The Orchestra of St Cecilia Collection: 1995 – 2014

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Orchestra of St CeciliaThe Dublin City Public Library and Archive has recently acquired the Orchestra of St Cecilia Collection, deposited by manager/artistic director Lindsay Armstrong after his retirement and the dissolution of the company at the end of 2014. The collection comprises Armstrong’s comprehensive administrative records arranged chronologically with individual folders for each orchestral performance.  It documents the detailed practicalities of managing an orchestra and putting on independent concerts. The collection includes proofs, drafts and final versions of concert programmes, posters, flyers, correspondence (letters, notes, cards, postcards, faxes, emails), programme notes, recordings, soloists and conductor’ biographies and headshots, press-cuttings, invoices, receipts, contracts, legal documentation, grant applications, sponsorship documentation and general handwritten administrative notes (e.g. budgetary calculations and lists of orchestral performers with their position). Access to the collection provides unparalleled insight into the processes involved in professional orchestra and event management from the turn of the twenty-first century through recession times in Dublin.

Orchestra of St Cecilia Collection List (PDF 1.05MB) Cannot access PDF?

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VimeoPodcastYou can view here a random selection of programmes, flyers and posters by selecting from the side menu where they are presented in chronological order.

PLUS the first two menu items - Bach Church Cantatas Highlights and Haydn Complete Symphonies Highlights are concert recordings featuring highlights from the Orchestra of St Cecilia.

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About the Orchestra of St Cecilia

David Brophy, ‘Orchestra of Saint Cecilia’, The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, ed. Harry White and Barra Boydell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013), p.792. Reproduced with permission.

Dublin-based chamber orchestra founded in 1995 following an Arts Council decision to relocate the Irish Chamber Orchestra to the University of Limerick campus. Membership is largely drawn from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the remainder being engaged as freelance musicians, totalling up to 60 players. The orchestra gives approximately 25 performances every year, about half of which are engagements with choirs and other ensembles. Fees from professional engagements alongside ticket sales account for a substantial part of the orchestra’s funding, the balance coming from private sponsorship and donations. All managerial and administrative duties are borne by co-founder Lindsay Armstrong, former manager of the New Irish Chamber Orchestra (NICO), and former Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. The orchestra’s core activities have centred on complete cycles of Mozart’s piano concertos with Hugh Tinney (1996-8), Beethoven’s symphonies conducted by Barry Douglas (2002) and a remarkable cycle of the complete Bach church cantatas performed at St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street over a period of 10 years (2001-10). Other choral repertoire includes works by Monteverdi, Brahms, Bernstein and Karl Jenkins. Belfast-born conductor Kenneth Montgomery has directed concert performances of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Don Giovanni (2006, 2008), employing an all-Irish cast at the National Concert Hall. The orchestra performed at the Amsterdam Summer Festival in 2000, and several concerts in the Bach Church Cantata series have been broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm. Brona Fitzgerald was appointed leader in 2005, succeeding the former leader of Nico, Mary Gallagher. In 2007 and 2009 the orchestra made extremely successful appearances with Neville Mariner. In 2011, the orchestra embarked on a project to perform the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn in a five-year cycle of concerts at the new University Church, Dublin.

About Lindsay Armstrong

Manager/artistic director of the Orchestra of St Cecilia. Formerly oboist and cor anglais player with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, co-founder and manager of the New Irish Chamber Orchestra, general manager of the National Concert Hall and director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Further Reading

David Brophy, ‘Lindsay Armstrong’, The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, ed. Harry White and Barra Boydell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013), p.30
David Brophy, ‘Orchestra of Saint Cecilia’, The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, ed. Harry White and Barra Boydell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013), p.792.
Lindsay Armstrong, ‘Orchestra of St. Cecilia – An Elegy’, Sound Post: Newsletter of the MUI: Musicians’ Union of Ireland (Spring 2015), pp. 6-7
Orchestra of St Cecilia (website): www.orchestrastcecilia.ie

Dr Catherine Ferris is a Researcher at the Research Foundation for Music in Ireland. Her work focuses on the contextual history of everyday musical life in Ireland and the use of archival materials for research. As a librarian and music cataloguer, she has worked on collections in the National Library of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, The Abbey Theatre and the Dublin Institute of Technology.

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