Composers wanted!

Are you a music composer? Are you interested in joining the educational programme of the Cork International Choral Festival? Look no further!

The Cork International Choral Festival is welcoming expressions of interest from composers who have a strong interest in teaching ages 15-17 within the classroom environment.

It is a paid opportunity in County Cork starting from September 2021 to April 2022.

If this sounds like an opportunity that would excite you, please email your CV at info@corkchoral.ie by Friday 25th June, including an outline of your experience teaching children and young people.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We look forward to working with you!


Launching Cork International Choral Festival 2021

Reimagined Cork International Choral Festival invites choirs to compete from around the world without needing to travel! 

We are delighted to announce that the Cork International Choral Festival will go ahead this year in a reimagined format!

Our choral festival, which normally attracts 5,000 singers and 50,000 visitors from all over the world to Cork city and county, will be held virtually for the first time ever, from April 28th – May 2nd, allowing international choirs to compete and participate without the need to travel. 

The Cork International Choral Festival was founded in 1954, making it Cork’s oldest festival.  Last year was only the second time in its history that the festival had to be cancelled. Noted for its high competitive and noncompetitive standards, it is one of Europe’s premier international choral festivals, and this year will be no exception. With over 3international choirs scheduled to take part. 

Usually concerts, events and competitions would take place in over 90 venues across Cork.  This year, four specially curated gala concerts will be staged online during the festival, which attendees can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes, wherever they are in the world. 

Opening on Wednesday night with a specially commissioned poem by Corkonian Billy Ramsell. Thursday evening April 28th will see an online broadcast performance by Ireland’s best known and most diverse choral group, Anúna, directed by Michael McGlynn.  

Chamber Choir Ireland, the festival’s choir in residence, will perform from Cork’s St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral on Friday, April 29th, with what is anticipated to be an exhilarating performance. 

Saturday night will see one of Ireland’s most acclaimed vocal ensembles, Resurgam also in St. Finbarre’s CathedralThSunday closing gala concert will see a performance from a group that was scheduled to play as part of the cancelled 2020 Festival with German group ONAIR taking to the stage 

The competition strand of the festival is expected to remain fiercely competitive, with a newly expanded national and international programme via video submission. This year, the festival launches its inaugural Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year Competition, as well as national and international A Cappella Video Competitions, while entries for the National Open Competitions remain strong. 

Anyone, musical or not, can also join in with the festival’s FREE online workshops in partnership with Sing Ireland, including the everpopular Big Sing, a group singing experience led online this year by Ardú contemporary ensemble director, Ciarán Kelly, who will prepare participants for one big uplifting online performance.   

Box office for the Virtual Gala Concerts is now open at the Virtual Event Website


Norah Constance Walsh wins Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition

Norah Constance Walsh wins Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition

at Cork International Choral Festival
2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Ó Riada’s death

Norah Constance Walsh has been announced as the winner of the prestigious 2021 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition at the Cork International Choral Festival.

As the winner, her piece On A Quiet Day In the Future will receive its world première in the spectacular surrounds of St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral Cork on Friday 30th April at 8.  The performance will be part of Chamber Choir Ireland’s annual collaborative concert, the Festival’s choir-in-residence. It promises to be a wonderful evening of song, broadcast online this year.

Norah Constance Walsh is a Dublin-based composer, musical director, pianist and teacher. She holds a first-class honours BMus in Composition from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama where she studied under Jane O’Leary.

Writing for voice is a central part of Norah’s output and her choral works have been performed by Mellow Tonics, Laetare Vocal Ensemble, TU Chamber Choir and Rathdown Cantori amongst others. Recent vocal commissions include Inception Horizon and the short opera Beneath Iseult’s Tower. Her instrumental works have been performed in Ireland and Europe by soloists and ensembles including Duo Sincronia, the Dublin and Delmaine String Quartets and instrumentalists from the RTE National Symphony and Concert Orchestras.

Norah’s compositions are acoustic drawing from classical, popular, jazz and traditional Irish genres. Norah also enjoys working as a musical director and facilitator in many community and education projects, including the Forget Me Nots and St. James’ Hospital MISA choirs, and as a choral conductor for a number of television productions.

