Derry Choir Festival 2021 plans revealed

The City of Derry International Choir Festival has announced plans for a ninth edition of its annual autumn festival, due to take place over October 20-24.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 10:27 am
American a cappella ensemble Chanticleer, who will perform as part of the 2021 Festival. (RJ Muna)
American a cappella ensemble Chanticleer, who will perform as part of the 2021 Festival. (RJ Muna)

The festival organisers said they look forward to further easing of restrictions in the summer and autumn months.

Following a 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 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.

The festival has commissioned four new pieces of choral music that will have their world premieres at the festival. Catalan conductor and composer 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. NI 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 October 20-24. The festival will also present a large-scale community programme of performances and workshops for local singing groups.

Dónal Doherty, Artistic Director, 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.”

For more information and updates visit or follow the City of Derry International Choir Festival on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.