Ina Boyle’s Symphonic Journey


An exhibition entitled Ina Boyle’s Symphonic Journey will be on display in the Long Room, Trinity College Dublin, 16th April – 17th May 2013 to coincide with The Symphony and Ireland: a symposium held at DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama on 20th April 2013

Ina Boyle (1889-1967) was a prolific Irish composer whose life and works have recently begun to capture renewed attention and interest. Boyle lived all her life in her family home at Bushey Park, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow. In her early years she studied with Percy Buck, C.H. Kitson, and Charles Wood, and between 1923 and 1939 she made occasional visits to London to take private lessons in composition with Ralph Vaughan Williams. She had the distinction of being the only female composer to receive an award from the Carnegie Trust – for her orchestral work ‘The magic harp’, published by Stainer & Bell in 1921. However most of her music remained unpublished and unperformed.

Boyle continued to compose a broad range of music throughout her life, including songs and choral pieces, chamber music and orchestral works, ballets and an opera. She composed three symphonies: ‘Glencree’ (1924-27), ‘The Dream of the Rood’ (1929-30), and ‘From the darkness’ (1946-52) – the third being a setting for contralto and orchestra of three poems by Edith Sitwell. This exhibition includes the autograph full scores of all three works, as well as the short score of ‘From the darkness’ in which Boyle added alternative words when Sitwell refused permission for her poems to be used. Also on view are Boyle’s ‘Musical Compositions Memoranda’ showing the entry for the ‘Glencree’ symphony, her notebook describing a lesson with Ralph Vaughan Williams on March 15th 1930 in which they discussed her second symphony, and Sitwell’s letter withholding consent.

The Ina Boyle papers are housed in the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library and can be discovered using the Online Catalogue. The collection is currently being digitised and will be added to Trinity College Digital Collections.

Roy Stanley

Music Librarian