Bringing Cork to Life with Song Since 1954

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 in venues across the city, centring around the City Hall, one of the most attractive and acoustically superb venues in Ireland.

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.

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.

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.

Future Dates

70th Cork International Choral Festival 2025
30 April - 04 May 2025
71st Cork International Choral Festival 2026
29 April – 03 May 2026
72nd Cork International Choral Festival 2027
28 April – 02 May 2027

Cork International Choral Festival

Company Directors

Gerard Breen

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

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

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 from 1993 to 2019. 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.

Management Committee

Cork International Choral Festival Management
Gerard Breen (Chairman)
John Fitzpatrick
Neil Bowen
Catherine Mahon-Buckley
Pat Bradley
Valerie Sisk
David J. Butler
Linda Nolan
Registered Charity

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 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).

2020 Audited Accs

Child Protection Policy

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.