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 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’.

Thank you for your support & Happy Easter!

We hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.
On behalf of us all, we’d like to wish you a Happy Easter and say a big ‘thank you’ to all of you for your understanding and support over the past few weeks.

Since the announcement of the cancellation of this year’s Festival, the number of personal contacts we have had from all of you has overwhelmed us! Without exception, choirs, guests, volunteers, venues, funders, sponsors – literally everyone! – has been understanding of the particular situation in which we found ourselves, concerned that a year’s hard work has come to nothing, and fully supportive of the decision taken.

We were extremely humbled that in a positive and generous gesture many of you are adamant that your participation fees, tickets and donations for this year should be retained by the Festival. We deeply thank you for your contribution, both personal and financial, and we look forward to seeing you all of you in 2021!

Despite the cancellation, we hope to bring some choral music to you later this year, so keep an eye on our social media!

Much love from all at Festival HQ 🐣

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:
Festival Office: – 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
  • 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:

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

For any further queries regarding ticketing please contact