Join CICF's Choirworks!

The Cork International Choral Festival is proud to launch ‘Choirworks’, an exciting new programme which can help to establish a new workplace choir, or to improve and re-energise existing workplace choirs.

Arrive as colleagues, leave as a choir; no prior singing experience is required to take part – the Choirworks programme will take everyone from singing in the shower to singing on a stage!

The Choirworks programme can help everyone sing through the introduction of interactive music lessons, choir workshops and team building projects. Working from home can sometimes cause feelings of social isolation and loneliness in the workforce, and so finding new ways to engage with colleagues is increasingly important.

Choirworks embraces the power of music to encourage collaboration, creative thinking and better mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace. Music, and especially the social aspect of choral music, has the potential to play a more active role in achieving a good work-life balance, especially as remote working has now become the norm in most organisations.

Each company choir will be assigned a choir leader who will put the singers through their paces. The staff will make a collaborative video of the song which they will have been learning together. The video will be entered into the 2021 CICF International Workplace Choir of the Year Competition and staff choirs will compete against other workplace choirs who have been taking part in Choirworks.

Choiworks includes bespoke weekly online sessions dedicated to each choir hosted on a web conferencing platform, and covers everything from provision of lyrics, music, backing tracks (even choreography!) to professional sound mixing and video editing of the competition video.

For further information please email [email protected]


Here's to a fabulous 2021! ✨

Merry Christmas!

May the Christmas season end the present year on a cheerful note and make way for a fresh and bright New Year.

We’re now preparing the office for a short break from 21st December – 1st January. Thank you for your support throughout this year. We look forward to bringing lots more singing, choral fun and magical moments to you in 2021!

All the best for the Holiday season from your friends at Festival HQ


CFN Friendship Concert, 18th December

We are delighted to be part of the CFN – The Choral Festival Network “Friendship Concert” on, Friday 18th December, 2pm GMT!

This unique virtual concert features performances from 15 international choral festivals from across the world. It will be a special celebration of choral music, to remind everyone of the essential role that choral singing still plays in our lives.

You can watch the concert on the CFN YouTube channel.


Calling all choirs! Let's make a great video together

*Deadline postponed to 29th January*

Join us with your choir in the making of the launch video of the 2021 Cork International Choral Festival!

Are you looking to do something different and fun with your fellow choir members? Thanks to the collaboration with the award-winning Irish vocal band Ardú and the talented team of CADA Performing Arts, the Cork International Choral Festival is bringing choirs from across the world together in an exciting, first-of-its-kind crowdsourced music video!

Ardú’s original a cappella arrangement of the popular song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles will be premiered at the online launch of the 2021 Cork International Choral Festival in March (if you are not familiar with the original song, we strongly recommend giving it a listen here!)

We are putting together an exciting crowd sourced (i.e. contributed by a large number of people) video and we want you to take part!

The logistical challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed on the choral world are enormous. Many choirs won’t be in a position to travel to international choral events in 2021 and we know how hard it is to feel connected with the wider choral community at this time. In response to the current circumstances presented by the pandemic, as an international choral festival we want to continue to be a dynamic force in developing choral music, while celebrating diversity and self-expression through music and dance.

Participating in the video is simple and free – and most of all we want you to have fun with us!
We will share an instruction video and you will be asked to record a short video of your choir which will feature in the final music video for “Brave”, including your choir name and country.

Important – It is possible to take part in the video even if your choir can’t gather in person, by sending individual videos recorded by each singer. We are aware that different restriction levels are in place in different countries, and we ask you to comply with your local Covid-19 related regulations at all times.

If you are interested in taking part in the project, or would like more information on how to participate, please fill in the form below by Friday 29th January and we will be in touch by email.

We look forward to making a great video with you!



















    2021 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition now launched!

    The much-celebrated Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition is now officially launched!
    Be in with a chance of winning this esteemed composition competition and having your work premiered by the acclaimed Chamber Choir Ireland on Friday 30th April 2021.

    Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 29th January 2021.
    Full details and online application form are available here.

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch!
    Tel: + 353 (0)21 4215125
    Email: [email protected]


    What is the Seán Ó Riada Competition?

