what we will be”.   Jim O’ Brien, The Farming Independent

April 2020

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Katherine Hunka, Director


“Hunka is a dynamic soloist and director with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and they also offer some elegant Schubert and astringent Schnittke, the latter wittily “staged” via a few extra sound effects”.  The Guardian

“Throughout this extremely challenging programme, Katherine Hunka produces a beguiling- melt-in-the-mouth sonority on her Grancino violin. The enchanting Schubert Rondo is by no means the most felicitous of violin works, yet Hunka makes it sound utterly radiant, producing a subtly inflected, silvery purity, enhanced by a magical instinct for cantabile and flawless intonation…”. Julian Haycock BBC Music Magazine

“The lyrical cool of Oblivion has rarely sounded so achingly seductive”. Julian Haycock BBC Music Magazine

“Hunka’s pure tone and silky, insouciant legato phrasing are beguiling – what a startling change after the grit, grain and frisson of the Piazzolla! – and the ICO are terrifically responsive, always rhythmically alert, with propulsive dynamic contrasts and flexible tempi”. Claire Seymour, MusicWeb International

“She (Katherine Hunka) creates an impression of wilful, crisp assertiveness – the jagged lines retain their swagger – but the ensemble sneakily quell her elaborations, luring her back into the accelerating swirl which races excitedly to the close. Claire Seymour, MusicWeb International

December 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Katherine Hunka, Director
Robin Tritschler, Tenor


“The ICO brings along something of the wildness of its Shannonside home, as the players begin the concert in anything but a conventional formation…….. with musicians processing and playing in response to each other, in a dynamic mix of music and movement devised by violinist Diane Daly”.  (Albinoni/Adagio)  Michael Lee, Golden Plec

“This is a work (Dies Natalis) that calls for bold string playing, and it receives it here, with the slow movement beautifully moving”. Michael Lee, Golden Plec

“It ends a fun and stimulating night with an ensemble unafraid to express its personality, earning enthusiastic applause”. Michael Lee, Golden Plec

November 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jorg Widmann, Conductor
Claron McFadden, Soprano


“Widmann played to the ICO, looking at them swaying with the rhythms, having a good time…In effect, it was the entertainment of numbers, endless equations presented like a dazzling cosmic light-show”.  Harry Rolnick, Concertonet.com

“Overall, as rendered by the ICO under Widmann’s precise baton, the music sounded fresh and full of energy…Widmann expertly underlined both witty little details – the strings whip their bows in the air in canon – and the overall arc of the score with its superb interplay between soprano and instrumentalists…Widmann relied more on leader Katherine Hunka, focusing on his clarinet playing and charming the listeners not only with his devilish technique and tremendous dynamic range, but also with humor and the ability to bring an almost vocal quality to the melodies”.  Edward Sava-Segal, Bachtrack


“The enthusiasm with which musicians attack their craft can be infectious. The Irish Chamber Orchestra, a small group based around 18 string players, made a strong case for all the music they played in a vivacious concert…The last facet of the program featured sheer delight in rhythmic drive…This virtuosic display brought out whiffs of techno music in the pulsing bass line and folk music verve…With over-expressive cues and leaning gestures, Widmann shaped sectional contours in Felix Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 8.”  Charles Downey, Washington Post

September 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Sinéad O’Connor, Singer


“Accompanied by the Irish Chamber Orchestra O’Connor summons a one-person weather-front of emotion”. Irish Times

“The Irish Chamber Orchestra accompanied Sinead and have really added to a magnificent performance which also included a fantastic rendition of The Parting Glass and of course the iconic Nothing Compares to You”. Noel Dundon, Tipp Live

September 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Brett Dean, Conductor


“In the atmospheric worlds conjured up by his own, genuinely compact Short Stories, he (Brett Dean) was a peerless guide”.  Michael Dervan, Irish Times

August 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Zehetmair, Director/Violin
Ruth Killios, Violin


