Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra
Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra – Bio
The Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra was established in January 2014. Having worked together for many years, it’s founding members Keith Kelly and Barbara Dowling endeavoured to put together a high calibre wind band to perform Johan de Meijs Symphony No. 1 “The Lord of the Rings.” This ensemble would be made up of wind band musicians from around Ireland. It quickly became clear that musicians were very excited at the prospect of performing exceptional wind band music at a very high level, and so, The Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra had been born. In January 2014 under the baton of Liam Daly, ISWO gave its first public performance in Athlone, Co. Westmeath.
The members of ISWO are over 25 years old and from all corners of the island of Ireland and beyond representing over 25 community bands. Our musicians are from both amateur and professional organisations. They are family, friends, and acquaintances who all mix together at our workshop weekend and create a great sense of unity and camaraderie.
Since 2014, the ensemble has caught the eye and interest of international composers such as Philip Sparke and Johan de Meij. In September 2015, ISWO invited and, was honoured to welcome Philip Sparke to conduct a programme of his own music, and In September 2016, less than three years since the idea of performing “The Lord of the Rings” became a reality, ISWO invited Johan De Meij to Ireland to conduct some of his works including “The Hobbits” from Symphony No 1 which brought the whole concept full circle.
In 2017, ISWO had the privilege of performing at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Convention in Utrecht, Netherlands. This was the first time an Irish ensemble had this opportunity and in July of that year ISWO took to the international stage under its conductor Liam Daly, and guest conductor and President, Fergus O’Carroll.
2018 has been the beginning of a new era for ISWO. In January, we welcomed the renowned Scottish born conductor Mark Heron to conduct the ensemble. Mark, in addition to his roles at the RNCM and Manchester University, has conducted ensembles from the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Tilburg & Maastricht Conservatories, the National Youth Wind Orchestras of Great Britain and Israel, Slovenian National Youth Orchestra, and many more. We are delighted and honoured to have him work with us in 2018 and look forward to another great season with him in 2019.
ISWO is always looking to the future for further projects and challenges. With the enthusiasm we’ve received from all our musicians, supporters and the wider community, we certainly have much to look forward to.
Mark Heron – Bio
Mark Heron is a Scottish conductor known for dynamic and well-rehearsed performances across an unusually wide range of repertoire, and his expertise as an orchestral trainer.
As guest conductor he has appeared with the, BBC Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Psappha, Meininger Hofkapelle, Orquesta Sinfónica de la Región de Murcia, Pori Sinfonietta, St Petersburg Festival Orchestra and many more. He is the music director of the Nottingham Philharmonic and as a member of the conducting staff at the Royal Northern College of Music, he works regularly with all of the College’s orchestras and ensembles. Mark is the conductor laureate of the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and for ten years was Director of Orchestras at the University of Manchester.
Dedicated to working with young musicians, in addition to his roles at the RNCM and Manchester University, Mark has conducted ensembles from the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Tilburg & Maastricht Conservatories, the National Youth Wind Orchestras of Great Britain and Israel, Slovenian National Youth Orchestra, and many more.
Mark has a keen interest in contemporary music and has given world premieres of many important works. He has collaborated with leading composers such as Kalevi Aho, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Tansy Davies, Detlev Glanert, Heiner Goebbels, Anders Hillborg, Giya Kancheli, Magnus Lindberg, Sir James McMillan, Colin Matthews, Christopher Rouse, Kaija Saariaho, and Mark Anthony Turnage. In 2018 he gave the the world premiere of Adam Gorb’s opera The Path to Heaven, and in 2006 the European premiere of American composer Daron Hagen’s opera, Bandanna. He has recorded dozens of CDs with the RNCM Wind Orchestra featuring contemporary wind repertoire on labels such as Chandos, Naxos, NMC, ASC and Polyphonic.
Mark studied at the RSAMD and the RNCM. Following a successful chamber music career and freelance work with many of the UK’s professional symphony orchestras, he undertook conducting studies at the RNCM and in master classes with Neeme & Paavo Järvi, Jorma Panula, and Sir Mark Elder. He worked with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra on their mentoring programme for young conductors.
Alongside his conducting engagements, Mark is increasingly recognised as one of the world’s foremost conducting teachers, and students of his have achieved notable success. As well as his work across all of the RNCM’s renowned conducting programmes, he developed an elite undergraduate conducting programme at the University of Manchester, is a visiting professor to the Royal Air Force and appears often as a guest at conducting courses and master classes all over the world.