    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 and ensure an unbiased decision on the part of the selection panel. 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 Seminar on New Choral Music, organised as part of the Festival’s Choral Symposium. The new format was an instant success. Since 2010 to date, over 200 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, Amanda Feery, Michael Holohan, Marian Ingoldsby, Donal Mac Erlaine, Simon MacHale, Michael McGlynn, Kevin O’Connell, Criostóir Ó Loingsigh, Donal Sarsfield, James May and last year’s winner, Peter Leavy. A number of these works have been published by international choral publishing houses.


    Join us in 2021!

    We are delighted to announce that the Cork International Choral Festival will go ahead in 2021 on the planned dates, 28 April – 2 May!

    The support that we have received from everyone has given us the confidence to take this unprecedented situation as an opportunity to actively reimagine our festival, following in the courageous footsteps of other events and cultural organisations who have already initiated this radical transformation of the arts and the cultural sector.

    As an international choral festival, we are part of the global call for promotion of choral music in all its many forms. Delivery of a blended festival in 2021, which will include in-person and online events, will not replace that which is core to our mission.

    It has been a year of transformation and we are learning to live in these strange times in the same way that you are. More than ever, the 2021 edition will be everyone’s festival as we continue to include your input and feedback in our plans in order to make sure that next year’s celebration of choral music is as accessible, inclusive and safe as possible.

    The new 2021 International Syllabus is available here. Whilst the essence of the Syllabus is similar to that of previous years, some material has been amended to incorporate the current international climate. You will find details of new participation options and updated rules.

    We look forward to meeting you – in person or online – in 2021!
    For any questions don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

    Much love from all at Festival HQ


    COVID-19 Safety Charter

    As Ireland re-opens and we begin enjoying and exploring our country again, everyone needs to know they’re safe. By signing up to Fáilte Ireland’s COVID-19 Safety Charter, Irish tourism and hospitality businesses will reassure their customers that the right protocols have been followed.

    To prove our commitment to providing our participants with a safe space, the Cork International Choral Festival has successfully applied to the COVID-19 Safety Charter and all our staff have completed Fáilte Ireland’s Infection Prevention Control for Tourism Businesses course.

    Fáilte Ireland has issued sector specific guidelines for tourism and hospitality businesses to guide businesses in how best to meet the Government’s public health advice; by signing up to this Charter, all our employees are agreeing to follow the recommended guidelines for our sector.

    The COVID-19 Safety Charter is designed to give comfort and reassurance to employers, employees and customers that the business is ready to re-open safely. Anytime consumers see the COVID-19 Safety Charter symbol, they’ll know that recommended safety and cleaning guidelines are being adhered to and that staff members have completed essential hygiene and safety control training.

    Here you can find the list of businesses that have successfully applied to the COVID-19 Safety Charter in order to help keep Ireland safe and enable their customers to relax and enjoy their services with confidence.


    Online workshops with Chamber Choir Ireland

    Each year the Cork International Choral Festival undertakes a series of educational programmes especially developed to widen access to choral music to both the novice and experienced. We were hoping to host these workshops in City Hall and CIT Cork School of Music, and we are so grateful to Chamber Choir Ireland for offering an online version of them!

    A big thanks to Leanne Fitzgerald, Alan Leech and Christina Whyte from Chamber Choir Ireland, and UCC Singers, Forte! Choir and The Voices for taking part in the workshops.


    We are preparing for 2021!

    We look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2021 for lots more singing, choral fun and magical moments!

    Based on the information available to date, we are working on the preparations of the 2021 edition in the hope that the 66th CICF will take place as planned on 28 April – 2 May 2021.

    Choral music is, by definition, a group activity and we are fully aware of the logistical challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed on the choral world. The health and safety of everyone attending next year’s event is our number one priority. We will continue to monitor developments and following the latest guidance from local, national and international authorities and the World Health Organisation as it relates to international travel.

    We are accepting international applications and expressions of interest for participation in next year’s Cork International Choral Festival. Application deadlines are for now confirmed (Fleischmann International Trophy Competition: 31 October 2020; International Non-Competitive Choirs: 30 November 2020).

    More info on the international participation is available here.
    Do not hesitate to get in touch at [email protected] should you have any questions relating to your participation.

    Stay safe!


    Speak out against racism

    We cannot remain silent.

    Our Festival stands in solidarity with the family of George Floyd and we want to join the singers and musicians who are using their voices and instruments to peacefully protest and to speak out against racism.

    As the Journal Of Music reported, musicians in Ireland have voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement as ‘it’s not just a black people problem, it’s an everyone problem’.