General

As one of Europe’s premier Choral Festivals we have been attracting choirs from all over the world, to attend either in a competitive or non-competitive capacity, as part of the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy or in the Non-competitive strand of the Festival.

Competitively: Fleischmann International Trophy Competition

This is a high standard competition for amateur choirs of international standing. Choirs are expected to present: A programme of a cappella music representing an historically-balanced and coherent range of styles.

This must include:

  1. a work composed before 1750
  2. an original work by a living composer
  3. and a work by a composer of the choir’s native country

Participation is strictly by application and selection only. The closing date for applications is 31st October of the preceding year. Information on application procedures, rules & regulations and the Festival application forms can be found here.

Non-Competitively

Each year choirs from around world are also 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. This is a great option for choirs who wish to enjoy what the Festival has to offer, without the competitive angle.

Participation is strictly by application and selection only. The closing date for applications is 30th November of the preceding year. Information on application procedures, rules & regulations and the Festival application forms can be found here.

For choirs applying for the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition there is a minimum number of twenty voices and maximum of sixty voices.

For Non-Competitive choirs there is no limit to the size of the choir. The administration fee for non-competitive participation is €30 per participant (including the conductor). A minimum fee of €200 per ensemble will apply. This fee will cover your choir’s participation fee, festival accreditation, an assigned ‘fáilteoir’ (festival welcomer and liaison), your official Festival Badge, special choir discounts to Festival Events and specially negotiated accommodation rates.

Fleischmann International Trophy Competition

Yes. Should a choir not be selected to compete in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition, they can generally transfer their application to the Non-Competitive Strand.  The deadline for Non-Competitive applications is 30th November of the preceding year.

Please note that, while choirs competing in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition are eligible for a per diem subsidy, the Festival is not in a position to subsidize non-competitive choirs and all costs are the choir’s responsibility. Please also note that a different application fee applies in the non-competitive strand. For more information, please see the international application forms.

The competition is directed towards choirs who have in many, but not all cases, been successful at national competitions in their own country and possibly competed at international level also.

Many choirs now have professionally produced CDs which they present on application.  This is preferable as it gives us a very clear idea of the standard and ambition of the choir.  It is best if the recording is reasonably recent.  Otherwise an audition CD of four or five pieces displaying a variety of styles and sounds would be desirable.  Such pieces should be a cappella to present the choir at their best in the type of competition in which they will participate.

Choirs in this competition are expected to present:

This is a high standard competition for amateur choirs of international standing. Choirs are expected to present: A programme of a cappella music representing an historically-balanced and coherent range of styles.

This must include:

  1. a work composed before 1750;
  2. an original work by a living composer;
  3. and a work by a composer of the choir’s native country’

Please click here for a list of  pieces performed in previous competitions

The pre 1750 work must be a composition written at that period.  An arrangement that is an edition of the original work is acceptable.  For example many 20th century editions exist for the performance of Renaissance madrigals, and the music of Palestrina and Monteverdi.  These would be fine.  Obviously, it is the responsibility of your conductor to choose a good edition.  On the other hand, if the music is a modern arrangement which departs very much from the integrity of the original, this would not be acceptable.

Choirs are advised to plan their arrival for the Wednesday or Thursday of the Festival, and departure for the Monday after the Festival. Choirs are given a full performance schedule for the period they are in Cork.  This schedule will typically include approximately 2 performances per day and will also allow for adequate rehearsal time:

  1. One or two performances as part of the Festival’s Choral Trail (Wednesday, Thursday or Friday)
  2. A guest performance during our national competitions to provide the choir with the practical experience of familiarizing themselves with the competition venue, stage, acoustics, etc. (Wednesday or  Thursday)
  3. A Meet & Greet performance with other visiting international choirs (Friday)
  4. On a selected basis a presentation of a Friendship concert or Fringe concert (Thursday or Friday)
  5. The Fleischmann International Trophy Competition (Saturday afternoon or evening)
  6. A performance  as part of the Festival’s Sacred Trail ( Sunday morning or Saturday evening)
  7. Attendance at the Award Ceremony (Sunday afternoon)
  8. A performance at the Closing Gala Concert on the (Sunday evening)

Please see below for a sample itinerary:

Thursday: 10am, Guest Performance at National Competition for Schools Section 2, Cork City Hall

Thursday: 1pm, Choral Trail Performance, Cork City Library

Friday: 10.30am – 12.30pm, Choir Meet & Greet, Cork City Hall

Friday: 4pm, Choral Trail Performance, Cork Vision Centre

Saturday: 6pm, Festival Reception for Conductor +1, Clarion Hotel

Saturday: 8pm, Fleischmann International Trophy Competition, Cork City Hall

Sunday: 11am, Sacred Trail Performance , St. Columba’s Church, Douglas

Sunday: 5.15pm, attendance at Awards Ceremony, Cork City Hall

Sunday: 8pm, Closing Gala, Cork City Hall

Informal, daytime performances for the general public (some open-air, weather permitting) are given by visiting choirs.  We schedule a number of these to take place daily throughout the city centre at festival time. The programmes should feature music appropriate for informal public entertainment. The audience will therefore often be transient e.g. passes by, stops for a few minutes, moves on and so forth.  A 15 minute programme would suffice.  We ask all visiting choirs to contribute to this fringe portion of our programme and hope you will enjoy bringing the festival atmosphere into the city.

