Choral Festival finishes on high note

THOUSANDS of singers and dozens of choirs travelled to Leeside over the last week for the 57th Cork International Choral Festival.

Headline concerts included performances by the Sirin Ensemble, a Russian choir who interpret 15th-16th century Russian folk music and Ommm, a young French quintet with a jazz background whose experimentation with acappella singing has led them to a new style they dub Vocal Trip Box.

The National Chamber Choir of Ireland returned with a concert featuring two world premieres, as well as the European premiere of a work by Pulitzer Prize-winning, US-Israeli composer Shulamit Ran.

Her Credo/Ani Ma’amin was performed alongside two brand new compositions by commissioned composer Siobhán Cleary and the winner of this year’s Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition, Patrick Connolly.

The opening gala concert last Wednesday saw The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace performed under the baton of the composer, Karl Jenkins.

Choral Festival director John Fitzpatrick said this year’s festival programme brought a range and depth of choral expression to audiences available nowhere else in the country.

“Choral music spans all nations, cultures, religions, age groups, and has more active participants worldwide than any other type of pursuit. It brings enjoyment to many and enriches both those who sing and those who listen. This is the positive message we at the Choral Festival wish to convey,” Mr Fitzpatrick said,

Meanwhile, Cork International Choral Festival continued to expand its education programme.

Since 1998, the annual Composers in the Classroom project offers music students and their teachers the opportunity to work in their own classrooms with professional composers throughout the school year.

The culmination of this project each year is the Composers in the Classroom Seminar when compositions by students from each of this year’s participating schools are performed.

As part of the festival, free public performances also took place in hotels, libraries, galleries and restaurants all over Cork city and surrounding areas. Blarney Castle, the Lifetime Lab and Blackrock Castle Observatory all hosted free performances with even Cork University Hospital becoming a concert hall for a performance by Swiss male-voice ensemble Octuor Vocal de Sion. The closing gala took place last night at Cork City Hall.


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