25 April 2023
By Elaine Murphy
This year’s festival runs from Wednesday 26th April through the May bank holiday weekend to Sunday 30th April
Tune into Cork this week as the world-renowned Cork International Choral Festival returns, bringing together a wealth of musical talent from across the globe. The festival, now in its 68th year, is set to be one of the highlights of the musical calendar, with over 5,000 participants from all over the world.
This year’s festival which runs from tomorrow Wednesday 26th April through the May bank holiday weekend to Sunday 30th April, promises to be an unforgettable experience for both performers and audiences alike. There will be gala choir performances, national and international trophy competitions, fringe concerts, workshops, and free public performances in more than 90 venues throughout Cork city and county. The festival will also host a range of events for children and young people, encouraging the next generation of choral musicians.
The festival will showcase the best of choral music from around the world, with participants hailing from all over Europe as well as Israel and Canada. The festival will also showcase the very best of Irish choral music, with performances from some of the country’s finest choirs.
Get all the family to raise the roof at The Big Sing in Cork City Hall on Saturday April 29th at 12.15pm, one of the most attractive and acoustically superb venues in Ireland. During this fun participative public event, singers of all ages and levels of experience are invited along to be part of the largest choir of the festival, giving everybody the opportunity to exercise their vocal chords! The best bit? You don’t even need to be able to sing. It’s about lending your voice and experiencing the sheer joy and sense of community that lies at the heart of choral singing. Music and lyrics will be handed out on the day.
Performances on Emmet Place in the city center will strike a note with shoppers as 13 choirs will give individual performances on Saturday from 10.40am – 2.40pm. Grab a coffee or some lunch and enjoy a free open-air concert, with some uplifting performances on the menu.
Check out these joyful gala concerts. The Gesualdo Six, an award-winning British vocal ensemble comprising some of the UK’s finest consort singers, directed by Owain Park in the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne on Thursday at 7.30pm, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi & Chamber Choir cc Freia (Finland) will perform music about or inspired by light on Friday evening in St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, or round off the weekend with the Closing Gala Concert in Cork CIty Hall on Sunday evening.
The hotly contested annual Aloys Fleischmann International Trophy competition, will give audiences the opportunity to hear some of the world’s top amateur choir’s competing for one of Europe’s most prestigious choral prizes.
Get on verse at the much-loved Fringe Choral Festival, taking place in the scenic and family friendly port of Cobh. Follow the Choral Trail to Cobh Band Stand, Cobh Heritage Centre, or head to the Commodore Hotel where a different choir will perform every half hour on Saturday and Sunday. Check out a pop-up performance by Italian group Coro Monte Penice – Bobbio on Spike Island on Saturday (free admission).
Irish Youth Choir and Cork Children’s Choir – 300 primary school children will take to the stage for the Opening Gala Concert on Wednesday 26th. Acclaimed conductor Bernie Sherlock will conduct the first half leading the best young singers from across Ireland. Artistic Director Peter Stobart will conduct a choir of young local voices in the second half. It’ll be a really special event.
St. Finbarre’s Cathedral will reverberate beautifully to the sounds of Chamber Choir Ireland with guest conductor Sofi Jeannin who will give the premier performance of the winning composition of the 2023 Seán Ó Riada composition competition which is titled Draíocht na Farraige and by Mayo born composer Laura Heneghan. This concert will bring together contemporary works by Irish and French composers and the concert will explore the theme of peace through texts ranging from sanskrit to scripture and some of the greatest poets and writers spanning the centuries.
The festival has teamed up with CADA Performing Arts for an engaging and interactive workshop that will captivate both children and spectators alike on Wednesday 26th April, 11.40am. Learn from the talented instructors at CADA Performing Arts, and take part in a variety of activities that will bring the world of performing arts to life. Led by Kelly-Ann Healy and Andrew Lane from CADA Performing Arts.
The festival’s Artistic Director, Peter Stobart, said, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring together so many talented musicians from all over the world for this year’s festival. The Cork International Choral Festival has a long and proud history, and we’re excited to build on that tradition with this year’s program. We’re confident that audiences will be blown away by the performances they’ll see and hear over the coming days.”
For more information on the festival’s program and to purchase tickets, go to corkchoral.ie.