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


SOLD OUT! 2019 Christmas at the Cathedral

Our Christmas at the Cathedral concert on 7th December at St Fin Barre’s is sold out.

We’re pleased and overwhelmed by the huge amount of interest in this year’s edition! Thank you all and see you there.

Say hello to our new logo!

official logo of Cork International Choral Festival

So much happening on a single day!

After refreshing the website’s look, today we’re launching our brand-new logo. We have worked on reinvigorating our visual identity to communicate our ongoing evolution as a Festival. We believe that our refreshed identity captures the cheerful personality of the Festival and re-imagines it for the future! We hope you like it and we invite you to let us know what you think.

To celebrate our new look, we are thrilled to announce the first Gala Concerts of the 2020 Cork International Choral Festival! Box office is now open for next Festival’s Opening Gala Concert, Fleischmann International Gala Concert and Closing Gala Concert, and if you book before 31st December you’ll receive a special 10% Christmas discount on all tickets!

A Group Discount of 15% is also available for groups of 10 or more.

Book now your tickets and make the perfect gift for your loved ones!

Read more on the 2020 Gala Concerts here.

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

11th Musical Miscellany at the Freemasons’ Hall

Cork Freemasons Presents

11th Musical Miscellany at the Freemasons’ Hall

Fundraiser in aid of RNLI, Médecins Sans Frontières Simon Communities in Ireland, Simon Community NI and the Cork International Choral Festival

Saturday 16th November, 7pm
The Freemasons’ Hall

Easily Cork city’s most atmospheric room and 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 16th 2019. This year’s event is to benefit RNLI, Médecins Sans Frontières Simon Communities in Ireland, Simon Community NI and the Cork International Choral Festival.

The concert – entitled A Musical Miscellany and celebrating its 11th edition this year – will comprise of classical and contemporary music featuring CADA Performing ArtsCork Contemporary Choir (conductor Valter Fralda), Java Ladies Chorus and Forte Mixed Voice Choir (conductor Serena Standley), UCC Singers (conductor Ben Jacob), with special guests Denis Lane (baritone), Noel Somers (tenor), Maeve Anne O'Brien (mezzo-soprano), Anne Birmingham soprano, Tom Doyle (accompanist), Eddie Dooley (classical guitar) 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. Special raffle on the night.

Tickets cost €25, including refreshments, and may be obtained from the Choral Festival Office, Civic Trust House, 50 Pope’s Quay (tel.: 021-4215125 - administrator@corkchoral.ie) or from the Masonic Hall (munsterfreemason@gmail.com)


John Fitzpatrick steps aside as Festival and Artistic Director

The end of an era and new beginnings

John Fitzpatrick, Festival and Artistic Director of the Cork International Choral Festival, announced his decision to step aside from his full-time, day to day commitment with the Festival and its organisation and artistic planning, at the meeting of the Festival’s Board of Directors held after this year’s very successful 65th festival.

John’s involvement with the festival commenced in 1969 as a singer, continued as a conductor of various choirs over a long period, as an invited member of the Festival’s Artistic Board from 1976, and from 1993 when he became its Festival Director at the invitation of then Chairman, Alderman Jim Corr. After 26 years at the helm in a voluntary capacity John now moves aside with the distinction of being the Festival’s longest serving Festival Director. John said in his closing address that it had been – “….a particular honour to serve this special festival….The festival we now know is a vastly enriched festival to that which I inherited in 1993 but now is the appropriate time for me to move aside following a very successful 65th festival, confident in the knowledge that we now have a management team in place that will ensure the traditions of the festival, and its standards, are maintained going forward.” It was noted that, on appointment, John set out as his targets to reinstate and revise the administrative, organisational, artistic, financial, promotional structures, and to enhance the international profile of the festival such that the Cork International Choral Festival would not only maintain its pre-eminent position as Ireland’s major choral festival but also become a major festival on the international scene – this has been achieved. He assured the members of the Board that he would undertake to finalise the artistic programme for 2020 to ensure an easy hand-over to whoever would take over after him.

