20 - 24 October 2021

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Colmcille 1500

Commission opportunity for composition of new SATB Choir & Solo Cello work

About Colmcille 1500

Colmcille 1500 is a year-long commemoration marking the 1500th anniversary of the birth of Colmcille (also known as Columba). The year recognises the importance and legacy of the 6th-century saint, not only for Derry and Donegal but for the island of Ireland, Scotland and across the world. The year-long celebrations will last from the 7th December 2020 to 7th December 2021.

About the Colmcille 1500 Grant Scheme

Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council are co-ordinating a programme for the year which is being supported by key partners including the North West Development Fund, in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and The Irish Government. The programme has been developed based on the Audit of Columban Heritage commissioned by both Councils as well as Foras na Gaeilge and The Heritage Council as part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan.

Commission Details

City of Derry International Choir Festival with funding from the Colmcille 1500 Grant Scheme and supported by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland, will commission a new work for SATB choir and solo cello as part of the Colmcille 1500 celebrations (Dec 2020-21).

This new piece of original music will be premiered by Codetta, an internationally-recognised adult chamber choir based in Derry and Kim Vaughan, cellist with the renowned Benyounes Quartet. Kim Vaughan is originally from Derry but is now living in Scotland.

With this commission the festival invites composers to respond to Saint Colmcille and to reflect the saint’s local and international legacy with a work for SATB Choir and solo cello. It is envisaged that this new work will engage local audiences, and form the centrepiece for future international concerts planned by the choir. This commission will showcase the vibrancy of contemporary choral music currently being composed Ireland.

The commissioned composer will work collaboratively with the festival Director, Dónal Doherty, Codetta and cellist Kim Vaughan in the development of this new work. The text for use in this new work will be selected in discussion with the festival director and the festival team. The commissioned composer will be selected from among the submitted proposals by a panel, with representation from the City of Derry International Choir Festival. The panel’s decision is final.

Please note - this commissioning opportunity is open to composers born or based on the island of Ireland.


  • The commission fee is €2000
  • The completed work should be 5 minutes approximate duration for SATB choir and solo cello
  • Reasonable travel and accommodation expenses incurred by the composer in attending rehearsals and performances of this new work in Derry shall be reimbursed to the composer by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland


  • The completed work (full score and cello part) must reach the festival director by 1st of September 2021
  • As a festival partner, CMC will support this commission with the supply of scores and cello part for performance
  • Rehearsals for this work will take place in September 2021 in Derry
  • It is desirable for the composer to attend at least one rehearsal prior to performance of the piece as part of the 2021 City of Derry International Choir Festival. 
  • It is desirable for the composer to attend the premiere performance of the piece in Derry in October 2021. 

Performance Details

  • This new work will received its premiere in St Columba’s Church Long Tower as part of the ninth edition of the 2021 Festival
  • This new work will also be included in the Big Sing presentation to 750 young singers aged 12-18 in the Millennium Forum on the post-primary day of the CoDICF 2021 with school pupils present from throughout the island of Ireland
  • In addition, this new work will be performed by Codetta and Kim Vaughan in St. Columb’s Cathedral, Derry as part of the CoDICF 2021 Sacred Trail

For further details on submission/application details please see attached pdf here

Deadline for application to be considered: 13 June 2021

  • Lotter Funded arts council of Northern Ireland
  • Derry City and Strabane District Council
  • Inner City Trust
  • arts council of Northern Ireland
  • Caldwell & Robinson
  • Allstate
  • FinTru
  • Ulster University
  • Sing Ireland
  • Contemporary Music Centre
  • CFN