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Punch-up in the choir world as Irish prize-winner is designated a backward Finn

The International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) – one could easily recast that acronym – is not a happy bunch of bunnies, we hear. In April this year IFCM declared the winner of a competition for new choral music: Frank Corcoran, former Professor at the Hamburg Conservatory.


After some delay in receiving the modest 5,000 Euro prize money, Corcoran received an email from Håkan Wickström, IFCM Treasurer, calling him ‘an idiot’ and… ouch… a ‘backward Finn far north of the Arctic circle’. The winner reached out for sympathy among other members, only to be threatened with breach of confidentiality action.The executive of IFCM has closed ranks behind Wickström. Who thought choir politics could turn so nasty?

The choral world has its major trade fair in Dortmund this weekend. Good opportunity to kiss and make up.

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  1. I have a lot of time for Frank Corcoran. He’s a wonderful composer. Not an easy listen, but exceptionally fine.

  2. How ungracious and childish. Frank Corcoran is a fine Irish composer and deserves even more than 5000 euros and a load of insults!

  3. gerald brennan says:

    Norman, it would have been nice to include some explanation of the root of their distemper. Why do they hate him? I mean, is that not the story?

  4. At first I thought it didn’t make any kind of sense that a Finnish person would call an Irish man a Finn as an insult, but I guess this is coming from a Swedish-speaking Finn and in his usage, a “Finn” is a Finnish-speaking person. So Wickström seems to actually be offending most Finns in addition to Corcoran here.

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