A string ensemble of leading students ages 14 to 21 from Ireland’s most eminent music academy, the Cork School of Music, will tour the region next month and will perform in Blacksburg, Chatham, and Wytheville on April 11, 12, and 13. Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs and the Renaissance Music Academy (RMA) of Blacksburg are co-sponsoring the 35-member Cork School of Music Sinfonietta’s tour. Admission to all concerts is free.

Composer David Wallace’s "The Enchanted Fox," based on an Irish legend, will have its world premiere at the Blacksburg concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11 at Blacksburg Middle School. The Renaissance Music Academy Chamber Orchestra will join the ensemble from Ireland in concert at all three locations. The two youth musical ensembles will also perform Vivaldi’s "Concerto for Four Violins," Grieg’s "Holberg Suite," Duff’s "Irish Suite for Strings," Barber’s "Adagio for Strings," and selections from Stravinsky’s "Apollo." The sinfonietta, which has been specially coached by fiddle expert Edel Sullivan, will play an exciting collection of traditional Irish fiddle tunes. Candace Whitehead, chair of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras and head of the school’s string department, will conduct.

The concert will be repeated at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12 at the Hargrave Military Academy Chapel in Chatham, Va. The young performers will present a one-hour program at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 13 at Spiller Elementary School in Wytheville.

Arranged to support the university’s Outreach Fine Arts Initiative, which sponsors music education programs in Chatham and Wytheville, the tour aims to inspire young music students and their parents with the possibilities brought about by a dedication to mastering a musical instrument.

The Cork School of Music Sinfonietta members will teach traditional Irish folk dances to a group of students at 10 a.m. on April 12 at Margaret Beeks Elementary School in Blacksburg. The visitors will also teach elementary school students in Chatham and in Lewisburg, West Virginia, where they will perform with the RMA group at 7 p.m. on April 13 at Lewisburg’s Carnegie Hall.

The Cork School of Music, founded in 1878, is the oldest music school of its kind in the British Isles. It offers part-time training for children beginning at age 4 using the Suzuki method, which involves parents in pedagogy, and boasts the longest established Suzuki program in Europe. The school also offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Tuition is highly subsidized to enable gifted students from all backgrounds to attend.

Virginia Tech’s Outreach Fine Arts Initiative began in fall, 2004 in Chatham, Va. with the goal of offering Suzuki method musical instrument instruction to students in Southside and Southwest Virginia where comparable lessons were not available. The program soon expanded to Wythe County. Violinist David Ehrlich is an Outreach Fine Arts Fellow.

The Renaissance Music Academy Chamber Orchestra of Blacksburg includes 26 young musicians from ages 9 through 21. The orchestra performed by invitation at the Cork School of Music and at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Ireland in 2004.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs. Another 35,000 people annually attend Continuing and Professional Education programs.