On receiving the news of her win, Norah said, “I am delighted to be the winner of the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition, and to be part of this very rich choral tradition that the Cork International Choral Festival represents. I found Peter Sirr’s poem On A Quiet Day In The Future to be a thought-provoking and entertaining reflection on some poignant elements of lockdown, and I was inspired to capture in music the sentiments that it evoked for me. A première by the superb voices of Chamber Choir Ireland is a hugely exciting prospect – I am very much looking forward to hearing them bring this piece to life!”

Her composition, On A Quiet Day In the Future was chosen by the members of the judging panel, previous winner Amanda Feery, composer Rhona Clarke and Paul Hillier, Artistic Director and Conductor of CCI, who summarised their reaction and evaluation to Norah Walsh’s winning piece as follows:

On A Quiet Day In the Future is a very expressive and sensitive setting of this poem by Peter Sirr. The composer shows skill in handling choral range, texture and musical pacing.

The reflective mood of the opening is maintained and there is a consistency of style throughout.

2021 is the 50th anniversary of Seán Ó Riada’s death and to mark this milestone the O’Riada family have kindly awarded €1,000 this year to accompany the prize of a world premiere opportunity.

Initiated in 1972, the present format of the Seán Ó Riada Competition offers a platform for Irish composers to have their work judged and rewarded purely on its own merits without the judges being influenced by the reputation or status of the composer.  All compositions are submitted under a pseudonym, with the author’s real name not being revealed until after the judges’ decision has been made. Works composed in the Irish language are encouraged.   The competition has, as a central aim, the intention of providing Irish choirs with fresh, authentic material for inclusion in their programmes.

The competition has attracted the attention of many highly-regarded composers, with past winners including Solfa Carlisle, Rhona Clarke, Patrick Connolly, Frank Corcoran, Séamas de Barra, Eoghan Desmond, Michael Holohan, Marian Ingoldsby, Donal MacErlaine, Simon MacHale, Michael McGlynn, Kevin O’Connell, Amanda Feery, Criostóir Ó Loingsigh, Donal Sarsfield, James May and last year’s winner Peter Leavy. With nearly 200 compositions being submitted in the past 9 years of the new format, the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition clearly highlights the number of composers now working and living in Ireland, and further demonstrates the Cork International Choral Festival’s continuing commitment to encourage the composition and performance of contemporary music.

Further details will be announced in the coming weeks on this year’s reimagined Cork International Choral Festival.


Ibec voices support for staff health and wellbeing initiatives with Choral Festival partnership

The Cork International Choral Festival announces Ibec’s sponsorship of and participation in the inaugural Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year competition to help improve staff wellbeing through music 

Cork International Choral Festival is delighted to announce that IbecIreland’s largest business representative group, has come on board as the title sponsor of the festival’s new Workplace Choir of the Year competition. 

The Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year competition will be the culminating event of Cork International Choral Festival’s Choirworks programme, which has been devised specifically for the 2021 event. The programme offers workplace colleagues around the country the chance to learn to sing and form a virtual company choir, or improve their singing and existing workplace choir, through online interactive music lessons, choir workshops and team building activities. 

The aim of the initiative is to help companies connect with their staff and teams during Covid through the uplifting medium of music. 

Ibec has voiced its support for the festival initiative, not just by sponsoring the new workplace choir competition, but by committing to forming a virtual workplace choir of its own and competing in the 2021 Workplace Choir of the Year competition. 

Commenting on the announcement, Peter Stobart, Cork International Choral Festival director said, “We are thrilled that Ibec has lent its support to this new strand of the Cork International Choral Festival programme, not only by sponsoring the new competition but by committing to participating in the Choirworks’ training programme and online competition as well.  

This shows that businesses recognise both the importance of staff wellbeing and the therapeutic power of music. Group singing, in particular, can help individuals express themselves, connect with one another and generally just feel good which is something I think everyone can benefit from, now more than ever in this ongoing climate of Covid.” 

