CROSS BORDER ORCHESTRA OF IRELAND – Sharing a love for music and a passion for peace

The Cross Border Orchestra (CBOI) was established in 1995 as a peace initiative and is composed of over 100 exceptionally talented young musicians from all over Ireland and Northern Ireland. CBOI has played an important role in building and nurturing vital cross border and cross community relations and is regarded internationally as a flagship peace initiative. CBOI provides orchestral training and performance opportunities for young people, which are second to none.  In addition, CBOI provides specialist instrumental tuition for Primary School and Secondary School Children; Career Development training for Primary School Teachers and performance opportunities for talented young soloists.

CBOI has had the honour of performing for USA President Barack Obama at the White House, Washington D.C., in 2016, and Queen Elizabeth II at Hillsborough Castlefor Presidents of Ireland on many occasions, and for National events including the launch of 1916 commemorations on behalf of the Government of Ireland.

This internationally acclaimed and award-winning youth orchestra has performed to sell out audiences at all major venues in Ireland, and many throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Boston Symphony Hall; Chicago Symphony Hall; and the Oriental Arts Centre Shanghai.

CBOI is best known for our Peace Proms programme which was established in 2002. Peace Proms is a Free resource and choral education programme for Primary Schools. Over 35,000 Primary School children from all over Ireland actively participate in Peace Proms each year and perform with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland. CBOI delivers 30 choral workshops annually throughout Ireland with over 1000 children in attendance at each. CBOI performs 15 Arena concertseach year with choirs of up to 3,500 children performing at each. 



  • Professionally led weekly rehearsals with a focus on individuals, orchestral sections and the full ensemble
  • Professionally led week-long workshops in Summer and Winter
  • 15 full scale concerts held in arenas throughout Ireland.

The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland provides exceptional performance opportunities for young people, coupled with orchestral training which is second to none. CBOI stages up to 15 Arena concerts each Spring where members can expect to perform to audiences in excess of 60,000 people. CBOI members get the opportunity to perform to professional concert-orchestra standard, and work with leading conductors and professional musicians and tutors. 


  • Free Choral education and performance programme 
  • Delivered to over 35,000 children in 1000 Primary Schools throughout Ireland.
  • Each school is provided with a free Choral Education Pack which contains sheet music, backing tracks, and choreography videos for 8 songs or medleys, as well as curriculum links and project suggestions
  • 30 choral workshops held through Ireland annually, with over 1000 children in attendance at each.
  • 15 Arena concerts held each year with choirs of up to 3,500 performing at each.  

Peace Proms gives Primary school children the opportunity to sing with a choir of up to 3,500 children, perform with a full symphony youth orchestra (CBOI), work with leading professional conductors, perform at premier music venues, develop vocal technique, presentation and performance , experience a variety of musical styles and genres.


  • Free instrument on loan
  • Free weekly specialist instrumental tuition 
  • 2nd level students

Count Us in is a free specialist instrumental tuition programme for young people at 2nd level. Free music lessons are offered in Orchestral instruments including String, Woodwind and Brass. Count Us In is a pioneering project modelled on the Venezuelan system of music education which is regarded as the best in the world. Young musicians trained under Count Us In can go on to become members of the Cross Border Orchestra.


Dynamics is specifically for Primary School children aged 6 – 12 years. Children receive a violin on loan and 1-hour group lesson in violin every day during term time. 80 children from socio-economically deprived and/or rurally isolated areas currently participate in Dynamics.  The children have won musical award in competition and performed with the CBOI at the Simmonscourt Area, RDS, Dublin in 2020. CBOI received a ‘National Impact Award’ for this programme. 


  • Music literacy in children 
  • Engaging children in music education in a fun and interesting way e.g., using music focus games and response games
  • Presentation and performance
  • Basic Conducting
  • Introducing children to the instruments of the orchestra
  • Courses are developed and delivered by CBOI
  • Accredited by The Department of Education and Skill. 
  • Over 100 Teachers participate annually.
  • Free instrument on loan
  • Free daily specialist instrumental tuition
  • Primary level students


The Soloist is open to singers between the ages of 12 and 30 year, in all music genres. The competition continues to attract the highest standard of talent from right across the country and provides them with exceptional performance opportunities. 