He acknowledged that this success could not have been accomplished without the support he had received from so many people over the years, all of whom have contributed to “the complicated and colourful tapestry” of the Choral Festival. He offered his sincere thanks to the two Chairmen of the Board, Alderman Jim Corr and Gerard Breen, the many managers and administrators he had worked with, all of whom made their own personal contributions to the festival; the members of the Festival’s Board of Directors and Artistic Boards; the heads of section who undertook their duties with committed diligence; and the many volunteers over the years. To all he offered his sincere thanks for their contribution, collegiality and friendship. He offered a special thanks to his wife, Jane, and his family, for their continued support and understanding.

The members of the Board expressed their surprise and regret at his decision, describing it as “the end of an era”, but were unanimous in their thanks and acknowledgement of his major voluntary contribution to the success of the Festival over so many years. His service was described as totally committed and exceptional by any standards of evaluation and they wished him well in his future activities. As a mark of respect and acknowledgment of his singular service John was invited to undertake a new role and to become President of the Festival. He accepted the Board’s invitation and said he would be honoured to fill such a role. 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 – the international network for choral competitions and festivals, an advisor 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.

The Festival is now in the process of actively assessing its future needs now that John Fitzpatrick is no longer carrying out the visionary work he has undertaken as Festival and Artistic Director for the past 26 years. Active discussions are now taking place at Board level to look at how best the Festival can fill the position to ensure that it continues to develop artistically into the future and to maintain and nurture its reputation. Its future will continue to be a work in progress and a new appointee will do so with an understanding of its special history, new ideas, a fresh approach, and new directions as being the guiding factors.

10 reasons to come to the Cork International Choral Festival

Whether you sing in a choir, you are a huge choral fan or you are just eager to discover some wonderful choral music while having a ball in Ireland’s second largest city, you should definitely consider a visit to Cork during the Cork International Choral Festival on 29th April – 3rd May 2020!

Cork – Ireland’s ‘rebel city’ – is one of the most vibrant cities in the Country and its county is filled with stunning sites and breath-taking landscapes. Every year the Cork International Choral Festival brings Cork to life with song for a celebration of choral music in all its many forms, as thousands of participants travel there for a programme of world-class performances. By participating to the Festival you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime!

A reminder to all international choirs that the closing date for non-competitive entries is 30th November 2019.

There’s a lot of things to see, eat, drink and do during the Festival week. Here we reveal 10 reasons why you should join us for the Cork International Choral Festival:

1. A warm welcome

The Irish are famed for the for their friendly and accepting attitude and Cork’s pubs and restaurants are filled with locals and tourists alike, coming together to have a good time.

Likewise, the Cork International Choral Festival is renowned for the friendliness of its welcome as our Festival Team does their best to offer choirs and participants an unforgettable Festival experience! All international choirs are met on arrival by one of our fáilteoirí. The fáilteoir’s job is to ease the choir members’ stay in the city, ensuring they know where they are supposed to be and supporting the choir throughout the Festival.

Choirs and locals singing in a pub at a Choral Trail performance / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

2. An international atmosphere

The international vibes are strong during the Festival week! The presence of choirs from throughout the world gives audiences and choirs alike the unique opportunity of hearing a diverse range of repertoire performed and get to know different cultures. International choirs participate in a wide range of Festival events, which see choirs popping up throughout Cork in new and unexpected locations throughout the duration of the Festival! A Meet & Greet session (open to the public and free) is also organised to allow international participants to get to know each other. You will experience the unifying power of choral singing!

The Women's Choral Society of the University of Oslo (Norway) performing at the 2019 Festival / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

3. Foodie destination

Cork tastes amazing! No surprise that it has been defined Ireland’s food capital, thanks to a perfect combination of high quality local products and a multitude of creative and passionate chefs. Take a stroll to the centuries-old English Market or enjoy the city’s many cafes and restaurants. Don’t miss the choral performances at the outdoor Festival Market in Emmet Place on the Festival weekend, and let the Festival’s Food & Drink Trail inspire you for your meal stops!

English Market, Cork City / Ph. Ireland's Content Pool

4. An unexpected heritage

Feel the cultural and artistic pulse of the city and enjoy the many historical buildings and cathedrals in the Cork area at the Festival Choral Trail and Fringe Concerts. Cork is home to numerous treasures, major monuments or little-known gems that can be discovered wandering the city streets and exploring its County. St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne, Triskel Christchurch, Blackrock Castle, Blarney Castle, St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh, the Methodist Church in Kinsale – These are only some of the gorgeous venues that you can visit while listening to some fine choral music!

