Cancellation of the 66th Cork International Choral Festival

15th March 2020

It is with considerable regret that the Board of the Cork International Choral Festival announces the cancellation of this year’s Festival. The Festival’s Board took this difficult decision based on the present situation at national and European level in relation to the Covid-19 virus.
The Board specifically considered all available government guidelines on the matter and their consequent and overall implications for the attendees at Festival in arriving at its decision.

The Board is very conscious that this decision will impact more than 5,000 choir members, who would have been participating in the Festival, 800 of whom were travelling from abroad. These choirs have been involved in a year long process of planning and preparation with the Festival and we are particularly conscious of the large financial implications for the foreign choristers who were travelling to the Festival from Canada, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden & USA.

The Board is particularly aware of the major effect this cancellation will have on the cultural, economic and social life of the city.

The Board wishes to acknowledge the huge commitment given by its professional administrative and voluntary support teams who have worked so diligently since last year to ensure that this year’s event would have been a Festival of memorable quality.

Finally, the Board wishes to thank all those groups who have financially supported the planning of this year’s event.

Further information to follow shortly.


Winner of the 2020 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition announced

Cork International Choral Festival is proud to announce Peter Leavy as the winner of the 2020 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition. As winner of the competition, his piece ‘It will not depart’ will receive its world première in the spectacular surrounds of St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral on Friday 1st May at 7.30pm. The Festival’s Choir-in-Residence, Chamber Choir Ireland, conducted by Paul Hillier, will premiere the performance as part of its annual collaborative concert with the Festival in what promises to be a wonderful evening of song.

Peter Leavy is a Mayo-born, Dublin-based composer, pianist, teacher, and occasional jazz musician. He studied piano with Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama from 2001-10 and holds a first-class honours degree in Music (2006) and a Masters in Performance and Musicology (2008) from Maynooth University. Peter completed an MPhil in Composition at Trinity College Dublin in 2013 and a Doctorate in Composition at the University of Birmingham, under the supervision of Prof. Michael Zev Gordon, in 2018. His works have been performed by New Dublin Voices, Maynooth University Chamber Choir, Ensemble Avalon, The Lír Quartet, and The Birmingham University Philharmonic Orchestra among others. Compositionally, he is interested in the expressive possibilities of material and structures imported from the musical past, into the musical present. The give-and-take between whimsy and compositional forethought, and the possibility of larger-scale structures emerging organically from the tiniest of gestures are other areas of interest.

On receiving the news of his win, Peter said:

‘I’m delighted to have had my work, It Will Not Depart, chosen as the winning entry of the 2020 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition. I’d stumbled upon this wonderful 4th-Century Chinese poem many years ago and had always intended to set it musically. Now, having done so, it’s immensely satisfying to learn that Chamber Choir Ireland will première the work at the Cork International Choral Festival; who could ask for a finer maiden voyage?’

His composition, ‘It will not depart’ was chosen by the members of the judging panel, composer Rhona Clarke, composer Amanda Feery and Paul Hillier, Artistic Director and Conductor of CCI, who summarised their reaction and evaluation to May’s winning piece as follows:

The composer creates beautiful, contrasting textures while maintaining a straightforward four parts. The meaning of the text is well considered and the careful application of dynamics adds greatly to the musical effect.

Along with receiving a cash prize, kindly donated by the Ó Riada family, Peter’s piece will receive its world première during the Festival. It will be performed by Chamber Choir Ireland in a concert which will also feature their stunning programme, ‘Like As The Waves’.

Initiated in 1972, the present format of the Seán Ó Riada Competition offers a platform for composers born, or resident, in Ireland 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 and last year’s winner, James May. 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.

In collaboration with Chamber Choir Ireland

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Notice to all choirs participating in the 2020 festival

26 February 2020

Cork International Choral Festival based on the information available to us today confirms that the Festival will take place as scheduled in Cork, 29th April – 3rd May 2020. The health and safety of everyone attending the event is our number one priority. We are continually monitoring developments and following the latest guidance from local, national and international authorities and the World Health Organization as it relates to travel to Cork International Choral Festival.

Based on the information available to us, the Festival Board has no immediate plans to cancel the event.

• The Festival Board is proceeding as normal in the organisation of the Festival and looks forward to welcoming all choirs to Cork.

• The Board is conscious that all choirs will need to make final decisions in relation to their participation based on their own particular situations.

• The Festival will continue to monitor the situation and inform you immediately of any changes.

At present, there is a major concern at national and international level regarding the increased number of COVID-19 and its implications for the health and economic life of each country. However to date there has been no confirmed case of coronavirus in Ireland.

