Cork International Choral Festival begins today, more than 80 choirs taking part

Cork International Choral Festival begins today, more than 80 choirs taking part

Mark Chambers ,Méav Ní Mhaolchatha and Shane Barriscale Chamber Choir Ireland, which will perform on Friday. Images by Gerard McCarthy. 

MORE than 80 choirs from Ireland and across the world will take part in this year’s Cork International Choral Festival, which gets underway today. 

The festival, which is taking place online, will feature choirs from all over Ireland, as well as from Russia, Turkey, Columbia, Switzerland, Sweden, China, USA, Netherlands, Morocco, Venezuela, Indonesia, Israel and Singapore.

The prestigious event, which normally attracts 5,000 singers and 50,000 visitors from all over the world to Cork city and county, will open this evening with a specially commissioned poem, ‘A Singing City’ written by renowned Cork poet, Billy Ramsell. 

Voiced by arts broadcaster, Elmarie Mawe, the virtual performance will be backed by some exceptional archival footage of the festival featuring breath-taking scenes of the City and County.


Among the highlights of the festival will be a performance from St Finbarre’s Cathedral on Friday by the Chamber Choir Ireland which will feature three premieres.

The first is a new piece by composer Amanda Feery, commissioned by the festival last year, while the winning compositions of both the 2020 and 2021 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competitions, Peter Leavy and Norah Walsh, will also be performed.

Saturday night will see one of Ireland’s most acclaimed vocal ensembles, Resurgam, also singing in St. Finbarre’s Cathedral, performing an array of early choral music.

Sunday night’s closing gala concert promises an exciting performance from Berlin based a capella group ONAIR, who were scheduled to play as part of the cancelled 2020 Festival, taking to the stage.

The festival’s four gala concerts will be preceded by a discussion with the performers, giving the audience an added insight into the programme. 

This year, the festival also launches its inaugural Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year Competition, as well as national and international A Cappella Video.

'Something for everyone'

Peter Stobart, Artistic Director of the festival said, “We hope that this year’s Cork International Choral Festival has something for everyone and that as many people as possible will engage with what we have to offer and support the festival at a time when the arts and singing particularly are affected so gravely. We genuinely appreciate the support of our funders, the Arts Council, Cork City Council, Cork County Council & Fáilte Ireland and all our sponsors and partners, without whom we would not be able to deliver this unique festival of song and we look forward to being back in person in 2022.”

The event takes place between until Sunday, and tickets are now available for online concerts.

Tickets for each of the individual concerts are available to book online from for just €5.99 or €19.95 for a full online festival pass.

There will also be free interactive workshops.

See for details. 

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