Tenebrae, Chanticleer and New Commissions for 9th City of Derry International Choir Festival

Derry chamber choir Codetta, with Dónal Doherty, Artistic Director of the festival, and cellist Kim Vaughan (Photo: Lorcan Doherty).

Tenebrae, Chanticleer and New Commissions for 9th City of Derry International Choir Festival

Festival will feature new works by Elaine Agnew and Eoghan Desmond.

The City of Derry International Choir Festival is taking place this year from 20 to 24 October. The festival, which is now in its ninth year, will present a series of live and online concerts, performances, panel discussions, workshops and podcast recordings. 

The festival will launch on 20 October with the opening concert in the Millennium Forum Theatre, featuring local choirs and singers, performing with members of the Ulster Orchestra, and British composer Bob Chilcott’s The Voyage, conducted by the composer. The concert will also present the premiere of a new work by composer Elaine Agnew, Remarkable – a commission by Brian Irvine and John McIlduff’s company Dumbworld – performed by the Arts Care Choir from Armagh, Derry chamber choir Codetta and the Ulster Orchestra.

On 21 October, Codetta will perform again with cellist Kim Vaughan in St Columba’s Church Long Tower, presenting the festival’s second world premiere – a newly commissioned work by Eoghan Desmond, chosen in partnership with the Contemporary Music Centre, as part of the Colmcille 1500 celebratory programme. 

UK vocal ensemble Tenebrae are performing in St Columb’s Cathedral on 22 October, and, on 21 October, Chanticleer, the all-male a cappella ensemble from San Francisco, will present an online concert and a live Zoom workshop. 

Also taking place throughout the festival is community singing event Let’s Just Sing! where singers of all experience levels are invited to join a singing session led by local choir leaders (23 October); an online concert featuring previous winners of the competition’s Oak Tree of Derry Trophy, including choirs from Estonia, Indonesia, Ireland, Slovenia and Wales (22 October); a Primary School Big Sing event of singing and workshops for primary school singers (21 October); and a Big Sing workshop for post-primary school singers, featuring a newly composed song for youth choirs by Catalan composer and conductor, Josep Vila i Casañas (22 October). 

Panel discussions on the topic of community singing will also take place, as well as a Virtual Choral Trail, a series of podcast recordings and the festival’s Words and Music Symposium – an online panel discussion on the theme of words, music and composition, featuring composers and poets from the 2021 programme.

Commenting on this year’s programme of events, Artistic Director Dónal Doherty said:

There is a real sense of hope among singers everywhere that we will soon be able to return to regular rehearsals and performances. Singing together is our life-blood and this shared experience has been sorely missed over the past 18 months. We cannot wait to perform together again, or to enjoy the performance of other groups, whether outdoors or in one of the beautiful indoor venues that we’ll be using for this year’s festival.

For further information and tickets, visit: www.derrychoirfest.com/2021-festival/programme-of-events.php 

Published on 5 October 2021

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