“The ICO has flourished in recent years under a string of high-profile conductors, including Jörg Widmann, but few of their concerts have matched the dramatic intensity of this one, the closing orchestral concert of the annual Kilkenny Arts Festival”.  Michael Roddy, Bachtrack

August 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Katherine Hunka, Director


“The players ….found the right expressive mode in David Fennessy’s Hirta Rounds, a force-of-nature response, birds and all, to a visit to the island of Hirta off the Scottish coast”.   Michael Dervan, Irish Times 

June 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jorg Widmann, Conductor / Clarinet


“Without baton or platform, the director produced an exhibition that in synthesis seemed very lively, colorful and vital” La Prensa, Buenos Aires

 “The justified ovation marked the end of the evening. Nobody needed more.” Donato Decina, Criticos Musicales, Buenos Aires

 “The music was powerful….. the Schumann Second Symphony excited and convinced in good hands.” Pablo Bardin, para Música Clásica BA, Buenos Aires

May 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Irish National Opera Irish National Opera Chorus
Peter Whelan / Sinead Hayes, Conductor
Caroline Staunton, Director
Ciaran Bagnall, Set & Lighting
Katie Davenport, Costumes
Sinead Hayes, Chorus Director


“And the conductor and Baroque specialist Peter Whelan maximised its impact of delight, drawing from the Irish Chamber Orchestra the kind of crisp, zesty energy associated with period performance. It riveted you, and you sat there thinking, this feels like it’s going to be very good. And it was. Whelan and his players maintained their vivid Mozart throughout, lithely partnering the singing, antics and moralising on stage”.  Michael Dungan, Irish Times

 Musically and dramatically, the production could hardly be bettered, with the Irish Chamber Orchestra under Peter Whelan’s expertise delivering superbly”. Emer O Kelly, Sunday Independent

 “Mozart’s beguiling and ingenious music drives the story forward in sometimes surprising ways, and it is beautifully played tonight by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Peter Whelan conducting players and singers alike with energy and warmth. The colours of this score are a constant delight, with the woodwind and brass tones adding a vibrant hue”.  Michael Lee, Golden Plec

“Conductor Peter Whelan elicited a fine, taut performance from the Irish Chamber Orchestra, imbuing the score with vim and vigour in the robust moments and warm lyricism in the quieter parts. I don’t think I have ever heard the overture taken at quite such a pace, but it did possess that nervous energy that gave me a frisson of excitement. Overall, this was an enjoyable, satisfying performance that revelled in the opera’s many quirky moments”.  Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack

“Staunton’s production is a notable musical success thanks to the sensitive orchestration of the Irish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Peter Whelan”. nomoreworkhorse.com

April 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jörg Widmann
Chamber Choir Ireland, Genia Kühmeier, Anna Devin & Colin Balzer


“Conductor Jörg Widmann drove the piece with high energy. The choral singing was first rate. And the vocal soloists – sopranos Genia Kühmeier and Anna Devin, and tenor Colin Balzer – projected strongly and musically.” Michael Dervan, Irish Times

March 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Zehetmair, Conductor/Violin


“Zehetmair sounded as if he wanted his Mozart to make a difference, through the urgency of its expressiveness, the overtly interventionist micro-detailing of dynamics and articulation.” Michael Dervan, Irish Times

“The Irish Chamber Orchestra’s concert ended with Mozart’s Symphony No 29 in A, as astonishingly mature a work as has ever been created by a teenager (Mozart was just 18 when he completed it in 1774). It was here that Zehetmair’s energy seemed to find its best musical match.”  Michael Dervan, Irish Times

February 2019

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jörg Widmann


“In the same week, the Irish Chamber Orchestra under Jörg Widmann, at Christ Church Cathedral on Wednesday, went for big-boned impression-seeking in Beethoven (a performance of the Grosse Fuge with real grunt), Korngold (the rich-textured Symphonic Serenade), and Mendelssohn (a highly energised account of the ninth of the teenage String Symphonies), with Widmann’s own Aria providing some contrasting filigree.” – Michael Dervan, Irish Times


