Founded in 1954 to be a dynamic force in developing choral music in Ireland, the Cork International Choral Festival is held annually over the five days preceding the first Monday in May. Cork welcomes choirs from across the world for a programme of Gala concerts, Schools Concerts, National and International Competitions, and world-class performances, as thousands of participants bring the city to life for a celebration of choral music in all its many forms.
One of Europe’s premier international choral festivals, Cork is noted for its high standards, eclectic and wide-ranging programme, and the friendliness of its welcome. Festival events and performances centre around Cork’s City Hall (capacity 1,000), one of the most attractive and acoustically superb venues in Ireland.
Each year some of the finest amateur international choirs are selected to compete for the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy. The selected choirs also participate in a wide range of Festival events, which include Fringe concerts, taking part in our Church Interchange programme across Cork city and county, and informal Public Performances which see choirs popping up throughout Cork in new and unexpected locations throughout the duration of the Festival! The presence of these choirs from throughout the world gives audiences and Irish choirs alike the unique opportunity of hearing a diverse range of concerts and repertoire performed.
As well as foreign choirs, the Festival annually features up to 100 Adult, Youth and School choirs who participate in National Competitions. Overall the Festival attracts some 5,000 participants. The Festival continues to ensure that choral music, representative of many historical and cultural traditions, is brought to the people of Cork and the many visitors who we are delighted to welcome to the city for the event.
Gerard is a senior manager in the recruitment industry with experience in training, sales and operations. A lifelong member of the Cork International Choral Festival, Gerard was appointed Chairman of the festival in 2006.
Neil Bowen, current member of the Executive Board, has worked in the freight forwarding business for the past 44 years and has run his own business for 20 of those years. He served as a member of the Board of Management of the North Monastery Secondary School for six years (1997 – 2002). Neil has been involved with the Choral Festival for over 35 years and is currently the Front of House Manager. Neil has been a member of the Executive Board since 2001.
John Fitzpatrick is an experienced conductor, tutor, examiner, and lecturer. He has been associated with the prestigious Cork International Choral Festival for many years becoming its Artistic and Festival Director in 1993. He is widely regarded as being the driving force behind its continued artistic and organisational development over that period, including Cork’s designation as European Capital of Culture in 2005. He recently retired as Director of the County Cork School of Music, a position he held from 1974, but continues to be involved in many other activities. . As Director he was responsible for the strategic development, organisation and administration of one of the few county music services in Ireland providing instrumental music tuition annually to over 3000 students in 37 centres throughout the county. John is a founder Board Member of both AOIC (The Association of Irish Choirs) and The Music Network, is a Member of the International Choral Network, and the Choral Festival Network and is a Music Consultant to Europa Cantat. As well as adjudicating at national level he is a regular jury member at international choral festivals. In 2007 he was honoured by the City of Cork when he was presented with the Cork Person of the Year Award in acknowledgement of his contribution to music. Most recently (September 2010), University College Cork conferred him with an honorary Masters Degree of Arts in recognition of his services to choral music, music education, and to the musical and cultural life of Cork.
Gerard Breen (Chairman)
David J. Butler
Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Pat Nash
Cllr. Mary Shields
The Cork International Choral Festival is a registered charity with the Charities Regulatory Authority, promoting choral music and the arts in Cork and further afield.
Registered charity number: CHY11070
Cork International Choral Festival is governed by a voluntary board of Directors. See list of Directors above, biographies will be available shortly. Cork International Choral Festival is committed to good governance and has embarked upon the journey of compliance with the Governance Code. The organisation complies with all regulatory requirements and operates in accordance with its governing document, available here: The Governance Code.
Cork International Choral Festival keeps detailed books and records of accounts and maintains strict financial controls. The organisation is transparent in its audited financial statements, with most recent statements (2014) available below. The Statement of Recommended Practice for charities and not-for profit entities as developed in the UK in 2005 (SORP) is currently accepted as best practice in Ireland. We are working with our auditor towards compliance with SORP in 2015 financial statements and beyond.
Cork International Choral Festival is open, honest and fully transparent in its fundraising activities, the proceeds of which all go towards the primary activity of organising and promoting an annual festival of music events. Cork International Choral Festival is currently working to confirm compliance with the Statement of Guiding Principles of Good Fundraising developed by Irish Charities Tax Research Ltd (ICTR).