Sligo Baroque Orchestra was founded (as Sligo Early Music Ensemble) in 1990, at a time when there was little opportunity for playing classical instrumental music in Sligo. Its aim was to play music from the 17th and 18th centuries in a historically informed manner and for nearly 30 years it has maintained that goal, meeting for weekly rehearsals, and giving more than a hundred performances of the most famous works in the baroque repertoire as well as less familiar masterpieces.
The orchestra includes professional musicians as well as amateur and student instrumentalists, and involves members from diverse musical backgrounds. An important goal of the SBO is to offer students the opportunity to play in a chamber orchestra, performing fairly frequently and playing pieces in full and in their original form. Apart from the very valuable musical experience, membership of SBO also involves learning something about responsibility and the importance of compromise, which are necessary elements in such a venture. The chance for young instrumentalists to regularly rehearse and perform with professional musicians is not often available.
The SBO has been joined by eminent soloists including cellist Stephan Forck, viola player Stefan Fehlandt, flautist Eleanor Dawson, gamba player Sarah Groser and violinists Niamh Crowley and Nicola Cleary.