To broaden the Festival’s long-term commitment to the composition and understanding of new choral music a Choral Symposium was initiated in 2016 to more fully reflect, and enhance, the development of choral music and its composition and practice in Ireland.  The Symposium now offers a wider vision, and a more interactive platform, for composers, conductors, singers, practitioners, and students to meet, experience, and discuss. To place no restrictions of access and cost to participants, the symposium is offered over three days and is FREE of charge to attendees. The Festival thanks CIT Cork School of Music for its collaborative support in making the facilities of the school available to us.

As an integral part of the Choral Symposium, organised in collaboration with CIT Cork School of Music, we present a related range of interesting talks and practical sessions on choral practice over three days. One of our guest ensembles, the acclaimed vocal ensemble PUST, will host an interactive workshop based around a cappella singing and performance.
Chamber Choir Ireland will lead a masterclass session where three selected Cork based choirs will be put through their paces with a vocal warm-up and technique session as well as a tailored masterclass on the repertoire the choir is performing or working on to elevate their performance to the highest levels.
Practical sessions in the Alexander Technique, Voice Production, Choir Voicing, and an introduction to the relatively new holistic performance pedagogy, Core Singing™ will offer attendees an opportunity of learning and upskilling.



Thursday 2nd May

11am – 1pm: Curtis Auditorium, CIT Cork School of Music

The Festival, in collaboration with CIT Cork School of Music, is delighted to welcome our guest ensemble, the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble PUST, to host an interactive workshop. ‘Pust’, the Norwegian word for ‘breath’, is a source of vocal pleasure hailing from Oslo. This Scandinavian
sextet won 1st price at the Tampere Vocal Music Festival, has been nominated for several CARAs and ‘Spellemannprisen’ (the Norwegian Grammy). Pust’s compositions reverberate attentively between Scandinavian folk, jazzy tones, and all sorts of worldly and natural sounds. At times fragile, at others expressive, Pust are a listening experience – and nothing short of an aural exploration of the soul and the landscape of the European north.

In this workshop you will experience the essence of Pust’s music. An open rehearsal with Pust, how the sextet are making their songs and arrangements, the working process in bringing their vocal signatures into their songs that define their identity as a vocal ensemble. The workshop will be interactive between the ensemble and the listeners, both verbally and musically.

5pm – 7pm: Stack Theatre, CIT Cork School of Music

CoreSinging™, a relatively new holistic performance pedagogy that incorporates five essential elements: energy, awareness, imagination, practice and performance, was developed by Dr. Meribeth Dayme in 2010.

CoreSinging™ advocates a universal approach to studying and teaching singing that goes right to the heart of the person, the song and the audience. Energy, Awareness and Imagination are the cornerstones of this approach that includes concepts from Eastern and Western traditions, quantum mechanics and years devoted to the art of singing.

CoreSinging™ aims to combine all aspects of the human energy spectrum – the physical, metaphysical, mental, emotional, psychological, psychic, and spiritual – as well as emphasising fun, play and use of the imagination. The art of singing can be transformed dramatically by combining new awareness with old traditions and practices. This workshop will be given by Advanced CoreSinging Teacher Dr. Trish Rooney who is voice lecturer on the BA in Popular Music at The Cork School of Music, Director of The Academy of Popular Music & Voice of Ireland Vocal Coach.

Suitable for vocal coaches and singers of all levels and styles.


Friday 3rd May

2pm: Curtis Auditorium & Doolan Room (Room 217)                                                                                                                                   CIT Cork School of Music & Millenium Hall, City Hall

In a new development as part of their residency at Cork International Choral Festival, the singers of Chamber Choir Ireland will offer coaching to selected choirs attending or participating in the Festival. The choirs will be put through their paces with a vocal warm-up and technique session as well as a tailored masterclass on the repertoire the choir is performing or working on to elevate their performance to the highest levels. In 2019, the selected choirs are: Cappella Lyrica (conductor: Maria Judge), Cór Lae Nua (conductor: Nicholas McMurry) and Cork Contemporary Choir (conductor: Valter Fralda).

Known for its dynamic performances of everything from medieval music to cutting edge contemporary works, Chamber Choir Ireland is the national chamber choir and flagship professional choral ensemble in Ireland.

4.15pm – 5pm: Curtis Auditorium, CIT Cork School of Music

Rocky roads, Belfries or Safe Harbours ?

An illustrated talk about key post-war choral works, 1950-2010. Michael will briefly examine the choral music of Berio, Xenakis and Messaien and his own personal engagement with these great international figures. Other composers discussed will include Ligeti, Stockhausen, Tavener and Part. The lecture will pose an important question in relation to recent choral music: are we now on a journey from the experimental back to the traditional? True or false? Hopefully this subject will provoke an interesting discussion and debate.

