The ensemble was formed in 2001 under the auspices of the City of Derry Civic Choirs, established in 1997 with the support of Derry City Council, the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
From an initial group of two choirs, the scheme has now expanded to cater for over 200 choristers performing in a variety of ensembles: Primary Girls, Junior Girls, Boys, Youth and Codetta. Codetta’s members are all originally from Derry but now live, work and study in towns and cities throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe. The wide-ranging repertoire that the choir performs is prepared at intensive weekend rehearsals held monthly throughout the year.
Codetta has given many concerts both locally and nationally throughout its career, with highlights including a performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass, concerts with world-renowned Derry Saxophonist Gerard McChrystal as part of the Walled City Music Festival Concert Series, performances with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast’s Ulster Hall, and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Proms Youth Choir in the Royal Albert Hall, London as part of the 2012 and 2013 BBC Proms. Codetta also enjoys performing seasonal concerts in its home town throughout the year in prestigious venues including Christ Church, Guildhall, First Derry Presbyterian Church, St. Columb’s Hall and the Millennium Forum.
In 2010 Codetta visited Tuscany, performing in Florence, Reggello and Siena, and it regularly competes in established choral festivals around the world at an international level. These include the Advent Festival in Prague (2006), the International Choral Competition in Maribor, Slovenia (2008) and the Montreux Choral Festival in Switzerland (2011). Codetta has also successfully competed in Ireland’s Sligo and Cork International Choral Festivals (2008, 2009, 2012, 2017). 2017 was a particularly successful year in Cork, when Codetta won the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition. Please refer to the News section for a full write-up.
Codetta makes regular appearances on both radio and television, most recently taking part in the BBC Proms. It also performed as part of a BBC Radio Ulster broadcast along with the Ulster Orchestra and Kim Vaughan (Cellist with the Benyounes String Quartet and former member of Codetta) as part of a celebration of Derry being awarded the UK City of Culture for 2013. The group has collaborated on a CD with renowned Derry saxophonist Gerard McChrystal and has also showed off its acting skills by performing in a series finale of the award-winning TG4 television series, Seacht.
2013 was a particularly exciting year for the group, with many notable performances both at home and abroad. Highlights included appearances at two Prom concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall, performing Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 with Vasily Petrenko and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In January 2013 it featured in the Sons & Daughters concert to open Derry’s year as the first UK City of Culture, singing alongside artists such as Snow Patrol and Neil Hannon, and in May it took part in the Voices Now festival in the Roundhouse, London. In July 2013 it collaborated with Barry Douglas and Camerata Ireland to perform a new cantata, At Sixes and Sevens, by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Paul Muldoon to mark the 400th anniversary of Derry’s Walls. Other City of Culture performances included Verdi’s Requiem with the Ulster Orchestra and The Relief of Derry Symphony by Shaun Davey.
In 2014 Codetta performed at the Sacred Music Festival in Cuenca, Spain, once again renewing its collaboration with Barry Douglas and Camerata Ireland. In 2015 it performed a number of pieces live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme, it returned to the Roundhouse, London to take part in the Voices Now festival, and at the City of Derry International Choral Festival in October it gave the world premiere of three new works by Gary Carpenter set to the words of Shakespeare for the ‘Singing Shakespeare’ project. Codetta rounded off 2015 by singing to a live audience of 8,000 and a television audience of 10 million at the BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year awards, held in the SSE Arena, Belfast in December.
In May 2016 Codetta performed in the Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, renewing its collaboration with Barry Douglas and Camerata Ireland, and in September it sang live to a UK-wide audience at the BBC Proms in the Park concert from Belfast.
The choir now hosts and performs in the annual City of Derry International Choral Festival in October of each year.See our events