The city of Cork will be hitting a high note this May bank holiday weekend. The Cork International Choral Festival will make a welcome return to the streets and stages of the city and county for five days of singing from April 26th to April 30th 2023. And you’re invited to join in the music and song!
Organisers are getting ready to welcome back thousands of singers from global and national choirs, and tens of thousands of visitors, for the internationally renowned festival, which is now in its 68th year. The Cork International Choral Festival is the oldest festival in Cork and one of Europe’s most prestigious choral events.
Singers from all over Ireland, Europe and beyond will participate in gala performances, national and international trophy competitions, fringe concerts, workshops, and free public performances in more than 90 venues throughout Cork city and county, some of which are in new and unexpected locations. The fun event also spills onto the streets, cafes, restaurants and bars of Cork, which gives a fantastic atmosphere across the city for the long weekend.
Musical or not, everyone is invited to get involved and participate in the various workshops, events and performances on offer.
Highlights include the annual Big Sing, which returns on Saturday April 29th to Cork City Hall, 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, ensuring that everybody is given the opportunity to exercise their vocal chords! The best bit? You don’t even need to be able to sing. It’s simply about lending your voice and experiencing the sheer joy and sense of community that lies at the heart of choral singing. No preparation is necessary either as music and lyrics will be handed out on the day.
Other exciting events during the festival itself will include the hotly contested annual Aloys Fleischmann International Trophy competition, which offers audiences the opportunity to hear some of the world’s top amateur choir’s competing for one of Europe’s most prestigious choral prizes.
Audiences will also enjoy Irish Youth Choir and Cork Children’s Choir 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.
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. They 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.
With the prestigious feature event for Irish choirs – Ireland’s Choir of the Year – taking place during the festival, along with an eclectic array of international competitions and musical styles set to be performed over the five days, Cork is the certainly the place to be for the sweet sounds of music in the run up to and during the May bank holiday weekend.
The 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.