- 19 Jan 22
The National Concert Hall (NCH) "excited" by Minister Catherine Martin's announcement that the National Symphony Orchestra and Choirs will be transferred from RTÉ to the NCH on January 24th, 2022.
Ireland's premier classical music venue, the National Concert Hall, have said they are "proud" to welcome the transfer of the the National Symphony Orchestra and Choirs from RTÉ.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, made the announcement regarding the transfer, which will come into effect from 24 January 2022.
Ushering in a new era, the move heralds a hugely significant event in the history of the National Concert Hall and places special emphasis on the future provision of classical music in Ireland. The main objective of the transfer from RTÉ is to secure a more sustainable future for Ireland's National Symphony Orchestra. As part of Budget 2022, an amount of €8 million was provided to enable the decision to take place. The number largely equates to the running costs of the orchestra.
The National Concert Hall’s Chairperson, Maura McGrath, and CEO Robert Read released a statement today about the news, claiming that the move will allow the venue to "strengthen our artistic offering":
“We are both proud and excited to welcome the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), the Philharmonic Choir, Cór Linn and Cór na nÓg to the National Concert Hall," the statement reads. "This will allow us to strengthen our artistic offering to the Irish public, and enhance our position as the national venue for the performance, appreciation and enjoyment of music in Ireland. It is our vision, and a key part of the strategic ambition of the National Concert Hall, to ensure the orchestra is sustained, strengthened and developed to a world-class standard, with state-of-the-art facilities which will be delivered as part of our overall redevelopment programme."
McGrath and Read added that the core goal is to create a resounding legacy for the orchestra and combined choral groups.
"Our ambition is to invest in the orchestra, to realise our joint artistic potential, enhancing diversity and accessibility, ensuring orchestral music is a sustainable and integral part of our output. As custodian of Ireland’s musical heritage, the National Concert Hall, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the combined choral groups look forward to creating a legacy of music performance, participation and education that is uplifting for all, forging strong creative links between past, present and future.”
A national venue for the performance, appreciation and enjoyment of music, based in the heart of Dublin city, the National Concert Hall is currently preparing a major capital redevelopment plan, as part of the National Development Plan.
Minister Catherine Martin made sure to express her delight at the transfer alongside the announcement.
“I am delighted to oversee the transition of the National Symphony Orchestra and Choirs to the National Concert Hall. It is fitting that the National Symphony Orchestra be brought under the stewardship of Ireland’s national centre for music, forty years after performing at the National Concert Hall’s opening concert.
"The NSO will be at the heart of the NCH’s planned redevelopment into a state-of-the-art music campus, facilitating innovation in musical performance, learning, and participation in music. I want to thank RTÉ, the NCH, the NSO, the associated choirs and all support staff for working so hard to ensure a smooth transition. This is a significant red-letter day, not only for the musicians involved, but for all those who have an interest in music in Ireland.”
Director-General of RTÉ, Dee Forbes, mentioned that today "is a day of mixed emotions" for the semi-state body.
“On the one hand we are delighted that the NSO and Choirs will now be on a firm financial footing within the NCH allowing them to plan with confidence into the future, but on the other, we say goodbye today not just to wonderful musicians and support staff, but to colleagues and friends, many of whom have a long history in RTÉ.
"I have no doubt they will continue in their mission to make great orchestral music and entertain audiences everywhere, and we will of course continue to have a strong broadcasting relationship with them in their new role at the heart of Ireland's National Concert Hall. We wish them all the very best and thank them for the music."
The National Symphony Orchestra was established by RTÉ in 1948, and has been the resident orchestra at the National Concert Hall since Ireland’s national venue was established in 1981.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, its year-long programme of concerts at the National Concert Hall and other venues across Ireland has been a mainstay of orchestral performance in Ireland. The three RTÉ choirs - the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir (closely associated with the NSO), RTÉ Cór Linn and RTÉ Cór na nÓg - will also transfer to the NCH on 24 January.
Anthony Long, General Manager, National Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Choir, said that the changes are of "paramount significance for the future of live symphonic and choral music in Ireland":
“The development affords the opportunity to plan and grow with confidence as we all look to the future and work to realise a shared vision for music in Ireland. We would like to thank RTÉ for supporting all groups for so long and we greatly look forward to working with our new colleagues at the National Concert Hall."