For further information:

Irish Government Corona Virus Advice: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus/
Festival Office: info@corkchoral.ie – tel. + 353 21 4215125


2020 Big Sing at the Cathedral - Vivaldi's Gloria

Photo credit: William Murphy, 2015

As part of the Cork International Choral Festival’s aim to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet (literally), we’re continuing the very successful collaboration between the festival and St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral for a very special day-long Big Sing rehearsing and performing some of our history’s most magnificent choral works. The day will be led by the festival’s Artistic Director and Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral Director of Music, Peter Stobart.

For 2020 we have chosen one of sacred music’s most uplifting choral works: Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria. Saturday 8th February 2020 is the date to book on your diaries to come and sing this rousing masterpiece that many of us know and love!

Singers from all backgrounds are welcome, but reading music would be a great asset. The piece will be then performed that same evening.

If you would not like to sing, you can come to listen to the performance at 6.30 pm – Free admission, however donations are welcome.

Register now

Saturday 8th February 2020 – Day Schedule

1.30 pm – Registration
2.00 pm – Begin
3.30 pm – Break
4.00 pm – Resume
5.30 pm – Break
6.30 pm – Performance

Please note

  • An administration fee of €18 (+€1 booking fee) per person is applicable. If you have queries about the process or payments, please e-mail info@corkchoral.ie.
  • If you own a copy of the score, please bring it with you on the day. You can also download the score here and print your own copy. In the event you do not own a copy or are unable to download/print it, you can purchase a copy for 3 euro (copies will be available for collection on the day of the event, or from the Festival Office after January 20th).
  • Please ensure you are there to register in plenty of time.
  • As The Big Sing at the Cathedral will result in a performance on the day, we advise on smart-casual, elegant, black attire.
  • Seating is unreserved.
  • We would advise people to bring some refreshments with them on the day. There are a number of cafes available in the area also.

We look forward to having you sing with us!

Register now

Discover 2020 Gala Concerts!

We are back after the holiday break and we are gearing up for an unforgettable 2020 festival! Join us on 29th April – 3rd May 2020 for a great celebration of choral music in Cork.

Opening Gala Concert, 29 April 2020, 8.00 pm
ONAIR (Germany) – Vocal Legends, 30 April 2020, 8.00 pm
Chamber Choir Ireland, 1 May 2020, 7.30 pm
Evocations: Ingenium Ensemble (Slovenia), 1 May 2020, 10.30 pm
Fleischmann International Gala Concert, 2 May 2020, 3.00 pm & 8.00 pm
Closing Gala Concert, 3 May 2020, 8.00 pm

Book now your tickets for these exceptional shows, and make the perfect gift for your loved ones: https://corkinternationalchoralfestival.ticketsolve.com/shows

Special group rates (15% off marked price) applicable to groups of 10 persons or more! 

For any further queries regarding ticketing please contact info@corkchoral.ie


Happy Holidays!

Christmas is the time to look back on the year that’s gone by and be truly grateful for the loyal and enthusiastic support of all of you. It has been another exceptional year for the Cork International Choral Festival and we couldn’t be happier.
Ending 2019 on a high, this month we have announced our 2020 Gala Concert programme as part of the World Choral Day celebrations – Don’t forget to book your tickets before the 31st December to receive a 10% discount on all tickets!

We’re now preparing the office for a short break from 19th December – 2nd January. We look forward to 2020 and we hope to have all of you with us for another unforgettable celebration of choral music on 29 April-3 May 2020!

All the best for the Holiday season from your friends at Cork International Choral Festival


2020 Non-Competitive International Choirs announced

We are excited to announce the international choirs that will participate in the non-competitive strand of the 2020 Cork International Choral Festival!
We look forward to welcoming them to Cork for an unforgettable 66th festival.

Choir of the Faculty of Science at the University of Zagreb “Cantus Naturae” (Croatia)
Paide Female Choir (Estonia)
Ceciliakören rf Chorus Sanctæ Ceciliæ (Finland)
Jugendchor Liederkranz 1871 e.V. Malsch (Germany)
CORO Monte Penice (Italy)
Vocal Ensemble ConArte (Italy)
Mäster Olofskören (Sweden)
Alma College Choir (USA)

In the coming weeks we will introduce each of the choirs individually, stay tuned!


New Artistic Director of Cork International Choral Festival announced

New Artistic Director of Cork International Choral Festival announced following retirement of long-term festival and artistic director John Fitzpatrick

Cork International Choral Festival has announced the appointment of Peter Stobart as its new Artistic Director.

