Chamber Choir Ireland marks the beginning of Paul Hillier’s 16th and final year as Artistic Director, with the announcement of their new season of performances for Spring-Summer 2024.
Under Hillier’s leadership, the choir has gone from strength to strength, and he is most proud to have collaborated extensively with Irish composers such as Gerald Barry, Rhona Clarke, David Fennessy, Stephen McNeff, Jennifer Walshe, and many others during this time.
Paul will make the most of his last year with Chamber Choir Ireland, filling it with world premieres like Gabriel Jackson’s The Dancers Inherit the Party; and programmes which touch on his own distinguished career in music, like the upcoming O My America—partly inspired by his time at the University of California in the 1990s; with several more landmark performances to be announced later this year.
Beginning with O My America, Chamber Choir Ireland and conductor Paul Hillier present a tapestry of American choral music—ranging from the lively 18th-century anthems of a newly liberated land, to mid-century minimalism, and pioneering composers of the New York School and Bang on a Can.
In April, a quartet of singers from Chamber Choir Ireland evokes the joys of spring with a Northern Ireland tour of The Birds and the Bees. This delightful programme of Romantic partsongs, early music, and contemporary Irish works, is replete with birdsong, cheerful foresters, floral garlands and woodland nymphs. It includes works by Clement Janequin, Thomas Morley, Palestrina, Rhona Clarke, Stephen McNeff, Eoghan Desmond, George Macfarren and Henry Bishop.
Chamber Choir Ireland will return to New Music Dublin and Cork International Choral Festival with The Dancers Inherit the Party, featuring David Fennessy’s eccentric chOirland, made up of nonsense lyrics taken from the choruses of traditional Irish songs and ballads; and Eoghan Desmond’s I am.
The programme also includes Cassandra Miller’s The City, Full of People, in which the audience eavesdrops on ‘cacophony of private secrets’, immersed in the meditative echoes of Tallis’ Sixteenth Century lamentations. Commissioned by Eamonn Quinn and Louth Contemporary Music Society, and recorded by Chamber Choir Ireland in 2023, this work has since been the subject of favourable mentions in The New Yorker and The New York Times.
“Music this uncalculatedly beautiful leaves you almost desperate with gratitude.” (The New Yorker, 2023)
It concludes with the world premiere of a new CCI commission, Gabriel Jackson’s The Dancers Inherit the Party, based on Ian Hamilton Finlay’s poem of the same title. The Cork concert will also feature the winning composition in this year’s Seán Ó Riada Competition.
In May, Latvian conductor Krista Audere joins Chamber Choir Ireland in DCU’s All Hallows Chapel for Of Love and Eternity, a programme exploring faith and love in works by Pierre Vilette, Nana Forte, Rudolf Escher, and Robert Schumann.
With support from Culture Ireland, CCI will also bring a programme of contemporary choral works to an international audience at Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
To finish the season, CCI welcomes Benjamin Goodson, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir, for a serenade to music, singing, and dancing in Why do you sing? at Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church. The programme includes works by Orlando Gough, Frank Martin, Jonathan Dove, Caroline Shaw, and more.