The Fleischmann Choir (the adult mixed-voice choir of the CIT Cork School of Music), joined by members of the Philharmonische Chor Köln, and the CIT Cork School of Music Symphony Orchestra, have been invited to give the Opening Gala Concert of the 49th Cork International Choral Festival, in Cork’s iconic City Hall, on Wednesday 1 May 2013.
They will be joinried by a most distinguished team of soloists (Mary Hegarty, soprano; Bridget Knowles, contralto; Robin Tritschler, tenor; and Owen Gilhooly, bass) for what promises to be a very moving occasion for several reasons. The nearly 300 performers will be giving the first performance in Cork of Tippett’s oratorio, A Child Of Our Time – described by William Glock as ‘the most moving and important work by an English composer for many years.’ The work is inspired by the assassination of a German diplomat by a young Jewish refugee in November 1938, and the Nazi government’s subsequent reaction in the form of a vicious pogrom against its Jewish population—the so-called “Kristallnacht”.
It will be a nostalgic occasion for the 152 members of the Fleischmann Choir as they celebrate their 21st anniversary, because their Founder-Conductor, Dr Geoffrey Spratt, is retiring. Quite a few members of the choir sang in the UCC Choir, whose 16 years of existence (1976-92) led to the formation of the Fleischmann Choir in 1992 when Geoff Spratt became Director of the Cork School of Music. Nonetheless, the members of the Fleischmann Choir are thrilled that their new conductor, Conor Palliser, is someone they know and respect from his guest appearances with the choir in recent years.
The Fleischmann Choir and Philharmonische Chor Köln have been twinned since 1995 and have underpinned the Cork-Cologne twinning with regular performances in Dublin as well as Cork and Cologne. The two choirs will spend a week together at the end of October, culminating in a performance of the Tippett in Cologne’s legendary Philharmonie on Sunday 2 November 2013.