A Musical Miscellany at the Freemasons’ Hall

Cork Freemasons Presents

10th Musical Miscellany
at the Freemasons’ Hall

Fundraiser in aid of Cork International Choral Festival,
Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Irish Heart Foundation
Saturday 17th November, 7pm
The Freemasons’ Hall

Easily Cork city’s most atmospheric room and, in its 248th year, the oldest performance space of the city, The Freemasons’ Hall of the Province of Munster Freemasons, located on Tuckey Street, Cork, is the venue for a special fundraising concert on Saturday November 17th 2018. This year’s event is to benefit three worthy charitable organisations - The Cork International Choral Festival, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Irish Heart Foundation.

The concert – entitled A Musical Miscellany and celebrating its 10th edition this year – will comprise of classical and contemporary music featuring CADA Performing Arts, Cór Lae Nua (Female Chamber Choir), The PolyPhonics (Barbershop), Voices of Cork (Community Choir), Douglas Harmonia Singers (Mixed voice choir), with special guests Denis Lane (baritone), Noel Somers (tenor), Anne Birmingham (soprano), Michelle O'Brien (mezzo-soprano), Charlotte O'Connor (mezzo-soprano), Thomas Doyle (piano) and other guest artists.

The evening will commence at 7pm, with pre-concert drinks and canapés reception, with the concert commencing at 8pm in the Lodge Room.

Tickets cost €20, including refreshments, and may be obtained from the Choral Festival Office, Civic Trust House, 50 Pope’s Quay (tel.: 021-4215125 - [email protected]e) or from the Masonic Hall ([email protected])


65th Cork International Choral Festival - Last call for applications!


Happy October folks!

Things are ramping up in Festival HQ as we approach the end of October - it's all go! Choir applications are coming in by the bucket-load and the Festival team is working extra hard to to make sure the 65th Cork International Choral Festival is the best one yet.

While you read, International applications are still open for 2019 and beyond, and if you have any queries, don't hesitate - get in touch! Our team will be delighted to answer all your questions and help you through the application process.

Make sure you check out the details below to get more information on both the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition and our Non-Competitive strand, or download our International Syllabus.


Fleischmann International Trophy Competition

Each year some of the finest amateur choirs are selected to compete for the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy. The selected choirs will also be scheduled for a range of additional festival activities throughout the week including fringe concerts, church and informal performances. A Meet and Greet session and a nightly Festival Club is organised to allow participants to get to know each other and to meet in a convivial social setting.

Application deadline: 31st October 2018

For more details: Fleischmann International Trophy Competition


Non-Competitive Participation

Each year a number of international choirs are selected to participate in the non-competitive strand of the Festival. Participating non-competitively gives choirs the opportunity to present informal performances in various locations across the city, while having the possibility to meet with other choirs, see some of Ireland’s beautiful countryside, attend some of the festival events, sing, mingle, and soak up the festival atmosphere here in Cork.

Applications deadline: 30th November 2018

For more details: Non-Competitive Participation


Don't delay - download our International Syllabus to get your applications in!

Introducing the new team at the office of 2019 CICF

Leaves are now falling after quite a nice Irish summer, but work is picking up the pace here in the office as the team starts working hard on the 65th Cork International Choral Festival, which will take place from 1st to 5th May 2019.
We are happy to introduce the team at the office of CICF! Choral Festival Manager is Elaine Fitzgerald and Festival Administrators are Michela Del Tin and Anne Daly.

We are looking forward to bringing you another jam packed, song loving, toe tapping choral festival next May Bank Holiday weekend. We hope you can join us! Our City will be alive with song!

Reminding all that October 31st is the last day upon which the festival can accept applications from choirs for the 2019 Fleischmann International Trophy Competition. Following a thrilling 2018 competition, we're expecting our busiest year yet, thus interested choirs are advised to apply early.

Find out more about the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition

Download the application form

White Smoke for the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition

February 2018

Cork International Choral Festival is proud to announce, Donal Sarsfield as the winner of the 2018 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition. As winner of the competition, his piece A Grain in the Balance will receive its world première in the spectacular surrounds of St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral on Friday 20th April 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. In what was an exceptional high-quality competition, an additional composition was chosen as runner-up, which was Kenneth Edge with his piece When you are old.

As a composer Donal Sarsfield primarily records, transforms and organises sounds. In all his recent work he is interested in stimulating a perceptual link between the listener, the work and the world in which we live. His PhD in Electroacoustic Composition at the University of Manchester, funded by the Elizabeth Maconchy Composition Fellowship, involved composing pieces which focus on one particular sound source, be it the sound of clapping, doors, or snare drums. The goal was to develop a greater awareness about listening and sound. Since his PhD, Donal has broadened his compositional approach to look at the same concerns, but from different perspectives. He also performs as a singer, both in a renaissance choir in Liverpool, and recently as a performer of his own works. On receiving the news of his win, Donal said:

“I am delighted to have been chosen for the O'Riada competition. Having attended Cork Choral Festival before, it has a particular energy which is infectious and it is a pleasure to be invited back when the city will be filled with so many incredible voices. Hearing my piece performed by Chamber Choir Ireland is also an honour which I will enjoy more than words can express. Although winning is a boost for the confidence, when I sent the score in the post I felt somehow that I had already won; can anybody imagine a greater prize than music in one's life?”

