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Music as a bridge builder

Cork Symphony Orchestra news paper articles Music served as a bridge builder when from 1954 choirs from Northern Ireland began to participate in the Cork Choral Festival at a time when virtually no contact existed between the two parts of the island. But the bridges were not restricted to Ireland. The citizens of Cork met and sometimes made friends with people from Eastern Europe whom they hosted in their homes; choirs and folk dance groups attended the festival year after year despite problems with commissars, clerics and censors inside both the iron and green curtains that weighed so heavily on their respective communities.

During the 1950s some of the world's best orchestras were heard in Cork, audiences for which had been built up through concerts given by the local amateur players of the Cork Symphony Orchestra. First-rate dancers appeared in Cork every season, for local ballet productions. Performance, active participation in the arts and service to the community were seen by Fleischmann and Joan Denise Moriarty as the essence of cultural life. Theirs was not the approach of giving people what they want to hear: they sought to make it possible for the audience to appreciate excellence.

The experience of the Cork Choral Festival vindicated this standpoint. Fleischmann believed that it is one of the essential human needs to find self-expression in the arts: through them people can achieve awareness of what life can be and through them find a source of strength in coping with life’s vicissitudes. He believed that if the state was to fulfil the duty laid down in the constitution to "cherish the children of the nation" it must ensure that the imagination as well as the understanding of all citizens be fostered and stimulated, as creative ability is the essence of the human kind and its development a basic educational right. Ireland's splendid folk heritage in song, story and poetry was for him evidence of the rich natural endowment of the Irish. This was the philosophy of the Irish Revival, refreshed with a new draught from one of its original sources: European romanticism, which he had encountered during his studies both in Cork and in Munich.
Fleischmann-Ballet Performance