David O’Rourke, jazz guitarist, A Prophet In His Own Land

“It was good to see a full house in the National Concert Hall for the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra last Sunday night. The DCJO lived up to expectations. The programme included original compositions by band members and in the case of Hugh Buckley’s ‘When Wes Was’, the arrangement was by fellow-guitarist Dave O’Rourke, Dublin’s major gift to the New York jazz scene. ‘God Bless The Child’ featured a moving solo by Karl Ronan. In the up-tempo ‘Tall Cotton’ Jim Clarke’s plunger mute was a delight.”

Grainne Farren, Jazz, Sunday Independent, 3 April 2011.

David O'Rourke, guitarist
David O’Rourke, guitarist

David O’Rourke On Tour With The Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, May June 2013.

Another concert at the Sligo Jazz Festival on Friday 19 July featuring Marshall Gilkes, Jean Toussaint and Ian Shaw with David O’Rourke’s music.

In one night you can experience excitement, delicacy, humour, a rhythmic big noise, beautiful melodic small sounds and go home with a bounce in your step.

David O’Rourke returns from USA to Ireland to tour with friend, Ciaran Wilde and Dublin City Jazz Orchestra. bringing all he learnt and developed,  a prophet in his own land.

David O’Rourke left Ireland in 1989, departing from his own land in pursuit of a dream that he had, to become a part of New York’s jazz scene. Twenty-three years later he is an established member of that scene. He believed that he had much to learn. However he had something to bring to that great city and the Mecca of jazz for many, both American and foreign.

And so it has proved to be.  He developed as a performer, but also as an arranger for large ensembles and a composer for them as well. As part of a youth development programme he formed a big band for young musicians in New York, the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, JSYO. He has his own jazz  orchestra, The O’Rourkestra, a twenty piece ensemble. This gives him the opportunity to write his own compositions and arrangements for this big band with its ten strong brass section. It is the intention to augment the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra to enable these arrangements to be performed for the Irish audiences.

Not only is this an amazing opportunity for people all over Ireland to experience the power and grace of a full jazz orchestra but to perform in an enlarged ensemble is an important opportunity for the development of the orchestra members. The DCJO will be performing a repertoire new or freshly interpreted to its audiences.

Jazz on the Terrace grasps this opportunity with a high quality artistic project that allows it to demonstrate its strong and imaginative curatorial approach devising occasions for a collaborative creative process. This is an ambitious project, with originality expressed in bringing David O’Rourke, this prophet to his own land. He is a friend and musical associate of Ciaran Wilde, leader of the DCJO who with Jazz on the Terrace, looks forward to this fabulous opportunity to bring fresh music to diehard jazz fans and newbies all over Ireland.

David O’Rourke is the prophet in his own land.

Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland
Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland

This tour is funded by The Arts Council’s Touring and Dissemination of Work Scheme 2013.


The Dublin City Jazz Orchestra.

Leader: Ciaran Wilde.

David O’Rourke (guitar), Musical Director.


Ciaran Wilde(baritone), Brendan Doyle(alto), Mark Wilde(tenor), Derek O’Connor(tenor), Nick Roth(alto).


Elizabeth Petcu.


Raymond Martin, Danny Healy, Eamon Nolan, Mark Adams (also vocals).


Paul Frost(bass and vocals), Karl Ronan, Barry McBrien, Jim Clarke.

French Horns

Feargal O’Ceallacháin, TBA.


Conor O’Riordan

Rhythm Section

Phil Ware(piano), Hugh Buckley(guitar),

Cormac O’Brien(double bass), Shane O’Donovan(drums).


Honor Heffernan.

Dublin City Jazz Orchestra play 9 new compositions

World Premiere of the Music of Nine Irish Jazz Composers written for the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra.

On Monday 1 November 2011 at 9pm in The Button Factory, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 in what was one of the jazz highlights of the year, the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra presented the world premiere of the music of nine Irish jazz composers.

The nine composers were Brian Byrne, Alex Mathias, John Moriarty, Fintan O’Neill, David O’Rourke, Karl Ronan and Ronan Dooney with Pamela Keeley, Nick Roth, Abigail Smith and Brian Wynne.

Three of the composers are based in America, Brian Byrne, Fintan O’Neill and Dave O’Rourke. Three of the composers are regular members of the orchestra, Alex Mathias, Karl Ronan and Nick Roth. John Moriarty and Brian Wynne have occasionally performed with the orchestra. Pamela Keeley, the lyricist for Karl Ronan and Abigail Smith have not written for a jazz orchestra before.

Allen Smith and Ciaran Wilde, the co-founder with Ray Martin and the leader of the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra discussed the possibility of Jazz on the Terrace commissioning Irish jazz composers to write original compositions for the Orchestra to add to its repertoire for its current series of concerts. Allen Smith proposed making an application for grant aid under the Arts Council’s Music Commissions Award for a Jazz on the Terrace commission commencing in 2010. This was successfully done and the music has been included in the Music Network Performance and Touring Award Series of concerts. The world premiere  took place on Monday 1st November in the Button Factory, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

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There were two further performances of these new works on Saturday 6th November 2010 in the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray as part of the Improvised Music Regional Touring Scheme and on Wednesday 15th November 2011 for the Limerick Jazz Society in Dolans Warehouse, another concert in the Music Network series.

One of the aims of Jazz on the Terrace since its inception has been to expose Irish musicians to new ventures in jazz music and this project afforded an exceptional opportunity for Irish composers to create music for an Irish jazz orchestra.

The desire and the enthusiasm of Ciaran Wilde and Ray Martin in working so hard to bring this jazz orchestra together, to seek out arrangements of the classic jazz big band repertoire and then to ask some of the Irish arrangers in America to help them by sending what they could, deserves to have the added dimension of new work performed throughout the country and recorded. Jazz on the Terrace also made a successful application to the Music Network/Arts Council Music Recording Scheme 2010 to make a permanent archive of this music.

In 2010 the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra performed at the dlr Festival of World Cultures, Kilkenny Arts Festival, The TBCT Culture Night and at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.

The members of the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra are: Ciaran Wilde, Alex Mathias, Derek O’Connor, Nick Roth, Robert Geraghty – saxophones; Danny Healy, Ray Martin, Mark Adams, Eamon Nolan – trumpets; Jim Clarke, Karl Ronan, Barry McBrien, Paul Frost – trombones; Phil Ware – piano, Hugh Buckley – guitar, Cormac O’Brien – double bass, Shane O’Sullivan – drums.

Supported by The Arts Council.