The appointment was confirmed at a meeting of the festival’s Board of Directors last night, following the retirement of its long-term festival and artistic director, John Fitzpatrick, who held the position for 26 years.

Peter Stobart, who has been the Director of Music of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork since October 2015, will take up his position with Cork’s longest running Festival from January 1st, 2020 while continuing to fulfil his role at St. Fin Barre’s.
Originating from Yorkshire, Peter began his career in 2002 as the organ scholar of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. He later graduated from the University of Durham with a bachelor degree in Music in 2006 and sang as a Lay Clerk in Peterborough Cathedral Choir and he conducted the Peterborough Children’s Choir.
Peter went on to study choral conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Patrick Russill and Paul Brough from 2007 – 2009, where he was the winner of the Alan Kirby prize for choir training 2007/8 and the Thomas Armstrong Prize for Choral Conducting 2008/9.
He continued forging his career in London where he was Head of Co-Curricular Music at St Dunstan’s College, Catford. He also conducted Southampton University Chamber Choir, the Hogarth Singers and ran a vocal octet as well as being the accompanist for Barnet Choral Society for several years.
In 2014, Peter became the Artistic Director for the Voices of Hangzhou Youth Choir, near Shanghai. He ran a summer school there during July and August 2014 for 50 children aged 8 to 16 and performed on Chinese National Day. He ran a similar course in August 2015, and the concert was broadcast on Chinese National Television.
As a soloist he has given song recitals of Lieder and English Art Song, and he has been a regular tenor soloist in performances of Elijah, Messiah and the major works of Bach. He will sing in the Festival’s opening Gala Concert of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Since moving to Cork, he has made the Cathedral Choristers his priority and he regularly visits schools across the Diocese, promoting singing and music more generally. The Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross has formally recognised this strategy and from September 2017 it became the Diocesan Church Music Scheme.
He is also a committee member and an examiner for The Royal School of Church Music, Ireland and on the Board of Management at St Fin Barre’s National School.

Commenting on his appointment, Peter said, “I am delighted to have been appointed as Artistic Director of the Cork International Choral Festival. Having been involved in the last four festivals in various ways, I have seen a flourishing and vibrant atmosphere and performance arena which is a credit to the City of Cork. I am extremely fortunate to be taking over from John Fitzpatrick who has served the Festival for the last 26 years. Consequently, the Festival is in a very good shape and whilst this is a blessing for me, the pressure will be on going forward! I look forward to maintaining the city’s life of song for many years into the future.”

Speaking following the announcement, Chairman of the Festival’s Board of Directors, Gerard Breen, said, “On behalf of the Board of Cork International Choral Festival, we are delighted to confirm the appointment of Peter Stobart to the position of Artistic Director. We are looking forward to working with Peter to develop the artistic aims and principles of the Cork International Choral Festival.”

Mr Fitzpatrick has been appointed to a new role as President of the Festival by the Board of Directors as a mark of respect and acknowledgement of his singular service to the Festival. He will remain as an active member of the Festival’s Board, as one of its Company Directors, and as a behind the scenes adviser when required. He will continue to represent the Festival on the international stage as a Board member of the Choral Festival Network, an adviser for the Singing Network, an adjudicator at national and international level, an advocate for the benefits of choral music, and as a strong promoter of the Cork International Choral Festival at home and abroad.


Thank you! 2019 Christmas at the Cathedral

On behalf of all at the Cork International Choral Festival, we would like to thank everyone who took part in the 2019 Christmas at the Cathedral last Saturday. It was a lovely night and a huge success!

Thank you for coming and supporting the Festival.

Photographs by Nicola Lunghi


Choirs announced - 2020 Fleischmann International Trophy Competition

Cork International Choral Festival is proud to announce the selected choirs competing in the 2020 Fleischmann International Trophy Competition.

Each year some of the finest amateur choirs are selected to compete for this prestigious international competition. We would like to congratulate the 11 choirs that will travel to Cork in 2020. We look forward to having you with us for the 66th festival!

The Treblemakers (Canada)
Mount Royal Kantorei (Canada)
Pueri gaudentes (Czech Republic)
Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School Chamber Choir (Finland)
Ambitus Choir (Greece)
Dublin Youth Chamber Choir (Ireland)
Laetare Vocal Ensemble (Ireland)
Cuore Chamber Choir (Ireland)
Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath (Ireland)
Dziesmuvara (Latvia)
Glasis Chamber Choir (Slovenia)

Thanks to all choirs who applied!

A reminder that we are still accepting applications for the non-competitive strand of the festival until the November 30th.
Don’t delay – Submit your online application here or get in touch at info@corkchoral.ie