RTÉ Concert Orchestra

RTÉ Concert Orchestra

Our Story

Principal Guest Conductor Stephen Bell
Associate Artist Guy Barker
Conductor Laureate Proinnsías Ó Duinn
Leader Mia Cooper

Introducing orchestral music to new audiences since 1948, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra has built a strong connection with the public that saw it voted the World’s Favourite Orchestra 2015. Eclectic programming sees the RTÉ CO perform with artists including Pavarotti, Lang Lang, Lalo Schifrin, Marvin Hamlisch and Cleo Laine. Performances with Irish artists include Declan O’Rourke, Sinéad O’Connor, Imelda May, Eleanor McEvoy, Wallis Bird, Maura O’Connell, Lisa Hannigan, Mick Flannery, James Vincent McMorrow, Faye O’Rourke, Andrea Corr and Jerry Fish. A hugely successful collaboration with RTÉ 2fm and DJ Jenny Greene won the IMRO Outstanding Achievement Award 2018, and early in 2020 A Woman’s Heart Orchestrated and a Leonard Cohen tribute made a strong impact both as live events and as TV and radio broadcasts.

The RTÉ CO performed in seven Eurovision Song Contests, including the famous Riverdance interval act. Film credits include Stephen Rennicks’ score to Room and Brian Byrne’s Golden Globe-nominated score to Albert Nobbs. Recordings include Korngold’s Violin Concerto with Andrew Haveron conducted by John Wilson, Howard Shore’s A Palace Upon the Ruins and Niall Horan’s Flicker.

Opera, ballet and choral performances include collaborations with Irish National Opera, English National Ballet and Our Lady’s Choral Society. Films performed with live score include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the world première of Vertigo, the Irish première of A Nightmare Before Christmas performed with Danny Elfman and Mise Éire.

The RTÉ CO has appeared as the ‘house orchestra’ on The Late Late Show, on Dancing with the Stars, in the Centenary concert, in Instrumental, The High Hopes Choir and Shine. Recent collaborations with top talent including Villagers, Zoë Conway and Moving Hearts have been aired on Bank Holidays on RTÉ Radio 1.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the RTÉ CO has continued to produce a wide range of high-quality work. The orchestra featured on The Den and Home School Hub., filmed for Pride, for Comic Relief and for charity, and collaborated with Irish National Opera on 20 Shots of Opera. Acclaimed projects from this period include performances with Dermot Kennedy and Denise Chaila for RTÉ TV, the chart-topping single  ‘N17’ with Tolü Makay, recording and performing new jazz arrangements by Guy Barker and Cormac McCarthy, an award-winning John Lennon tribute, a 50th anniversary celebration of Clannad, and a TV tribute to David Bowie with an international line-up including members of Bowie’s own band.

All the members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra are great artists individually – put together you can imagine. - Lalo Schifrin, Movie/jazz legend