Appointment of TCD’s first Professor of Music, 1764

©Stratfield Saye Preservation Trust

©Stratfield Saye Preservation Trust

The current ‘In Tune’ exhibition marks the 250th anniversary of the Chair of Music at the University of Dublin. The first Professor, Garrett Wesley, Earl of Mornington, was a talented musician who in 1758 had  set up the Musical Academy, an amateur musical society which gave concerts in aid of charitable causes. On 7 July 1764 Mornington was awarded the degree of ‘Doctor in Musick’, and a week later the Board appointed him Professor of Music.

TCD MUN V/5/3: appointment of Mornington as Professor of Music, 14 July 1764

TCD MUN V/5/3: appointment of Mornington as Professor of Music, 14 July 1764

The Provost at this time was Francis Andrews, whose motivation in making this appointment appears to have been primarily to enhance the cultural standing of the College. Mornington was not required to teach or examine, but was on hand to offer services such as the provision of suitable compositions for College ceremonies. The Board minutes (TCD MUN V/5/3) record in considerable detail one such occasion in September 1768, when the Duke of Bedford was installed as Chancellor of the University. (Bedford was a former Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, thought to have been instrumental in Andrews’ appointment as Provost a decade earlier.) Mornington composed a march for the ceremonial procession, as well as an ode in honour of the new Chancellor, with words by William Archdale, an undergraduate. The following Sunday the new Chancellor attended a service in the College Chapel, at which a Te Deum and Jubilate by Mornington were performed. Unfortunately none of this music survives in the Library’s collections, though a piano arrangement of the ‘March as performed at the Installation of His Grace the Duke of Bedford’ is held at the National Library of Ireland.

TCD MUN V/5/3: installation of the Duke of Bedford, September 1768

TCD MUN V/5/3: installation of the Duke of Bedford, September 1768

Mornington resigned as Professor on 7 June 1774. Provost Andrews died a few days later, and his successor John Hely-Hutchinson left the Chair of Music vacant. It remained so until John Smith was appointed to the position in 1845.

Roy Stanley

Music Librarian

In Tune, sponsored by KBC Bank, runs until 1 April 2014.The exhibition is also available online. Full details of the accompanying lecture and concert series are available here.

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