65th Cork International Choral Festival will bring 5,000 singers and 50,000 visitors to Cork

Cork’s longest running festival to generate €10 million for the local region

The full programme of events for the 65th Cork International Choral Festival was launched in City Hall last night (Wednesday April 10th) amid a chorus of music and song.


The globally renowned choral festival – Cork’s longest running festival and one of Europe’s most prestigious competitive choral events – takes place from May 1st – 5th 2019 and will bring 5,000 world class singers and 50,000 visitors to the Cork for five days of music and song. The historic Cork choral festival is expected to give an €10 million economic boost to the region.


Throughout the festival, singers from all over Ireland, Europe and beyond will take to the stages and streets of Cork for an extensive programme of national and international competitive trophy, gala concert and non-competitive performances in more than 90 venues across the city, with gala events and competitions centring around Cork’s City Hall.


Selected Irish and international choirs will also participate in a wide range of festival events including fringe concerts and informal public performances, which will see choirs popping up throughout Cork city and county in new and unexpected locations, including Blarney Castle and Gardens, St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh and the Methodist Church, Kinsale, during the five festival days.


The 65th Cork International Choral Festival opens on Wednesday May 1st in Cork City Hall with an exquisite Gala Concert celebrating the work of the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius and Danish composer, Carl Nielsen. The renowned Fleischmann Choir and Cork School of Music (CSM) Symphony Orchestra will be joined on stage by the CSM Junior Children’s Chorus and the CSM Senior Children’s Chorus for a performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1, and Nielsen’s Fynsk Forår and Hymnus Amoris.


Other festival highlights include Helene Stureborg’s Chamber Choir, which returns to Cork from Stockholm – after winning the Fleischmann International Trophy at Cork International Choral Festival in 2016 – for the gala ‘Evocations 2019’ concert in the city’s North Cathedral on Friday May 3rd at 10.30pm.


St. Finbarre’s Cathedral will also reverberate beautifully to the sounds of Chamber Choir Ireland who will give the world premiere performance of street after street alike, the winning composition of the 2019 Seán Ó Riada composition competition, composed by UCC Experimental Music Master’s student, James May. The evening will also see Chamber Choir Ireland perform a mixed programme of medieval and contemporary choral composers entitled ‘Before Bach and After’.


Headline non-competitive act PUST (meaning breath in Norwegian) whose compositions reverberate between Scandinavian folk, jazzy tones and all sorts of worldly and natural sounds, will bring a breath of fresh air to the festival with a gala performance in Cork City Hall on Thursday May 2nd.  Alternatively, the edgy, colourful, Brisbane based community choir, Cheep Trill, will perform in Triskel Christchurch the same day as part of the Fringe Concert series and again in Blarney Castle and Gardens on Friday May 3rd at 2pm as part of the Choral Trail.


Competitions taking place as part of the 65th Cork International Choral Festival include the National Competitions for Schools and National Open Competitions for Chamber Choirs, Ensembles, Mixed Voice, Youth Choirs and the prestigious Ireland’s Choir of the Year competition which will be contested by the highest number of choirs ever this year.


The hotly contested and highly prestigious annual Aloys Fleischmann International Trophy competition takes place on Saturday May 4th, giving audiences the opportunity to hear some of the world’s top amateur choirs competing for one of Europe’s most prestigious choral prizes.


However, musical or not, everyone is invited to get involved, participate in and enjoy the various workshops, events and performances on offer during the festival of song. A series of free concerts and performances will be staged around the city as part of the Fringe Concerts, Choral Trail and Afternoons at the Atrium of the Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, with plenty of impromptu night time performances in the hotel’s festival club.


The annual Big Sing also returns to Cork City Hall on Saturday May 4th inviting singers of all ages and levels of experience to form the largest choir of the festival, ensuring that everybody is given the opportunity to use their voice! Last year’s Big Sing brought 600 participants from all backgrounds together and the festival organisers hope to top that number this year under the tutelage of Ciaran Kelly of Ardu Vocal Ensemble, who will treach eager singers of all ages to perform Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ a capella!


Speaking at the programme launch, long-standing festival director, John Fitzpatrick, said:

 “Cork International Choral Festival has built a reputation as one of Europe’s most prestigious choral festivals.  We are very proud of its long tradition, its exciting Gala Concerts and Fringe Concert Series, its interesting Choral Symposium, its diverse, extensive and inclusive outreach programme, and the high level of entries for its competitive and non-competitive performances. We are delighted to welcome so many international and Irish choirs to Cork for what will be an exciting five days of music and song. The festival wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and support of the small team of committed staff, our sponsors, and our wonderful volunteers, and I would like to thank them all in advance for their hard work and dedication to Cork’s longest running festival.”


New festival manager, Elaine FitzGerald added:

“This is my first Cork International Choral Festival as festival manager and I’m very much looking forward to welcoming singers from all over the world to Cork, hearing them perform, and showing them the best that Cork has to offer. We have a packed programme of events throughout the festival and there should certainly be a song for everyone over the May bank holiday weekend, whether you’re interested in sacred church music, jazzy tunes or you just want to hear a fun street chorus, Cork International Choral Festival’s got it all!”


Cork International Choral Festival is supported by the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, with the Irish Examiner, Evening Echo and Cork’s 96FM as media partners.


Festival Tickets are available for purchase through the online booking system at www.corkchoral.ie.


Special packages are also available in partnership with the Clayton Hotel Cork City to ensure visitors get the best of their journey to Cork while enjoying all the Festival has to offer.