The City of Derry International Choir Festival has announced plans for a ninth edition of the much-loved and anticipated annual autumn festival, due to take place from 20 – 24 October 2021.
Acknowledging the most recent announcements regarding Covid-19 guidelines, the Festival is excited to plan for October 2021 and looks forward to further easing of restrictions in the summer and autumn months. Following a hugely successful online festival in 2020, which racked up over 250,000 views from 50 countries worldwide, organisers are hopeful this year’s event will feature a programme of both live and digital concerts, performances, workshops, podcasts and events.
Internationally-renowned guest artists will include the 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”. The Festival will also welcome acclaimed conductor and composer Bob Chilcott, award-winning Derry chamber choir Codetta, and the Ulster Orchestra, for a programme of live and live-streamed concerts during Festival week.
The Festival has commissioned four brand-new pieces of choral music that will have their world premieres at the October Festival. Catalan conductor and composer (and former adjudicator at the festival) Josep Vila i Casañas has composed two new works for local primary and post-primary school choirs, with texts by Irish poets Enda Wyley and Catherine Ann Cullen. Northern Ireland creative production company Dumbworld will premiere the third part in a series of new works for the Festival entitled A Topography of Love and the festival will also feature a brand-new work for choir and cello as part of the Colmcille 1500 celebrations, with Derry cellist Kim Vaughan.
International choirs from across the world will be invited to participate in a Virtual Choral Trail by submitting video performances of sacred, gospel, pop, jazz and barbershop music, to feature throughout the festival’s digital programme from 20 – 24 October. The festival will also present a large-scale community programme of performances and workshops for local singing groups.
Dónal Doherty, Artistic Director of the Festival, said, “We could not be more excited about this year’s festival. Voices have been silent for too long now and this is the re-awakening that we’ve all been looking forward to over the past 15 months. We are very conscious of the pain and suffering that many have experienced as a result of the pandemic and we recognise this in our programming; but we also recognise the joy and happiness associated with singing together or the excitement we get from listening to live music, so Festival 2021 will be both reflective and celebratory. We are very hopeful that Derry and the whole north west region will once again come alive with the sound of singing.”