His composition, A Grain in the Balance was chosen by the members of the judging panel, composers Rhona Clarke and Andrew Hamilton, and Paul Hillier, Artistic Director and Conductor of CCI, who summarised their reaction and evaluation to Sarsfield’s winning piece as follows:

“The piece has a good structure and shows a sense of adventure and playfulness—especially in its rhythms."

Along with receiving a cash prize, kindly donated by the Ó Riada family, Donal’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 another world première of a piece by Andrew Hamilton that was specially commissioned by the Festival. Donal will also play an integral part in the Festival’s Choral Symposium. As part of this Symposium the Festival will also feature the runner up in the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition, Kenneth Edge, giving his composed work, When You Are Old, a performance reading under the direction of Paul Hillier and Chamber Choir Ireland in an interactive workshop session on Friday 20th April at 2pm in Cork School of Music.

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 and last year’s winner, Criostóir Ó Loingsigh. With nearly 200 compositions being submitted in the past 8 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

Cork International Choral Festival wins Best Tourism, Arts, Event



The Cork International Choral Festival was designated the winner of the Cork Business Association's “2017 Cork Business of the Year Awards” in the category Best Tourism, Arts, Event (Sponsored by IHF).

The overall winners were  announced, and awards presented, at the CBA's annual Gala Dinner and Awards Night on Saturday 20th January, at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh conference centre.

Festival Manager Sinéad Dunphy accepted the award on behalf of the festival.

The awards, which are run in partnership with JCD, the Irish Examiner and AIB, recognise the outstanding contribution of businesses and individuals working diligently across varied sectors of business in Cork City and environs.




Award - Logo - Winner

The 2018 Big Sing at the Cathedral - Fauré's Requiem

st fin barre;sAs part of the Cork International Choral Festival's aim to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet (literally), we're teaming up with 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 led by Director of Music and choral specialist Peter Stobart.

After such a magnificent coming-together of voices in the inaugural presentation last year, we have chosen Fauré's Requiem for the 2018 edition, a wonderful masterpiece that many of us know and love.

We're asking singers from all backgrounds to come along for the rehearsal and learn the piece which will be then performed that same evening.

All singers are welcome but reading music would be a great asset. Prior familiarity with the piece would be an added bonus.

You can download the score here.

If you would not like to sing, but come to listen to the performance, please see here.

Saturday 10th February, 2018

Day Schedule:

1.30pm: Registration

2pm: Begin

3.30pm: Break

4pm: Resume

5.30pm: Break

6.30pm: Performance

Please note:

  • An administration fee of €18 per person is applicable. To secure your place, please fill in the form below and pay. If you have queries about the process or payments, please e-mail [email protected].
  • If you own a copy of the score, please bring it with you on the day. You can download it here if necessary. In the event you do not own a copy of the score or are unable to download, please let the office know.
  • 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.

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Announcing our 2018 Gala Concert Programme!

Cork International Choral Festival Announces 2018 Gala Programme as Part of World Choral Day Celebrations

Sunday 10th December, 12.30pm - Grand Parade, Cork

December 2017 – On Sunday the 10th December, Cork International Choral Festival launches their exciting 2018 Gala Concerts box office in celebration of World Choral Day. This year will be the Festival’s 64th and will reaffirm its position as the longest running Festival in Cork. As part of the Glow Celebrations in marking World Choral Day, Cork International Choral Festival will bring together a great number of voices, including CIT Staff & PostGrad Choir, Scrubs CUH, St. Francis College, Cantate Chamber Choir and High Hopes Choir to perform on Grand Parade from 12.30 to celebrate World Choral Day and to get us into the Christmas Spirit!


The newly launched programme will see everything kick off at the Opening Gala Concert on Wednesday 18th April 2018 with two works by Irish composers: Aloys Fleischmann’s Clare’s Dragoons with the Army No. 1 Band (Owen Gilhooley - Baritone) along with Bernard Geary’s In Praise of a City (Mairead Buicke - Soprano and Goethe Institute Choir, Viva  Voce Choir and East Cork Choral Society), conducted by Lt. Mark Armstrong.


