18 - 22 October 2023

Programme of Events 2021

A programme of both live AND virtual events for the ninth edition of the City of Derry International Choir Festival, 20 - 24 October 2021!


The Voyage

LIVE EVENT - Millennium Forum

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

The Road Home

LIVE EVENT - St. Columba's Church Long Tower

Featuring award-winning chamber choir Codetta and Derry cellist Kim Vaughan, this concert featured 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. 

Watch now


LIVE EVENT - St. Columb's Cathedral

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 were thrilled to welcome them back to Derry for a live performance of their Humanity and Liberty programme featuring BAFTA-nominated actor Juliet Stevenson.




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”, made their debut at the City of Derry International Choir Festival with a bespoke virtual concert. 


Big Sing Workshops for Schools

LIVE EVENTS - Millennium Forum


Two celebratory mornings of singing with workshops led by music education expert Lucinda Geoghegan and Artistic Director of the Festival Dónal Doherty. Featuring two brand new, specially-composed pieces for young voices by leading Catalan composer and conductor, Josep Vila i Casañas.

Let's Just Sing!

LIVE EVENT -  Foyle Arena

Singers with any level of experience were 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 for preparation, this event was all about coming along and joining in to sing well-known songs together, including Stand by Me, Something Inside So Strong and Sing A Song

Hymns of Remembrance and Hope

LIVE EVENT - St. Eugene's Cathedral

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

Representatives from the city's churches led us in prayer and song as we commemorated those who had died during the pandemic, honoured the dedication of front line workers and the resilience of our own communities, and looked forward with hope to our recovery and reawakening. 

Choral Trails

LIVE EVENTS - Various Venues


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

Virtual Choral Trail



An eclectic mix of more than 65 choirs from across the globe performing sacred, gospel, pop, jazz and barbershop music throughout festival week.

Watch now

Oak Tree of Derry Concert



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.

Watch now

The Magnificent AKs



We were thrilled to present this very special performance from friends of the festival, The Magnificent AKs, from Ashton-Keynes in England. 

Musical Director: Chris Samuel

Watch now

Words and Music Symposium



In partnership with the Verbal Arts Centre, the theme of 'Words and Music' was 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 panel explored the relationship between words and music, poet and composer, singers and new works and current performance opportunities. 

Watch now

The Community Forum


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

Watch now

Podcast Series



A lively four-part series of conversations featuring artists from the 2021 festival programme including composers Elaine Agnew and Eoghan Desmond, Nigel Short (director, Tenebrae), Tim Keeler (director, Chanticleer), Martin White (singer, Doire Calgach Singers), Chris Samuel (director, The Magnificent AKs) and Michael Lynch (Men's Action Network).

Listen now
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