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.”
Tom Crowley (director)
Tom Doyle (treasurer)
Nicki ffrench-Davis (director/chair)
Maria Judge (director)
Sarah Keane (director)
Hugh McCarthy (director/secretary)
Pax O Faoláin (director)
Joan Scannell (director)
NICKI FFRENCH DAVIS (Director/Chair)
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 and CIT Cork School of Music, 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 I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Chattyboo Productions), American Idiot (CIT Musical Society), Songs for a New World (Hibernian Ensemble), The Opera Director based on Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, The Last Five Years (Scruffy Duck Productions), [title of show] (UCC Dramat) and Ragtime (UCC Dramat).
An accomplished pianist and répétiteur, Tom has worked with many singers including Cara O’Sullivan, Majella Cullagh and Mary Hegarty, as well as 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 and the musical theatre group Union.
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.
JOAN SCANNELL (Director)
Joan Scannell is a cellist and has been Head of String String Studies at CIT Cork School of Music since 2006. Joan is a Cork native and was one of the first students selected from her primary school for the, then experimental, Suzuki String Programme, piloted by Denise and Renee Lane, as an initiative of the CSM and its director Bernard Curtis. The CSM Suzuki Scheme continues to be an integral part of the city’s music education infrastructure under her watchful eye. Joan later studied with Canadian cellist, Paul Pulford, and also Michael Steinkuhler, Ursula Willis and Gerry Kelly.
An honours BMus graduate of UCC, Joan also was awarded an MA in Performance from CIT CSM, having previously been awarded a Dip.CSM – the precursor of the current BMus degree. She combined a career as a freelance orchestral player – RTE National Symphony Orchestra; Galway Baroque; East Cork Choral Society et. – with her teaching for Cork School of Music, Cork County School of Music, and Kerry School of Music. A keen chamber musician, Joan was for many years a member of the Orpheus Trio, among other groups, performing around the country and making several broadcasts for RTE TV. She also lectured and coached chamber music at University College Cork and was, for a time, a member of Jimmy Crowley’s infamous Stoker’s Lodge!
Since becoming Head, Joan has managed a period of change and has kept the String Department as the preeminent centre for string training, at every level, in Ireland. Recruiting all four members of the original Vanbrugh String Quartet, and many professionals from the Irish Chamber Orchestra has been key to maintaining the standard that continues to see students and graduates continue to win national and international awards and prizes and become appointed to positions in professional orchestras around the world.
SARAH KEANE (Director)
Sarah Keane is a native of Waterford. She is currently a student on the Bachelor of Music degree in the CIT Cork School of Music. Sarah has been exposed to music through-out her life so far, having attended primary and secondary Irish speaking schools who had great emphasis on music in both schools. She has been playing piano from the age of 9 and began her degree in 2015. She has since developed a further love for choral singing through her experience with the CSM choir, Cappella Lyrica. Sarah also became a member of the Irish Youth Choir in 2017 and is an avid chorister. Sarah is also passionate about music education and hopes to pursue a career in this field. Sarah is currently the chairperson of the CIT Alexander Technique Society. Sarah began volunteering for the Cork Orchestral Society at the end of 2016 and now is a director of COS who hopes to contribute to student concert-going during her term as a director.
PAX O FAOLÁIN (Director)
Pax Ó Faoláin is a native of the Waterford Gaeltacht, An Rinn, and is currently studying for his Bachelor of Music degree in the CIT Cork School of Music. He is a passionate traditional Irish musician who plays fiddle and sings in the sean-nós style, amongst other aspects of his musical backgrounds. He has also developed a great love for classical music over the years and now studies classical violin as an extra-curricular activity in the CIT Cork School of Music. Pax is the founder of the CIT Traditional Music Society and is currently Chairperson of the society. Pax has been a Year Representative for the BMus degree for 2 years with the aim of assisting all students studying in the CIT Cork School of Music.
Pax is also a member of the acclaimed traditional music group called “Nuadán” who released their debut album called “Lá Laindí Lugha” in 2016. As well as being an avid performer, Pax is currently teaching fiddle in Comhaltas na Dúglaise and has been teaching for the past 6 years. Pax has a keen interest in other areas of music such as early childhood music education, music therapy and injury prevention/cure for musicians. Pax hopes to become and ITM Alexander Technique teacher after his degree and to continue his career in music education and performance. Pax began volunteering for the Cork Orchestral Society at the end of 2016 and was nominated for a directors role on the board of the Cork Orchestral Society in October 2017.
MARIA JUDGE (Director)
Maria Judge is Head of Musicianship and Academic Studies at the CIT Cork School of Music. She studied at UCC and at the Kodály Institute, Hungary. As a composer, Maria was awarded the Ó Ríada prize for Composition at the Cork International Choral Festival and has had a number of works performed on radio and television, most notably by the Chamber Choir of Ireland, Cois Claddaigh, Galway and Turivox Chamber Choir, Zurich. In addition to her Academic Leadership of one of the largest Departments in the Cork School of Music, Maria currently conducts the 60-strong CSM Junior Childrens’ Chorus and also, Cappella Lyrica, award-winning female-voice choir of CSM Degree students. Thie choir has established a relationship with contemporary music in the commissioning of new works by Irish composers, and in the performance of new music, most recently the premiere of Out Into by Emily Hall and Enda Walsh with Crash Ensemble at the 2017 Sounds of a Safe Harbour Festival.
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.
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