The following Gala Concert on Thursday 19th April will see Solala & Ardú Vocal Ensemble join their voices for a Joint Gala Concert. Solala brings 3 of the most stunning vocalists from Sweden together in an all-male trio showcasing some of the most popular vocal music around. Joining Solala on the night will be Ardú Vocal Ensemble, one of the most notable vocal groups to have emerged from the Irish vocal scene in the last number of years.


Friday 20th April will leave you spoilt for choice.  The 7.30pm concert in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral from Chamber Choir Ireland (Festival choir-in-residence) premières new work from the winner of this year’s Séan Ó Riada Competition for Irish composers. That evening gets even busier with the late-night concert Evocations set to take place in the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne at 10.30pm. The evening will platform Tenebrae Consort, an ensemble of singers handpicked from the award-winning choir Tenebrae, focusing on repertoire originally conceived for consort performance and promising a serene and intimate concert experience.


With 9 International groups already confirmed for the Festival, 2018 looks set to maintain its high standard and cosmopolitan appeal, ensuring its artistic future and integrity as one of the world’s most prestigious Choral Festivals. In light of that prestige we have the International Fleischmann Gala which will take pride of place on Saturday 21st April in City Hall, where some of the world’s top amateur choirs compete for one of the most prestigious prizes in International standards.


The Closing Gala Concert in City Hall on Sunday 22nd April will mark the end of a jam-packed Festival week with International choirs presenting choral music representative of their musical and cultural backgrounds in a joyful celebration of song and colour.


Festival Tickets are available for purchase through the online booking system at www.corkchoral.ie. Special packages are also available in partnership with the Clayton Hotel Cork City to ensure visitors get the best of their journey to Cork while enjoying all the Festival has to offer. So get set this Christmas with the perfect gift for you or a loved one and get booking to ensure yourself a weekend that will have you singing in the city, the ultimate soundtrack to your social life.

The Cork International Choral Festival gratefully acknowledges the financial support of The Arts Council of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Ireland’s Ancient East, Cork City Council and Cork County Council.


2018 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition Now Launched!

unnamed-40-150x150The 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 in St. Fin Barre's Cathedral by the acclaimed Chamber Choir Ireland on Friday 20th April 2018.

Read on to get all the details and download the application form below!


What is the Seán Ó Riada Competition?

The Seán Ó Riada Competition is a composition competition which invites the submission of new works from Irish composers.  The competition is a collaboration between the Cork International Choral Festival and Chamber Choir Ireland.  The winning composition will be selected by a panel, comprising of composers and choral experts, and will be a featured work at the Seminar on New Choral Music, organised as part of the Festival’s Choral Symposium.  This Seminar will feature Chamber Choir Ireland and its internationally renowned conductor, Paul Hillier, as artists in residence. The selected composition will receive its premiere performance during the Festival at a Gala Concert given by Chamber Choir Ireland, conducted by Paul Hillier. The composer of the work will be invited to attend the Festival as its guest and play an active part in the Choral Symposium.

What composers are eligible?

Composers born, or resident, in Ireland are eligible to apply.  Applications are welcomed from both established and emerging composers.

What general compositional parameters apply?

While Chamber Choir Ireland (CCI)—a chamber choir of 16 voices—will give the premiere performance of the work, it should have the potential to be accessible for performance by a wider range of high standard amateur Irish choirs.

The following parameters apply:

  • An original work
  • Written for a cappella choir
  • Up to 5 minutes in duration
  • 4 parts (SATB with no divisi)
  • The selected text may be original or existing, in the English, or Irish, language.
  • Texts should be non-liturgical.
  • Any rights related to the use of existing/copyright texts are a matter for the composer to clarify, and receive permission for their use.

Presentation format of score?

It is desirable that the work be presented in computerised notation A4 format (Sibelius or other). The text utilised, including its writer and source, should be detailed on a separate page and form part of the score presentation.  If hand written, scores should be legible and suitable for duplication for performance and study purposes in maximum A4 format.

Application Process?

In keeping with best practice, and to ensure the anonymity of composers’ identities in the application, assessment, and selection process the method of application will be as follows.

  • All applications will be in hard copy and forwarded by registered post to the Cork International Choral Festival, Civic Trust House, 50 Pope’s Quay, Cork.
  • The composer should use a pseudonym on the printed score.
  • Five (5) unbound copies of the score should be provided.
  • The composer should retain the original manuscript.
  • Each entry should be accompanied by a sealed envelope (one), enclosing the attached form, detailing the name and contact details of the composer.  The pseudonym of the composer should be clearly detailed on the exterior of this envelope.
  • Should the composer require confirmation of receipt, a pre addressed envelope to an address of the composer’s choice (utilising your pseudonym) or an independent email address, should be included with the application.  Festival staff will confirm receipt.
  • Subsequent to the decision of the Assessment Board, the sealed envelope will be opened and the composer will be informed of the success or otherwise of their application.
  • Confidentiality will be maintained by Festival staff about composers’ identities in relation to any specific queries received from the composer.

