About Us

Founded in 1938, Cork Orchestral Society presents top-quality classical music of all kinds to the city of Cork, from spellbinding chamber music to spectacular orchestras. Each year the society receives subscriptions from some 400 members, whose support helps the society meet basic costs. In return, members receive a generous discount on ticket prices.

Our concerts are open to everyone whether a member or not, and thanks to the support of the Arts Council and Cork City Council our ticket prices are kept low – in fact the society often presents world class artists at half what it might cost to see them in major international cities.

What our members say about us:

“A worthwhile society, promoting ‘good’ music in the local area.”
“A wide repertoire presented, with high-quality performers at the concerts.”
“There was nothing that I did not enjoy.”
“COS offers a good choice for different tastes.”
“I have never come away from a COS concert without feeling that it has been an occasion. ”
“Many concerts were worth the standing ovation.”
“Too many concerts attended over 30+ years to highlight one favourite.”



Nicki ffrench Davis (director/chair)
Hugh McCarthy (director/secretary)
Tom Doyle (director/treasurer)
Allin Gray (director)
Tom Crowley (director)



Nicki ffrench Davis (b. 1977) is a graduate of UCC Music and NUIG and has a passion for classical, folk and other art music. She has been involved with a number of arts organisations in Cork, both as an employee and at board level. She joined the COS committee in 2006 to help with publicity and in 2013 took on the role of Chair of the board. Currently employed as Building Manager for Arts @ Civic Trust House, she is a board member of Cork Community Artlink (Treasurer) and of Cork Cycling Festival, in addition to her role on the board of Cork Orchestral Society. Nicki is a founding member of Cork Chamber Choir and works freelance as a music journalist, programmer and co-ordinator.

HUGH McCARTHY (Director/Secretary)

Hugh McCarthy is currently senior lecturer at the CIT Cork School of Music where he primarily teaches music technology.  Ensemble playing remains his passion.  He has travelled the east coast of the United States and most European countries as performer, teacher, and composer.  Before working in CIT Hugh enjoyed a foray into the mysterious world of Tango music, a sojourn as a research assistant in Italy, and was employed as administrator of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras. He continues to volunteer with several organisations.  Hugh holds a Master of Science degree in music technology,  Master of Arts degree in music performance (cello), a Bachelor of Music degree and is a recipient of the RTÉ Millenium Musician of the Future prize.

TOM DOYLE (Director/Treasurer)

A graduate of both UCC (BA, PGDE) and the CIT Cork School of Music (BMus, MA), Tom Doyle is highly sought after as a musical director and pianist in Cork City and its environs. With a keen interest in both musical theatre and opera, Tom’s credits as musical director have included productions of The Opera Director based on Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, The Last Five Years (Scruffy Duck Productions), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Mary Red Productions / UCC Dramat), [title of show] and Ragtime (UCC Dramat). He is also the Artistic Director and principal MD of the Hibernian Ensemble which recently staged the musical Songs for a New World in July 2016.

An accomplished pianist and répétiteur, Tom has worked with many singers including Cara O’Sullivan and Mary Hegarty, as well with ensembles such as Irish Youth Opera, the Cork Concert Orchestra and the Band of the First Brigade. Tom lectures in conducting at the CIT Cork School of Music where he also directs the Senior Orchestra.

TOM CROWLEY (Director)

Tom Crowley is a native of Cork. He graduated with honours from the Cork School of Music where he studied for a BMus with Adrian Petcu. During his studies, Tom spent a year on an Erasmus exchange in Bucharest where, amongst other things, his interest was sparked in conducting.

While in Romania, Tom studied under Maesto Dumitru Goia; a disciple of the St.Petersburg school of conducting. It is in Romania that Tom had his professional debut, with the Botosani Philharmonic. He has also conducted the National Chamber Orchestra of Moldova. Before returning home, Tom placed 2nd in the Jeunnes Musicalle International Conducting Competition in 2012.

Now based in Cork, he happily splits his time between the violin and conducting. He is the principal conductor of the Cork Concert Orchestra, conducts the Cork Chamber Choir, the C.E.T.B Youth Orchestra and works frequently with the Quercus Ensemble in Northern Ireland and the Brandylane Orchestra in Cork. He has formed a chamber orchestra in Cork; Stormport Sinfonia, with whom he has most recently recorded a the soundtrack for an Irish documentary – A Doctor’s Sword. Working with various ensembles, Tom has premiered works by many composers, including C.S.L Parker, Sam Perkin, Paul Patterson, Peter Power and Sam Barker.

ALLIN GRAY (Director)

Born and educated in Cork, Allin held a variety of positions in London, including three years with the Metropolitan Police, before returning to Cork in 1995 to study at the Cork School of Music, where he graduated with an honours BMus in 2000.

On completion of his undergraduate studies, Allin took a position as administrator of IAYO. He left to pursue further studies at CIT Cork School of Music in 2003, but stayed in contact with IAYO until his return as Director in 2007.

A guitar player by trade, Allin is a musical pluralist, having performed classical, jazz, rock, folk and techno / drum and bass. He spent several years as guitar player with the Cork School of Music Jazz Big Band and has performed widely throughout Cork and Ireland.

Allin was a founding director of Opera Works Ltd which ran Cork Children’s Chorus, a socially inclusive opera chorus for children in Cork city and County andwas  also a founding director of ARTlifeCULTURE Ltd, which pursues international artistic and cultural opportunities for young people from Ireland.

In 2011, Allin received an MA in music editing at CIT Cork School of Music where he received a scholarship for editing works by Aloys Fleischmann.

Allin is Executive Director of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, Treasurer of the European Orchestra Federation (EOFed), and a Director of the Cork Arts Support Team.

COS is committed to comply with the charity Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), to implement the Guiding Principles of Fundraising, and to comply with the ICTR’s Guiding Principles of Fundraising.

Please click here to download a copy of our most recent audited accounts.

Please click here to download a copy of the Draft Constitution of Cork Orchestra Society.