The Festival’s Sacred Trail is an integral part of the Festival whereby choirs in the International Competition sing at local churches on the Sunday morning of the festival.  Choirs should note the following:

  1. There is no requirement to sing a Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, or Agnus Dei as being the main parts of a sung mass.
  2. Performances during a catholic mass are flexible and informal.  The most important thing is that congregations get to hear choirs singing.
  3. Generally approx. 4 or 5 pieces are required to be sung at different parts of the mass.  These should be religious and/or spiritual in character.
  4. A choir usually sings at: Entrance, Offertory, Communion and Recessional.
  5. Some choirs perform a number of extra pieces from their repertoire at the conclusion depending on the reception they receive from the congregation. A national folk song would be very suitable here.

Non-Competitive Participation

Each year the festival is delighted to host a number of Non-Competitive choirs from abroad who receive a schedule existing of different type of performances throughout Cork. These would usually include:

• Performances as part of the Festival’s popular Fringe Series

• Performances as part of the Festival’s Choral Trail

• Performance as part of the Festival’s Sacred Trail in one of the city’s churches

• Performance, on a selected basis, in one of the Festival’s concerts

We would encourage participating choirs to arrive to Cork some days before the Wednesday the Festival starts, to give the choir members time to rest, get a feel of the surroundings, and do some sightseeing. During the five days of the Festival, non-competitive choirs are usually very occupied with rehearsals, performances, and general festivities around the Festival, however, upon request, the Festival may perhaps be in a position to schedule sightseeing breaks as well.

Non-competitive choirs are welcome to perform from the repertoire they are most comfortable with. The most important thing is that the choir feels at ease with their own programme. Pianos are generally not available at Choral Trail venues , so it would be practical to have a capella repertoire as well as accompanied. Choirs that require a piano for all of their performances are advised to bring or hire a keyboard independently. Choirs that require a music stand for performances are also advised to bring or hire independently.

All in all, choirs are generally scheduled to perform around twice a day, but again, the Festival is happy to adapt to what non-competitive choirs feel comfortable with.  Also, it is common for certain pieces or programmes to be repeated in different performances.

Scheduling is quite flexible, and it is not a problem if the choir plans to go sightseeing for a day or so as long as the Festival is notified before scheduling takes place.

Typically, Non-Competitive choirs will be scheduled to sing twice at the Festival’s main venue in the City Hall, where choirs are asked to perform the short programme or 3 to 4 contrasting works of their own choice of about 12 min. in total. Piano is available here. Furthermore, there would be one mass performance in a local church where the choir is asked to perform usually 4 to 5 pieces of sacred music of their own choice. Organ would mostly be available as accompaniment here. In addition, the festival schedules a number of Public Performances across Cork city and county. This again, would be a short programme of own choice and choirs generally sing for between 10 to 25 minutes. Typically a choir would be scheduled to do 2 or 3 of these throughout the week. If the choir would be happy to, and upon selection, they could also be asked to perform the longer programme of about 45 minutes at for example a school or church in the area. Piano or organ would usually be available here as well.

Scheduling is quite flexible, and it is not a problem if the choir plans to go sightseeing for a day or so as long as the Festival office is notified before scheduling takes place.

Typically a programme would include: Various Public Performances in different locations throughout the city & county (e.g. libraries, shopping centres, galleries, hotels, restaurants etc, a Mass Performance in a church, and on a selected basis also a Non-competitive Performance as part of one of the Festival’s competitions or concerts (in the Cork City Hall). Programming would be flexible to the choir’s desires but would vary between 1 & 3 performances on one day. Click here for more information on our Festival venues.

Visiting Cork

Choirs competing in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition are eligible for a per diem subsidy.  They are however expected to make their own accommodation and food arrangements.

Details of the subsidy are as follows:  The Festival undertakes to pay a per diem subsidy (maximum 4 days) in the amount of €20 per choir member (including conductor), up to a maximum of 36 people, towards the cost of accommodation and meals for choirs selected for the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition.

Every year the Festival puts together a list of available accommodation in Cork.  Closer to festival time, we can also provide competing choirs with several restaurant suggestions in Cork.

Each year the Festival compiles an Accommodation Guide with specially negotiated accommodation rates for visiting choirs. In addition, we team up with the city’s best restaurants, bars, tourist sights and transport providers so that choirs are offered the best deals in town. View the Accommodation Guide.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact the Festival Office