Conductor - Paul McBride
Paul McBride has been associated with music and music making in and around Belfast and throughout Ireland for all his adult life. First he studied at St. Malachy’s College and then Queen’s University, Belfast, gaining his BMus and MA in Twentieth Century Music before entering the teaching profession.
Paul’s association with St. Malachy’s College was renewed in 1995 when he was appointed Head of Music. As its director he continue to build upon the fine tradition of music making which he inherited and endeavoured to increase the popularity, level of participation and quality of performance throughout the College Music Department. The five years back at his old stomping ground saw the Department grow in new found confidence, in which students were given greater responsibility for their own achievement, and an image which has ensured that the Department is spoken about not only in Belfast, but North and South of the border and throughout these islands. Performances at the Waterfront Hall, Ulster Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, countless successes at local festivals and membership of local and national youth orchestras testify to his singular achievements there
In 2000, having completed another master’s degree in Educational Management and while studying for the Professional Qualification for Headship, Paul was appointed Vice Principal of Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch. Paul was subsequently appointed as Principal in April 2008. In September 2014, Paul's career will come full circle when he returns back home to St. Malachy's College, Belfast as Principal. Although most of his responsibilities will be in curricular administration, Paul enjoys the opportunity of sharing his musical experiences with the students in one of Northern Ireland’s leading grammar schools. With wide experience in many genres of music, Paul has nonetheless channelled his energies primarily into encouraging and nurturing and enthusiastic appreciation of the performance and the interpretation of classical music with young musicians in Belfast and beyond.
An experienced teacher of violin and chamber music, he has worked for the City of Belfast School of Music on a part time basis for nearly thirty years and has conducted the String and Training Orchestras. In 1999 he was appointed as an executive member of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras. It was during this time that he took the Training Orchestra on its first ever venture outside the Greater Belfast area to perform at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. This particular Orchestra reached new heights again in 2001 when it performed to a capacity audience at the Schools Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. Having taken a year away from the School of Music in 2004-05, Paul returned as conductor of the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra in September 2005 joining forces again with Robert Briscoe who was appointed as orchestra manager at the same time. Since his appointment he has worked to further develop the Cbyo building upon its previous success at home and abroad. In his first season as conductor Paul conducted the Orchestra’s fiftieth anniversary concert with former member Sir James Galway. He has also returned to the Royal Albert Hall a further 3 times conducting the CBYO to great acclaim on the last night of the Schools Proms in 2006, 2009 and most recently in 2012. Further afield, has conducted the orchestra on concert tours of Spain, Slovenia, France and Italy.
Manager - Robert Briscoe
Appointed in 2005 as manager to work along side conductor Paul McBride, Robert Briscoe looks after all aspects of the week to week running of CBYO. This includes the planning of all rehearsals, concerts and events. Robert is also the driving force behind the orchestra's acclaimed concert tours.
A former pupil of Belfast High School, Robert continued his musical studies at the University of Ulster where he graduated in 1999 with a BMus(Hons) Degree.
In addition to managing the CBYO, he also teaches Trumpet for the Belfast School of Music and as a private Peripatetic Music Tutor in Schools around Greater Belfast
If this did not keep him busy enough, Robert works as an independent consultant on Concert Tours and events for several Ensembles and Schools throughout the United Kingdom
Robert is also the Organist and Musical Director at Fortwilliam & Macrory Presbyterian Church in Belfast where he was also recently installed as a member of the Kirk Session
The CBYO is very lucky to have a great team of professional musicians, many of whom are from the Ulster Orchestra working with the orchestra each Saturday supporting the conductor as sectional tutors.
1st Violin - Philip Davies
2nd Violin - Jonathan Griffin
Viola - Steve Begley
Cello - John Leeming
Double Bass - Michele Strong
Woodwind - Colin Stark
French Horn - Derek Parkins
Brass - Mark Murray
Percussion - Michael Smyth