September 2018, Dublin

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jean Christophe Spinosi


“..Spinosi’s relentless energy did seem to radiate outwards generating an upbeat, vibrant atmosphere – a quality that seems to have become something of an ICO trademark.”  Adrian Smith, The Journal of Music

“…the orchestra deserve great credit for maintaining their policy of commissioning new work and integrating it alongside pieces from the standard repertoire, thus setting an example that certain other state-funded orchestras would do well to replicate.”  Adrian Smith, The Journal of Music

September 2018, Dublin

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Chamber Choir Ireland


“The performance was riveting from start to finish” Michael Dervan, Irish Times

September 2018, Tipperary

Irish Chamber Orchestra
The Stunning, An Emotional Fish, The Hothouse Flowers, The 4ofUs, The Frank & Walters


“It’s a beautifully balanced set with the delicate opening trio of Aeroplanes, Time is on the Wall and Julian bedecked with the luxurious strings of the ICO and backing vocals of Ciara Meade before they unleash the perfect howling storm of Lace Virginia….and Féile Classical finally feels like a proper concert. “ Golden Plec

“That sets the scene for the onslaught of Brewing Up a Storm with the ICO unleashing some ferocious strings and percussion accompanying Steve Wall and the gang to deliver an overpowering set finale”.  ­Golden Plec

August 2018, Kilkenny Arts Festival

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jorg Widmann Conductor
Caroline Widmann Violin


“an eloquent and imaginative account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto” Michael Dervan, Irish Times

“Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony had a tautness of energy, sometimes touched with fierceness that kept one on the edge of one’s seat” Michael Dervan, Irish Times

April 2018

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Irish National Opera


“Under his (Peter Whelan’s) guidance the Irish Chamber Orchestra in the pit becomes a character in its own right, not just driving and supporting the drama, but effectively commenting on it, too.   Whelan doesn’t just glory in Mozart’s gorgeous writing for wind instruments. He shapes and frames phrases in ways that seem entirely fresh, sometimes generating a growl or a mutter, sometimes acting like a powerful spur to energise the action on the stage………. The brio and the poignancy of the orchestral music-making is well matched by the responsiveness of both singing and acting.” Michael Dervan, Irish Times

“He (Patrick Mason) was abetted by the conductor Peter Whelan, who coaxed fleet playing from the Irish Chamber Orchestra” Hugh Canning Sunday Times

“the Irish Chamber Orchestra delivered with its usual panache under conductor Peter Whelan” Dick O Riordan, Sunday Business Post

“Conductor Peter Whelan and the Irish Chamber Orchestra gave what was an invigorating performance, full of energy and lightness of touch.. ..The balance was well struck between singers and orchestra allowing the glorious vocal lines to soar.” Andrew Larkin, Backtrack

“Under Patrick Mason’s direction and the baton of Peter Whelan, this is an evening of unalloyed pleasure from beginning to end. Patrick Viale, No More Workhouse  

March 2018

Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jorg Widmann Principal Conductor
Elisabeth Leonskaja Piano


“The Irish Chamber Orchestra has spoiled the Heidelberger Frühling: with the beauty of their music and with the incredible enthusiasm in their music making. This would be unimaginable without their first guest principal conductor Jörg Widmann who again brought his clarinet with him”. Rhein-Neckar, Zeitung

“Widmann’s energy doesn’t seem to have any boundaries, he simply motivates everyone around him, be it the hard working shining brass, the zippy violins or the juicy explosions in sound.” Rhein-Neckar, Zeitung

“Widmann pushes down the order of events, step by step, all the way into the cellar. What an evening!” Rhein-Neckar, Zeitung

“The IrishChamber Orchestra follows him (Widmann) unconditionally.” – Mannheimer Morgen

Changing lives through music

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