The Seán Ó Riada Competition was initiated in 1972 in recognition of the creative life and work of Seán Ó Riada (1931-71). It was initially conceived of as an encouragement to amateur adult Irish choirs to select and perform existing or newly composed original works in the Irish language by an Irish composer. The trophy was presented for the best performance. In 1976, the competition became specifically a composition competition. It was open to composers, born or resident in Ireland, to set a poem in Irish for a cappella choir, no performance applied. In 1978 the competition was further adapted to encourage Irish amateur choirs to commission original works from Irish composers for performance at the festival, the trophy being awarded to the choir. The aim of the competition was threefold (a) to encourage Irish composers to write new works in the Irish language, (b) to widen the accessibility of new works in the Irish language for amateur Irish choirs, and (c) to enhance the existing repertoire of Irish choral music. Following a period when interest in the competition diminished it was discontinued, its format not valued either by composers or choirs. In 2010 the competition was reintroduced utilising a totally new format, and the novel aspect of scores being entered under Pseudonym to protect the identity of the composer. To enhance the status of the composer and provide an incentive, the winning composer attended the Festival and the winning composition was included as one of the works presented and discussed at the Choral Symposium. The new format was an instant success. Since 2010 to date, 199 compositions have been received testifying to the present interest in, and healthy state of Irish composition. Previous winners of the competition include Solfa Carlile, Rhona Clarke, Patrick Connolly, Frank Corcoran, Séamas de Barra, Eoghan Desmond, Michael Holohan, Marian Ingoldsby, Donal Mac Erlaine, Simon MacHale, Michael McGlynn, Kevin O’Connell, and last year’s winner, Amanda Feery. A number of these works have been published by international choral publishing houses.
What is the Seán Ó Riada Competition?
The Seán Ó Riada Competition is a composition competition which invites the submission of new works from Irish composers. The competition is a collaboration between the Cork International Choral Festival and Chamber Choir Ireland. The winning composition will be selected by a panel, comprising of composers and choral experts, and will be a featured work at a Choral Symposium to be held during the Festival. This Symposium will feature Chamber Choir Ireland and its internationally renowned conductor, Paul Hillier, as artists in residence. The selected composition will receive its premiere performance during the Festival at a Gala Concert given by Chamber Choir Ireland, conducted by Paul Hillier. The composer of the work will be invited to attend the Festival as its guest and play an active part in the Choral Symposium.
What composers are eligible?
Composers born, or resident, in Ireland are eligible to apply. Applications are welcomed from both established and emerging composers.
What general compositional parameters apply?
While Chamber Choir Ireland (CCI)—a chamber choir of 16 voices—will give the premiere performance of the work, it should have the potential to be accessible for performance by a wider range of high standard amateur Irish choirs.
The following parameters apply:
Presentation format of score?
It is desirable that the work be presented in computerised notation A4 format (Sibelius or other). The text utilised, including its writer and source, should be detailed on a separate page and form part of the score presentation. If hand written, scores should be legible and suitable for duplication for performance and study purposes in maximum A4 format.
In keeping with best practice, and to ensure the anonymity of composers’ identities in the application, assessment, and selection process the method of application will be as follows.
Assessment of compositions?
The assessment panel will consist of a minimum of three persons. Both established composers and persons with choral expertise will be represented on the panel.
Benefits to be derived by composer?
Closing Date for receipt of applications?
Applications are currently closed. Please check here in the Autumn for the closing date. Last year it was Friday the 9th of December
General Rules of Application
Contacts for further information:
Sinéad Dunphy, Festival Manager
Cork International Choral Festival
Civic Trust House
50 Pope’s Quay
Tel: 00 353 (0)21 4215125 Email: email@example.com