While attending the Festival, take also the chance to discover Ireland’s Ancient East and visit places filled with quirky and memorable experiences. With the maps and itineraries available here as your inspiration, you will discover a region of legends and stories, from ancient times to modern day.

Cheep Trill (Australia) performing at Blarney Castle during the 2019 Festival / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

5. A colourful County

The colour green is closely associated with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, but Ireland is much more colourful than that! Cork’s building cover the full colour wheel. No one is sure of the origin of painting houses in bright colours. One theory is that fishermen used what was left over from painting their boats. Discover Cork City and County while attending the Festival, and take home with you memories (and, why not, also photos) of some the brightest and most colorful spots in the country!

Shops in downtown Kinsale, Co. Cork / Ph. Ireland's Content Pool

6. Choral fun for all the family

The Festival makes the perfect occasion for everyone to enjoy choral music at the Festival’s many free events. In particular, the Afternoons in the Atrium have become a very popular Festival feature and are the perfect setting for families and festival goers who want to relax in the hotel’s bright atrium and experience the Festival atmosphere in full flow. Afternoons in the Atrium provides a weekend of energetic and entertaining performances by national and international choirs in the fresh, modern setting of the Clayton Hotel.

Families at the 2019 Festival Market / Ph, Magdalena Bednarek

7. Unique Gala Concerts

Every year the Festival welcomes some of the finest international talents of the choral world to Cork for a programme of 6 headline Gala Concerts. It is the perfect way to enjoy the surroundings of some of the most stunning venues in Cork (Cork City Hall, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne) while attending world-class performances.

Groups and participating choirs can avail of a special discount on the tickets. Another great way to get tickets for the Gala Concerts is becoming a Friend of the Festival. The package includes a range of fantastic benefits guaranteed to bring you a jam-packed festival experience at unbeatable value for money. Gala Concerts will be announced in the coming weeks. Don’t hesitate to contact the Festival Office to pre-book your tickets.

2019 Opening Gala Concert in Cork City Hall / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

8. Learning is serious fun

We believe that everyone should have an opportunity to sing in the Festival! For this, each year the Festival undertakes a series of (free!) educational programmes especially developed to widen access to both the novice and experienced. Join us in 2020 for The Big Sing and the Choral Symposium, as the Cork International Choral Festival continues to push forward the development and reach of choral music. Singing with others can bring people together in a unique way and provides an unbeatable feel-good factor!

A worskshop during the 2019 Choral Symposium / Ph. Magdalena Bednarek

9. A Festive city and home of incredible “craic”

Proud of its artistic and musical traditions, blessed with a well-established festive temperament, Cork is a lively and effervescent city. Join us for some great “craic” during the Festival week! If you have no idea of what “craic” means, you may feel better knowing that everyone new to Ireland wonders at its meaning when they first hear it. “The craic” (it’s pronounced crack) is one of the best-known terms in Ireland, however, some say is indefinable. The closest you get is “fun” (here you can read more about the top levels of craic you can reach).

If you are attending the Festival, you don’t want to miss the Festival Club! It is the perfect place to kick back and relax with festival choirs and guests (free entrance). There is something for everyone, depending on whether you are in the mood to sing, dance, drink or mingle your way into the small hours!

Participants at the 2019 Festival Club / Ph. Jed Niezgoda

10. Breath-taking views

We hope that we proved that Cork has got a hell of a lot more than that postcard scenery, but, yes – we agree that when you think about Ireland, its natural wonders are probably the first thing that springs to mind. County Cork is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the world, stretching from smart south-coast Kinsale to three rugged westerly peninsulas (Mizen Head, Sheep’s Head and Beara) reaching into the wild Atlantic. While attending the Festival, take some time to discover the lush landscape surrounding Cork!

Kinsale Harbour, Co. Cork / Ph. Ireland's Content Pool

If you are interested in participating in the 2020 Cork International Choral Festival with a choir, a group, or as an independent visitor, don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@corkchoral.ie. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions!