RTÉ Performing Groups

RTÉ Performing Groups is a group of five classical ensembles, part of the Irish broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). All but the Vanbrugh Quartet are based in Dublin (Vanbrugh are based in Cork).

RTÉ Performing Groups
Background information
OriginDublin, Cork
GenresClassical, Choral, Symphonic, Jazz, Operatic, Contemporary
Occupation(s)Orchestra, choir, string quartet
Years active1948 – Present
LabelsNaxos Records
MembersRTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
RTÉ Concert Orchestra
RTÉ Philharmonic Choir
RTÉ Cór na nÓg
RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet

The RTÉ Performing Groups are made up of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and the children's choir RTÉ Cór na nÓg. The five groups present over 250 events annually, including live performances and work in education. The groups are largely funded by licence fee revenue.[1][2]

In 2018, both orchestras celebrated 70 years in existence. Between the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, a total of 134 professional musicians are employed. The RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and the children's choir RTÉ Cór na nÓg are for singers at an amateur level. Presently, approximately 200 adults and children are incorporated in the choirs.

The five groups present up to 250 events every year, most of these being live concerts. Most of these performances take place in Dublin, mostly in the National Concert Hall but some in The Helix and the National Gallery of Ireland. There is a variety of high-end classical music with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet to RTÉ Concert Orchestra concerts in the fields of jazz and big band, classical crossover, rock music, Irish traditional music, cabaret, multimedia events, family concerts and more.

High-profile Irish and international artists who have recently appeared with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra include Han-Na Chang, Louis Lortie and Ann Murray, while acclaimed guests in the orchestra's history included Sir John Barbirolli, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Joan Sutherland and Mstislav Rostropovich. RTÉ Concert Orchestra guests have included Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa, and more recently Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, Duke Special, Ute Lemper and Katherine Jenkins.

In 2007, all groups featured on a stamp.[3] One million stamps were printed.[4]

The five groups play approximately two concerts a week, a number which can increase at certain times of year.



The following figures were issued by RTÉ as part of their annual report 2018[5]


Income Type 2018
Licence Fee €12,751,000
Commercial Income €2,910,000
Total Income €15,661,000

Total Costs

Cost Type 2018
Network and other related costs €524,000
Sales Costs not given
Acquired Programming N/A
Indigenous non-broadcast output costs €15,137,000
Irish Productions N/A
Total Costs €15,661,000

Profit and Loss


Breakdown of Irish Productions

Production House 2018
RTÉ €15,137,000
Independent Producers N/A
Total €15,137,000


RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra is the concert music orchestra of Radio Telefís Éireann. It has been considered one of Europe's major symphony orchestras. It is the primary symphony orchestra of Dublin and, is the leading orchestra of the Ireland. Jaime Martín is the Chief Conductor.

RTÉ Concert Orchestra

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra is the other of the two full-time professional orchestras in Ireland that are part of RTÉ. Since its formation as the Radio Éireann Light Orchestra in 1948, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, has grown from a small studio-based recording group to become an active 45-strong orchestra performing over eighty concerts annually.

RTÉ Philharmonic Choir

The RTÉ Philharmonic Choir is RTÉ's main choir. The Choir has been at the centre of choral music in Ireland since its foundation by Colin Mawby in 1985 following the introduction of new choral policy. This 140 strong choir is the country's premier symphonic choral ensemble and has performed more than 52 of the major choral works since its foundation, mostly in conjunction with the RTÉ orchestras. Its conductor is Mark Hindley.

RTÉ Cór na nÓg

The RTÉ Cór na nÓg was founded in 1987 and consists of 65 specially-selected children between the ages of 9 and 14 directed by conductor Máire Mannion. Regular performances are made in Dublin (such as the National Concert Hall) and in other counties.

RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet

RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, Keith Pascoe - violins; Simon Aspell - viola; Christopher Marwood - cello) is the resident string quartet to RTÉ, and are Artists in residence to University College Cork and founders of the internationally acclaimed West Cork Chamber Music Festival. The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet shot to fame winning the 1988 London International String Quartet Competition and is one of Europe's most successful quartets, internationally recognised for its beauty of sound, clarity of texture and integrity of interpretation within an unusually wide and varied range of repertoire.


  1. "RTÉ Performing Groups". RTÉ. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  2. "Culture Ireland" (PDF). Culture Ireland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  3. "RTÉ Performing Groups Stamps". An Post. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  4. "An Post issues set of five new stamps". The Irish Times. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  5. RTÉ News (PDF) https://www.rte.ie/annualreport/pdfs/RTE_annual_report_2018.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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