Liam O’DonoghueIbec COO and Deputy CEO said, Ibec is delighted to be the title sponsor of the first CICF Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year Competition. As passionate and vocal advocates of employee wellbeing, the workplace choir of the year competition is a fitting match. We know so many workplaces, including our own as we have also entered, will benefit from the opportunity of getting their colleagues and friends virtually re-connected, through singing. The great healing and energising power of singing together is well known and we look forward to the beautiful music to come or as we say in Ibec, the voice of business! 

Since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, remote working has become the norm in most organisations however working from home can often cause feelings of social isolation and loneliness in the workforce. Finding new ways to engage with staff and colleagues has therefore never been more important. 

Research has shown that singing has both mental and physical health and wellbeing benefits. The social aspect of choral music participation also has the potential to play a more active role in improving social interaction among staff and helping achieve a good work-life.  

CICF Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year competition intends to promote the beneficial impact that music has on collaboration, creative thinking and better mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace.  

Companies across Ireland (and internationally) are encouraged to enter the Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year competition by submitting a video a virtual performance compiled of individual choir members’ videos. Closing date for entries is 2nd AprilThe winning workplace choir will be announced at the online Awards Ceremony of the 2021 Cork International Choral Festival on Sunday 2nd May. 

Established in 1954, the Cork International Choral Festival is regarded as the premier event of its kind both nationally and internationally. Now staging its 66th edition, this is the first time the festival, which will this year be held entirely online, has introduced a workplace/company strand. The novel move has been made in an effort to help employers boost staff morale and improve employee wellbeing through the power of music. 

For further information on how to register please email kery@corkchoral.ie 

You can find the Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year Syllabus and more information about the competition here

www.ibec.ie


Soprano Cara O Sullivan at 2021 Cork International Choral Festival Verdi's Requiem

Cara O’Sullivan, Soprano RIP

A Tribute

It was with huge sorrow I learned of the untimely death of the naturally gifted talent, and fine and generous human being, that was our much loved Cara O’Sullivan. In the past number of years, due to the early onset of dementia, she has been a major loss to all her devoted followers and to music at local, national and international level.  Our loss is Heaven’s gain.

Her professional career is well documented elsewhere and so I do not intend to dwell on the extent of her varied concert and operatic performances, and the many accolades she justifiably received throughout her career.  I do, however, have so many personal memories of her – accompanying her at funerals, various solo performances with my choirs, and particularly her last major concert at the Festival in 2017 where she sang the soprano solo in Verdi’s Requiem as powerfully and exquisitely as ever. Her singing of the closing Libera Me remains, and will remain, with me as a memory of her depth of interpretive understanding and sublime vocal skills.  I was also present for her final public appearance at the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Concert in 2018. It was clear at that concert that she was not the force of old, but supported by her dear friends Mary Hegarty and Majella Cullagh, still managed to communicate to us all her special qualities of voice and personality which had so endeared her to us all over the years.  She will be very much missed.  A true Diva but a Diva with her feet firmly planted in the real world of the ordinary person.

What is less well known is that, apart from her singing, Cara and her family had a long association with the Choral Festival.  Her father, Donal, a charismatic man with a vibrant personality, was a staunch supporter as a volunteer for many years.  He was a Fáilteóir and as such he acted as a Welcomer for visiting international choirs.  One of the choirs he was most involved with was the Bulmershe Girls Choir from Reading in England. Cara would have been an active companion of his in this work and regaled us on many occasions with colourful incidents of his involvement with this and other choirs.

All her friends at the “Choral Festival” offer our deepest sympathies to her daughter Christine, her siblings Aoife, Nuala, and Jim, and her extended family on her passing.  She was a special person agus ní fheicfear a leithéid arís.  Solas na bhFlaitheas go raibh aici I measc na naomh.

 

John Fitzpatrick
President
Cork International Choral Festival

Soprano Cara O Sullivan at 2021 Cork International Choral Festival Verdi's Requiem

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 kery@corkchoral.ie


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

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 and we will be in touch by email – Deadline to submit your videos is 28th February!

We look forward to making a great video with you!


By submitting a video your choir members agree that the Festival will be free to dispose of the audiovisual recordings or utilise them in promotional materials as it sees fit. It is the duty of all choirs with members under 18 years of age to ensure that informed consent is sought from young people and their parents/carers in this regard.


















    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: info@corkchoral.ie


    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.