County Kildare Orchestra is an amateur orchestra based in Kildare. Our mission is to bring great music to local audiences and to give musicians in Kildare and nearby counties opportunities to play challenging and exciting orchestral music. We play several concerts each year in Kildare and surrounding counties.
CKO was founded in 1998 by Berna Hayden and likeminded people to enable talented Kildare musicians to perform the greatest music for the widest audiences. The orchestra plays in venues around County Kildare, including at Castletown House and at Kildare Cathedral, and has toured nationally and internationally.
We have been joined by world-class soloists such as Vincent Hunt and Sebastien Petiet (RTÉ Concert Orchestra) and have had a long association with Seiko Tsukamoto (Finalist, Queen Elisabeth Competition). Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty performed her orchestral debut with the Orchestra.
The orchestra’s repertoire is diverse and ranges from the Baroque to John Barry. With Seiko Tsukamoto, we have performed piano concertos from Chopin, Grieg, Rachmaninov, and Mozart. Our symphonic repertoire features Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Dvorak, and we have explored overtures from Elgar, Sibelius, Copeland and others.
We support Irish composers such as Rachel Holstead, whose ‘Cath Fionntrá’ was performed at our inaugural concert, and Patrick Scarlett, whose 1916 commemorative piece Laochra na Cáisce received its world premiere when we performed it in Castletown House in 2016. Brian Hughes’ 'Shackleton Suite', a multimedia piece depicting the struggle and triumph of the 1914 expedition of Antarctica, is a favourite in our repertoire.
We additionally enjoy exploring less well-known pieces in the classical repertoire, and in June 2019 we performed the Irish premiere of Haydn’s Concerto for Two French Horns (soloists Cormac Ó hAodáin and Peter Mullen)
We are also very proud to support up-and-coming local talent, recently we were delighted to welcome clarinet soloist Christopher Moriarty-Pearson to perform with us.