Harry Christophers’ The Sixteen, one of the world’s most renowned choral ensembles, will return to the Guildhall in 2023 as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of City of Derry International Choir Festival. They feature in a guest artist line-up which will also see the Ulster Orchestra, Festival Chorus and soloists performing Verdi’s dramatic Messa da Requiem at the Millennium Forum in the Festival’s Opening Gala.
On Friday 20th October, The Sixteen will visit Derry for the first time since 2016 to present their programme, A Watchful Gaze, marking the 400th anniversary of the death of composer William Byrd. Byrd was widely admired in his own time both at home and abroad, and the influence he had on future generations was immense. This programme explores the music of Byrd’s influences, colleagues and pervading faith, as well as taking his legacy firmly into the modern day with two new works by Dobrinka Tabakova.
The Choir Festival will open on Wednesday 18th October with a concert performance of the dramatic Messa da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi. A 100-voice Festival Chorus (made up of singers from across the northwest of Ireland) will be joined by Northern Ireland’s premier symphony orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, and soloists.
These performances will be among the highlights of five days of choral events scheduled in the Millennium Forum, the Guildhall and other venues in Derry, Strabane and Inishowen from 18-22 October 2023. Over sixty choirs from across Ireland, the UK and Europe have signed up to participate in the Festival’s packed schedule of competitions, workshops and community performances.
Dónal Doherty, Artistic Director of the Choir Festival, said, “It’s always a very special occasion when Harry Christophers and the Sixteen come to the city. It will be especially memorable this year, as we welcome back this exceptional ensemble to help us celebrate our 10th Anniversary edition, in the wonderful setting of the Guildhall. Tickets will be at a premium, so book early to avoid disappointment.”