The Fleischmann Choir was founded in November 1992. Initially called the Cork School of Music Symphony Orchestra Chorus, it sang in public for the first time on 22 April 1993 when it gave a concert with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Cork’s City Hall to mark the opening of the 40th Cork International Choral Festival. The programme was of music by Aloys Fleischmann – one of the founders of the Cork International Choral Festival and its long-serving Festival Director – who had died the previous year. Shortly after this concert, with the permission of the family, the choir was renamed in memory of the man who did so much to further the cause of choral music and choral singing in Ireland. The choir was then led until 2013 by founder-conductor Dr. Geoffrey Spratt (Director of the CIT School of Music and Founder-Conductor of the Irish Youth Choir and Canticum Novum).
Rehearsals for this large, mixed-voice choir take place on Monday nights from 7.30-10.00 p.m.; the conductor is Conor Palliser, and auditions are held if the number of applications exceeds the number of vacancies for any given section.
The choir specialises in singing large-scale works for choir and orchestra. In recent years it has performed Berlioz's Grande messe des morts [Requiem] (in both Wales and Ireland), Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” from Prince Igor, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem & Nänie, Britten’s St Nicolas, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Angel Climent’s Missa solemne & Motet: Caro mea, Dvořák’s Mass, Fauré’s Requiem, Fleischmann’s Clare’s Dragoons & Song of the Provinces, Fleishmann Snr’s Mass in honour of St Finbarr, Grieg’s Incidental Music for Peer Gynt, Handel’s Messiah, Chandos Anthem No. 1, & Coronation Anthem: Zadok the Priest, Haydn’s Missa in tempore belle, The Seasons, & The Creation, Hummel’s Alma virgo, Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, Bryan Kelly’s Africa, Mathias’s Ave Rex, Mozart Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Poulenc’s Gloria, Puccini’s Messa a 4 voci [Messa di Gloria], Stainer’s The Crucifixion, Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Verdi’s Missa da Requiem (in both Germany and Ireland) and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus & Gloria, as well as music by J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Bernstein, Bizet, Britten, Clucas, Donizetti, Elgar, Holst, Mascagni, Massenet, Mathias, Mozart, Parry, Puccini, Purcell, Stanford, Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams and Verdi, carols, folk-song arrangements, gospel arrangements, Negro spirituals and opera choruses. In addition the choir has accepted invitations as diverse as “Songs of Praise” for the BBC from St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork, backing Johnny Logan during the Eurovision Song Contest broadcast by RTÉ from Millstreet, Co. Cork, and singing with Niamh Kavanagh for her RTÉ Christmas Show from Cork Opera House.
The Fleischmann Choir is delighted to have been invited to give the Opening Gala Concerts of the 2004, 2005 & 2010 Cork International Choral Festivals – not least because in both 2004 and 2010 it provided the opportunity to perform again works by Fleischmann, which the choir sang for its inaugural concert in 1993. It was particularly pleased that the Cologne Philharmonic Choir - with which it had already given concerts in Cologne, Dublin and Cork – was able to join the combined choral and orchestral forces of the Cork School of Music to perform Berlioz’s epic Te Deum for the opening of the Cork International Choral Festival in April 2005. During its 2006-2007 season the choir performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Cork Symphony Orchestra in Cork’s City Hall to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart, and in March 2008, it gave the first performances in Cork of Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace to over 2,000 people.
The Fleischmann Choir’s 2008-2009 season included the first complete performance in Cork of Haydn’s The Seasons with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and a team of internationally renowned soloists. Last season included outstandingly successful concerts in Dachau (Germany) during a week-long visit to celebrate the centenary of Aloys Fleischmann and the work of his father (who was born in Dachau). It also featured the first performances of both Britten’s St Nicolas in Cork and of Puccini’s Messa with the CSM Symphony Orchestra in Cork and Skibbereen. The choir’s 20th season, 2011-2012, brought another first performance to Cork – that of Vaughan Williams’ magnificent Hodie – and a pair of “Proms” concerts to City Hall when popular favourites by Bach, Brahms, Fauré, Karl Jenkins, Mozart and Orff will delight another 2,000 supporters.
Although the Fleischmann Choir has achieved an enviable reputation for fulfilling its mission to perform the large-scale repertory for choir and orchestra, it also has a great reputation amongst its members for the inclusive social life that goes hand-in-glove with the singing. The Fleischmann Choir is the adult, mixed-voice choir of the CIT Cork School of Music, and anybody who wishes to join should contact the CIT Cork School of Music Public Office ([021-]4807301) or e-mail the choir’s conductor, Conor Palliser (firstname.lastname@example.org).