  • Performance opportunities for talented young soloists
  • Perform to 50,000 people at the RDS Arena, Dublin; the SSE Arena, Belfast; 
  • Perform with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland – a full symphony orchestra



The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland is a company limited by guarantee, and does not have a share capital. CBOI is registered under the IRE Companies Act 2014 (CRO 905933), and the NI Companies Act 2006 (NI067395). CBOI is audited annually. CBOI’s Auditors are John MacMahon & Co, Chartered Accountants and Registered Auditors, Dundalk and Newry CBOI is Tax compliant. CBOI’s Tax Reference Number (TRN) : 9604947L and Tax Certificate Access Number (TCAN) : 517493


CBOI is a registered Charity in Ireland, the UK and the USA. The Charity’s registration numbers are: Ireland: 20054892, UK: XT22593, New York State USA: 260270. Children and Young People are the beneficiaries of the Charity. The Charity aims to provide exceptional instrumental and choral education and performance opportunities for children and young people across Ireland, and to ensure that our programmes place an emphasis on tackling barriers to equality by including children from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Our Programmes include:

  • Orchestra (CBOI) – 120 members. Instrumental
  • Count Us In – Free Instrumental tuition for teenagers. Currently 50 teens.
  • Dynamics – Free Instrumental tuition for children. Currently 80 children. 
  • Peace Proms – Free choral education for 35,000 children
  • 30 workshops held annually throughout Ireland
  • 15 large scale arena concerts performed annually throughout Ireland
  • Teacher Training
  • Performance opportunities for talented young Soloists

The Charity aims to make the Arts more accessible to schools, children, families and those in the wider community who may not otherwise have any involvement in or access to the Arts. To deliver opportunities for participation in the Arts across the island of Ireland targeting young people and families who may never have seen an orchestra; seen/touched a musical instrument; been to a concert hall; sung in a choir; worked with a conductor or professional musicians. In so doing to create and nurture a curiosity and lifelong interest and appreciation of music, which encourages young people to remain involved in musical activities – specifically instrumental, orchestral and choral, throughout their lives and share this with future generations. The Charity aims to give schools and communities the opportunity, skills and resources necessary to start-up and develop Choirs and Orchestras where they never previously existed. CBOI provides opportunities for children, parents, schools and the wider community to unite, co-operate and work together through our music education programmes.


The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland Ltd is governed by a memorandum and articles of association. CBOI is managed on a day to day basis by a full time Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Treacy-Dunne. The CEO is ordinarily assisted by three full-time staff. CBO’s Parents’ Association provides Invaluable support at all events. All strategic and operational management decisions are the responsibilities of the Board of Directors/Trustees who work in a voluntary capacity. The Board of Directors/Trustees are Paul O’Callaghan, Susan Forde and Jim Darcy. Weekly staff meetings and quarterly Board meetings are held, ordinarily. 


Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland. Background to Cross-Border and European links.


PHOTO: CBOI and the South Ulster Youth Orchestra and Band. Rehearsals in Drumcree. 300 musicians participating.



PHOTO: Altnaveigh House Pipers and Drummers





  1. 1995 Cross-border, cross community schools’ links with St. Louis Catholic Girls’ School, Dundalk; the Abbey Grammar, Christian Brother’s Boys’ school, Newry N.I.; Banbridge Academy & Wellington College, Belfast
  2. 2001 CBOI & South Ulster Youth Orchestra and Band
  3. 2003 ‘Peace Proms’ established – Choral peace initiative for Primary Schools
  4. 2006 CBOI & Altnaveigh House, Newry
  5. 2008 CBOI & Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association NI Branch
  6. 2010 CBOI & Colmcille Pipe and Drum Corps, Derry/Londonderry
  7. 2010 CBOI & Michelle Johnston School of Highland Dance, Belfast
  8. 2010 CBOI & Andy McGregor and members of the Ulster Scots Agency
  9. NOW: CBOI & Primary Schools: Over150 schools in Northern Ireland i.e. over 6,000 Catholic and Protestant children actively participate in CBOI music programmes each year.



1996          UK. 75th Anniversary of the British Federation of Music Festivals, Warwick.

1998          Czech Republic

2000          Finland

2002          California- 8 cities

2004          California – 8 cities

2005          USA. Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall

2007          USA. Chicago Symphony Hall and Boston Symphony Hall

2008          Rome. 400th Anniversary of the Flight of the Earls

2009          USA. Lincoln Centre, New York

2010          World Trade Expo in Shanghai, China.

2012          UK. Royal Albert Hall      

2014          USA. Carnegie Hall

2016          USA. White House. Ensemble