20 - 24 October 2021

Programme of Events

Join us for a programme of both live AND virtual events for our ninth edition, 20 - 24 October 2021!

Get tickets HERE!


Words and Music Symposium

Wednesday 20 October, Online, 12.30pm

The Words and Music Symposium will celebrate the fact that four new pieces of music will receive their first performances at this year's festival. 

In partnership with the Verbal Arts Centre, the theme of 'Words and Music' will be discussed by a panel including poets Enda Wyley and Catherine Ann Cullen, as well as composers Elaine Agnew, Eoghan Desmond and Josep Vila i Casañas.  This year presents us with the perfect opportunity to explore such issues as the relationship between words and music, poet and composer, singers and new works and current performance opportunities. We will also discuss how the Covid 19 experience over the past 18 months has impacted on the creative output of composers and poets.   

Register now

The Voyage

Wednesday 20 October, Millennium Forum, 7.30pm

Featuring Codetta, Momentum Community Choir, members of the Ulster Orchestra and conductor Bob Chilcott, this concert will include a performance of Chilcott's deeply emotive The Voyage. The audience will also enjoy the first ever live performance of a new work by County Antrim composer Elaine Agnew entitled Remarkable. 

Tickets £20/£12 plus booking fees


Primary School Big Sing

Thursday 21 October, Millennium Forum, 11am


A celebratory morning of singing, to include a workshop led by music education expert Lucinda Geoghegan with fun songs, games and rhymes, and a specially-composed piece for young voices by leading Catalan composer and conductor, Josep Vila i Casañas.

The Road Home

Thursday 21 October, St. Columba's Church Long Tower, 9pm

Featuring award-winning chamber choir Codetta and Derry cellist Kim Vaughan, this concert will feature a stunningly beautiful  programme including Stephen Paulus' The Road Home, and the world premiere of a brand-new festival commission by Irish composer Eoghan Desmond, as part of the Colmcille 1500 celebratory programme. 

Free entry with retiring collection. Pre-registration essential.


Post-Primary School Big Sing

Friday 22 October, Millennium Forum, 11am


A Big Sing workshop for post-primary school singers, featuring a newly-composed song for youth choirs by leading Catalan composer and conductor, Josep Vila i Casañas.


Friday 22 October, St. Columb's Cathedral, 7.30pm

Described as “phenomenal” (The Times) and “devastatingly beautiful” (Gramophone Magazine), award-winning choir Tenebrae, under the direction of Nigel Short, is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles renowned for its passion and precision and we are thrilled to be welcoming them back to Derry for LIVE performance this October.

Tickets £25/£15 plus booking fees


Oak Tree of Derry Concert

Friday 22 October, Online


A special virtual concert featuring previous winners of the International Competition's Oak Tree of Derry Trophy, including choirs from Estonia, Indonesia, Ireland, Slovenia and Wales.

The Community Forum

Saturday 23 October, Online, 10am

The Community Forum, new to the Festival in 2021, is an online panel discussion dedicated to community singing. In this event, we will bring together local community choir leaders with healthcare professionals to discuss the theme of Recovery - how choirs could play a role in helping our communities to recover from the many lasting consequences (on our society, and on our health and wellbeing) of the pandemic.

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Let's Just Sing!

Saturday 23 October, Foyle Arena, 4.30pm

Singers of all levels of experience are invited to join us for a Community Sing, led by some of the Festival’s best known community choir leaders, including Siobhan Heaney (Momentum, Pink Ladies, NW Cancer Centre Choir, Song for the Soul and Sing Tonicity). No need to prepare anything, just come along and join in, as we workshop and sing well known songs together, including Stand by Me, Something Inside So Strong and Sing A Song. All are welcome, limited capacity.

Register now


Saturday 23 October, Online, 8pm

Grammy Award-winning American a cappella ensemble Chanticleer, described as the “world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker, and known across the globe as the “orchestra of voices”, make their debut at the City of Derry International Choir Festival with a bespoke virtual concert.

FREE CONCERT, registration required.


Hymns of Remembrance and Hope

Saturday 23 October, St. Eugene's Cathedral, 9pm

In this special hymn service at St. Eugene's Cathedral we reflect on what our communities have come through since March 2020 by joining together to sing as a congregation. 

Representatives from the city's churches will lead us in prayer and song as we commemorate those who have died during the pandemic, honour the dedication of front line workers and the resilience of our own communities, and look forward with hope to our recovery and reawakening. All are welcome, limited capacity. 

Register now

The Magnificent AKs

Sunday 24 October, Online, 12pm

Join us for this very special performance from friends of the festival, The Magnificent AKs!

Choral Trails

20 - 24 October, Live, Various Venues


An exciting programme of live pop-up performances featuring local community choirs and singers in venues throughout the city. 

Virtual Choral Trail

20 - 24 October, Online


An eclectic mix of choirs from across the globe performing sacred, gospel, pop, jazz and barbershop music throughout festival week.

Submit video now

Podcast Series

20 - 24 October, Online


A lively series of conversations featuring artists from the 2021 festival programme.

caldwell & robinson
  • Lottery Funded arts council of Northern Ireland
  • Derry City and Strabane District Council
  • Inner City Trust
  • arts council of Northern Ireland
  • Enkalon Foundation
  • The Community Foundation
  • Colmcille 1500
  • Department for Communities
  • Northern Ireland Tourist Board
  • Discover Northern Ireland
  • Caldwell & Robinson
  • Allstate
  • FinTru
  • Ulster University
  • Sing Ireland
  • Contemporary Music Centre
  • CFN