Thesis submission ID 923 | created | last updated

Fearghal Ó Conchubhair, The influence of the Cork International Choral Festival on choral singing, choral conducting and choral composition in Ireland (1954-2021)
DMusPerf, Royal Irish Academy of Music, 2022

Volumes, pp.: 1 vol (vi, 218 pp.)  
Supervisor(s): Denise Neary
Repository (online):
Repository (hard copy): Royal Irish Academy of Music Library

General specialism: Musicology: Performance Studies
Historical timeframe: 1954-2021
Key terms, institutions: Cork International Choral Festival
Key terms, genres, instruments: Choral singing; Choral conducting; Choral composition

This thesis examines the influence and development that the Cork International Choral Festival has had on choral singing, the training of choral conductors and the enhancement of Irish choral music in Ireland

The Cork International Choral Festival was established in 1954 as part of the Tóstal festival – a festival that sought to celebrate and showcase Irish traditions on an international stage. Over time (1954-2021), the Festival has emerged as Ireland’s premier choral competition. It is held over five days, with choirs from Ireland and abroad gathering in Cork to celebrate choral music. The Festival has undergone significant growth over time and features up to five thousand singers and conductors each year. The Festival has also evolved by developing several competitions for choirs and composers, as well as educational initiatives and non-competitive platforms. Many Irish choirs have progressed through the Festival’s competitive platforms and are now highly ranked in other Irish and European choral competitions. It has provided the opportunity for choirs, conductors, and composers to develop their talents through opportunities to learn and perform. The Festival offers singers training in the form of masterclasses and other educational activities such as vocal production workshops, while also exposing singers, conductors, composers and general audiences to the highest level of choral music and singing in Ireland.

The Festival’s impact on choral singing, conducting and composition in Ireland remains largely unexamined. This thesis contributes a new body of research through an analysis of documentary evidence, interviews with musicians associated with the Festival and the results of a survey administered to key choristers, conductors, composers and administrators involved in the Festival. Various aspects of the Festival will be examined: competitive and non-competitive performance; the composition of new Irish choral music; and how the Festival has helped establish many associations such as the International Choral Conducting Summer School, Sing Ireland and the Irish Youth Choir.
Thesis submission ID 923