The University of Limerick in the beautiful West of Ireland, offers a uniquely designed 2-year full-time Masters programme in association with the world renowned Irish Chamber Orchestra.

The MA course is designed for gifted graduate string players as the final step towards a professional career. Building on our students’ already highly developed technical and virtuosic skills, the focus is on creative embodied performance techniques, all-round broad-minded musicianship and holistic care of the body – which enables performing with freedom, ease, connection and joy. This select course is student-centred with an emphasis on individual care and attention. Students are guided and mentored by a supportive faculty to create a journey of self-discovery that best suits the needs and dreams of each student.

The programme is led by members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) who rehearse, tutor, mentor and perform with the students. The ICO, Ireland’s most dynamic ensemble, is renowned for its world-class performances and recordings – feted for their energy and style. Mixing traditional repertoire with new commissions and collaborating with everyone from DJs to dance companies, the ICO pushes the boundaries of what chamber orchestras can do.

The ICO holds annual professional mock auditions for all course participants with detailed feedback from each member of the audition panel, and the possibility to be placed on the ICO’s deputies list. Through the course of the academic year, students receive extensive coaching on orchestral excerpts and peak-performance mentoring. Several former MA graduates are now members of the ICO, whilst many others are regular guests.

Students receive weekly 90-minute individual lessons, technique and performance skills classes, combined with weekly Chamber Music-sessions and Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Working intensively on duo repertoire with a piano coach is core to the programme, as are classes in baroque, new music and performance psychology.

Students gain automatic acceptance onto the Irish Chamber Orchestra Academy Project, an exciting, international collaboration project with members of the ICO.

One of the many benefits of being affiliated with the vibrant Irish World Academy of Music and Dance is having access to its superb facilities and teaching expertise. Students receive weekly classes in Feldenkrais and movement/music improvisation. Additionally, the Academy offers a wide range of exciting elective opportunities, including classes in Javanese gamelan, Body Mapping, Jazz, Irish music and dance, composition, ethnomusicology, community music, contemporary dance, African drumming, Indian Konokul, ritual chant, somatics, aerial dance and much more.

Our students are strongly encouraged to become creative artists and to develop their own expressive voice. The Arts Practice research module allows students to explore any self-chosen aspect of their own performance practice, such as practicing techniques, breath, sound production, autonomy etc. For previous students, this has opened exciting pathways for undertaking further research on the Academy’s unique Doctoral programme, resulting in a thriving classical strings doctoral studies cohort.