23 October 2022
By Tom Collins
The Cork International Choral Festival is now accepting entries from Irish composers for the 2023 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition. Judged by a panel of experts and composers of international renown, the competition awards a cash prize (kindly donated by the Ó Ríada family) and the Seán Ó Riada Trophy to the winning composer, and the selected piece will in turn be given its premiere performance by Chamber Choir Ireland at the Festival’s Gala Concert held in St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral on Friday 28 April, 2023.
The Seán Ó Riada Competition was created in 1972 in recognition of the creative life and work of Seán Ó Riada (1931-71). While the format has evolved over the years, the focus has always been on bringing both traditional and new pieces of Irish music to life and to new audiences, as well as encouraging the composition of contemporary music as Gaeilge. The current format focuses on new works from Irish composers and has a novel approach of scores being entered under pseudonym to protect the identity of the composer.
The winning composition will be selected by a panel, comprising of composers and choral experts, and will be a featured work during the Festival’s Choral Symposium. The selected composition will receive its premiere performance during the Festival at a Gala Concert given by Chamber Choir Ireland. The composer of the work will be invited to attend the festival as its guest and play an active part in the Choral Symposium.
Since the new format was introduced 12 years ago, 261 original compositions have been entered, which highlights the renewed interest in, and healthy state of Irish composition. Previous winners of the competition include Solfa Carlile, Rhona Clarke, Patrick Connolly, Frank Corcoran, Séamas de Barra, Eoghan Desmond, Amanda Feery, Michael Holohan, Marian Ingoldsby, Donal Mac Erlaine, Simon MacHale, Michael McGlynn, Kevin O’Connell, Criostóir Ó Loingsigh, Donal Sarsfield, James May, Peter Leavy, Norah Constance Walsh and last year’s winner, Daragh Black Hynes. Several of these works have been published by international choral publishing houses.
The competition is open to composers born, or resident, in Ireland and applications are welcomed from both established and emerging composers. The score should be an original work, written for a cappella choir, and up to 5 minutes in duration. It should be in 4 parts, and the selected text may be original or existing, in the English, or Irish, language.
Full information on the competition criteria is available on the Festival’s website with applications now being accepted via https://www.corkchoral.ie/sean-o-riada-composition-competition/. Deadline for entries is Friday 9 December 2022.