Assessment of compositions?

The assessment panel will consist of a minimum of three persons.  Both established composers and persons with choral expertise will be represented on the panel.

Benefits to be derived by composer?

  • A cash prize donated by the Ó Riada Family, will be awarded to the winning composer.
  • The winning composition will receive its premiere performance during the Festival at a Gala Concert given by Chamber Choir Ireland, conducted by Paul Hillier.
  • The winning composer is required to attend the Cork International Choral Festival as its guest and to participate in the Seminar on New Choral Music, organised as part of a wider Choral Symposium with Chamber Choir Ireland as artists-in-residence.  The Seminar on New Choral Music will retain at its centre the work undertaken for many years by the Festival’s established Seminar on Contemporary Choral Music.  The wider Choral Symposium will feature a range of related presentations, and workshops.
  •  The selected composition will feature as a selected work at a working session of the seminar.
  • Composer’s name added to the list of Seminar composers.  See www.corkchoral.ie for full list.
  • The Seán Ó Riada Trophy will be presented to the winning composer.
  • As an added incentive to composers, a representative selection of the compositions received will be given a Performance Reading by Chamber Choir Ireland (CCI) during the Festival. This public session will be presented as part of the Choral Symposium, align with the educational activities of both CCI and CICF, and will involve open discussion on the works.  It is essential that the invited composers are present for this session.  If they are unable to attend, their work will not be performed.

Closing Date for receipt of applications?

Friday 8th December 2017

General Rules of Application

  1. The composer gives permission to the Cork International Choral Festival (CICF) to make sufficient copies of the composition for performance, and Seminar study purposes.  The cost of such reproduction will accrue to the festival.
  2. The composer gives permission for a PDF copy of the composition to be made available, for study purposes only, on the Festival’s website.
  3. The Cork International Choral Festival will retain a copy of the selected score for archival purposes.
  4. A condition of the award requires the winning composer to attend the Seminar on New Choral Music, to participate in the presentation and analysis of the work, and to be present for the première of the work.
  5. The rights of the Premiere performance are assigned to the Cork International Choral Festival (CICF) and Chamber Choir Ireland (CCI)
  6. No commission fee will apply to the CICF and CCI in relation to the composition of the work.
  7. No costs, apart from accommodation and meals, will accrue to the CICF and CCI in relation to the composer’s attendance at the Festival.  Any other costs will be the responsibility of the composer.
  8. Any performance of the composition during the Festival may, without payment, be recorded and the Festival shall be entitled to possession of any such recording.
  9. The decision of the Assessment Panel is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding any aspect of its work.
  10. The CICF or CCI accepts no legal responsibility in respect of anything pertaining to a composer’s participation in the festival.

Download Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition Application Form 2018

Contacts for further information:

 John Fitzpatrick, Festival and Artistic Director

Sinéad Dunphy, Festival Manager

Cork International Choral Festival

Civic Trust House

50 Pope’s Quay


Tel: 00 353 (0)21 4215125                Email: [email protected]


Cork International Choral Festival would like to inform all choristers, audience, stakeholders, partners and followers of the following change for our 2018 Festival.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the 2018 Festival, the 64th edition of the Festival, will move dates for one year only from the May Bank Holiday weekend and will now run from 18th until 22nd April 2018 inclusive.

All application dates for international choirs will remain the same. If you have any queries, please email the Festival Manager on [email protected]

Tribute to Colum Ó Cléirigh RIP

The recent death of Colum  Ó Cléirigh on 15 May 2017 sees yet another pioneer in the field of Irish music education departing the stage, a stage upon which he performed with his own inimitable charm and wit over many years.

At the Review Meeting of this year’s Cork International Choral Festival, John Fitzpatrick, Festival Director, outlined Colum’s  life and work and the contribution he had made to education and music over his long and fruitful lifetime.  His varied career as a teacher, headmaster, Professor of Music at St. Patrick’s Training College, his studies in, and subsequent introduction of, the Kodaly System of Music Education to Ireland, his related work as a choir conductor, examiner, and adjudicator, and his work in improving the career structures of 3rd level teachers, were the outward career signs of a person who lived life passionately and to the full, and who was fearless in speaking out on what he considered right.

Colum was a long-term Friend and major supporter of the Cork International Choral Festival missing only two of the 63 festivals, one due to major heart surgery, and the second due to his recent terminal illness.  John spoke warmly of the person he had known for many years and whose knowledge, positivity, generosity, personal support, and larger than life personality he valued highly.  He extended his, and the Festival’s, sympathies to Colum’s partner, Peter McDermott, his children, Duncan and Sharon, his grandchildren, brother Noel, sister Kathleen, extended family and many friends on his recent death.  His colourful personality will be sadly missed but all who knew him will remember him, and his wonderful stories, fondly.