Michael Holohan was born in Dublin 1956. He has won numerous prizes for his compositions. His music has been recorded commercially and broadcast internationally. Gallipoli, the GPO and Flanders, commissioned by the Irish Government for the 1916 Centenary, was premiered at The National Concert Hall, Dublin in November 2016. With the support of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The Hills Are Crying, a major song cycle based on the poetry of Francis Ledwidge was premiered in Slane, July 2017 and at the National Gallery in November 2017 for The Ledwidge Centenary.

His new CD The Road to Lough Swilly was performed in concert and released at the Drogheda Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in August 2018. A former prize winner of The Sean O’Riada Memorial Trophy 1982 and a commissioned composer in 2002, Michael has continued to have a long and cordial relationship with the festival. He has a deep interest in Irish literature and among his choral compositions are settings of poems by Seamus Heaney, Sean O’Riordáin and Susan Connolly.

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE – Mary Shorten in conjunction with Sing Ireland – WORKSHOP
5.15pm – 6.15pm: Doolan Room (Room 217), CIT Cork School of Music

Freedom, Flexibility and Ease in Performance.

Many singers and conductors experience excessive muscular effort in performance, which can greatly limit their ability to perform well. The Alexander Technique is a fascinating study of the relationship between thinking and movement. All human activity involves movement, whether it’s singing, conducting, playing an instrument, walking,  running or engaging in simple everyday tasks.

FM Alexander, an Australian actor, began a life-long study of himself as he tried to find a solution to his vocal difficulties. What he discovered is relevant for us all. How we are thinking, as we carry out a movement, can have a profound influence on our ability to move easily, freely and efficiently.

This informative Introductory Lecture and Demonstration will introduce you to the Interactive Teaching Method (ITM) approach to the Alexander Technique. You will learn some key concepts that you can apply immediately, to improve your mental and physical performance. By learning more about ourselves and the principles which govern all movement behaviour, we can greatly improve the quality of our performance, and greatly enhance the quality of our lives in general.

Mary Shorten has been involved in choral music for many years as a chorister, vocal tutor and conductor. In 2012, she graduated as an ITM Alexander Technique teacher, having studied with Don Weed, Head of ITM Training in Bristol. She is also an active trainer of teachers.

Brought to you by SING IRELAND.


Saturday 4th May

CHOIR VOICING – Kevin O’Carroll in conjunction with Sing Ireland – WORKSHOP
10am – 11am: Curtis Auditorium, CIT Cork School of Music

The Choir Voicing workshop is a one-hour presentation held in an entertaining and collaborative atmosphere where the technique is demonstrated and explained using volunteers or a guest demonstration choir. All that is required is for choir members to change places! The purpose of the technique is to establish the optimum blend for any given group of singers. One of the country’s leading musicians, conductor David Brophy, has said of this technique “Having attended this absorbing presentation I’m fully convinced that all choirs should investigate the potential benefits of utilising this subtle and mysterious technique – they will be surprised at the results!” Applying the Choir Voicing technique is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the overall sound of your choir. Whether applied to a large amateur group of 120 or an 8-member professional choral ensemble, the technique is equally effective. Presented by Kevin O’Carroll, this demonstration has proved to be very popular with both national and international choirs. So much so that a presentation of the workshop has been requested every year since 2012. In addition to being a freelance conductor, adjudicator and provider of choral workshops, Kevin has researched the impact of standard modern music notation on the performance practice of Renaissance polyphony. In the process, he has devised the Phrased Notation System (PNS) which seeks to improve performance practice of choral music from the late Renaissance. In 2018 Kevin was awarded a PhD from the University of Limerick for his work in this area.

Brought to you by SING IRELAND.

VOICE PRODUCTION – with Alan Leech in conjunction with Sing Ireland – WORKSHOP
1.30pm – 2.30pm: Doolan Room (Room 217), CIT Cork School of Music

Sing Ireland presents a Master Class in Vocal Production for singers in choirs and conductors which will be led by an Alan Leech from Chamber Choir Ireland. Many choral singers request help with vocal production issues or need a refresher on the basics of healthy, natural singing technique, breath control and support and posture. Alan Leech is one of Ireland’s leading tenors and choral practitioners. He has been a member of Chamber Choir Ireland for the last 14 years, where he also facilitates their education projects. Alan also teaches Voice at an undergraduate level in St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University. Working both as a professional singer and singing teacher is central to Alan’s significant contribution to the greater choral community in Ireland. He is also a tutor for the Irish Youth Choir. Alan’s extensive experience and abilities in the choir area have led to invitations from several bodies to develop choir programmes both with young and older people.

Brought to you by SING IRELAND.