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Music and the Irish Imagination

Thierry Dubost
Alexandra Slaby


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1Emmanuel Amiot teaches mathematics in Classes Préparatoires in Perpignan. After studying mathematics (ENS Saint-Cloud) and music (Conservatoire de Nice), he defended his PhD in computer science. A founding member of the Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music, he has been researching the cutting edge of mathematical music theory, with contributions on periodic rhythms as well as scale theory, covering musical topics ranging from Bach to contemporary composers. He gives lectures in Europe (IRCAM, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy), Canada and the USA (American Musical Society and Society for Music Theory Conventions). He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Mathematics and Music.


2Pascale Amiot is a Professor of Irish literature at the université de Perpignan Via Domitia. She is the author of a doctoral thesis on the poetry of Austin Clarke and has published articles on Oscar Wilde, Austin Clarke, Seamus Deane, Seumas O’Kelly, Flann O’Brien, Eavan Boland, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanain, Paula Meehan and Medbh McGuckian, among others. She edited Irlande: insularité, singularité? (Perpignan, Presses universitaires de Perpignan, 2001); L’Autobiographie irlandaise: voix communes, voix singulières (Caen, Presses universitaires de Caen, 2004); and Déclinaisons de la voie: avoiement, dévoiement, fourvoiement (Perpignan, Presses universitaires de Perpignan, 2006). In 2011, she published Les Métamorphoses de “Sweeney” dans la littérature irlandaise contemporaine (Caen, Presses universitaires de Caen). She is a member of the board of directors of Études irlandaises and vice-president of the Société française d’études irlandaises.


3Visnja Cogan teaches English at the Institut de gestion sociale (IGS-CIEFA), Paris, and at the université Paris Diderot – Paris VII. She is the author of U2, An Irish Phenomenon, published in 2008 by Pegasus Books. She is currently working on the music industry in Ireland as part of a research project for a new book.


4Thierry Dubost is a Professor at the université de Caen – Basse-Normandie. He is the author of Struggle, Defeat or Rebirth: Eugene O’Neill’s Vision of Humanity (Jefferson – London, McFarland, 1997; 2005), and The Plays of Thomas Kilroy (Jefferson – London, McFarland, 2007). He has co-edited four books: La Femme noire américaine: aspects d’une crise d’identité (1997); George Bernard Shaw: un dramaturge engagé (1998); Du dire à l’être: tensions identitaires dans la littérature nord-américaine (2000); Regards sur l’intime en Irlande (2008); and has edited L’Adaptation théâtrale en Irlande de 1970 à 2007 (2010), all published by the Presses universitaires de Caen. An English version of this book, Drama Reinvented: Theatre Adaptation in Ireland (1970 à 2007), was published by Peter Lang in 2012. He is a former director of the Irish Studies Research Centre at the université de Caen – Basse-Normandie.


5Lison Ducastelle completed her doctorate in 2011 at the université de Paris III on L’IRA de la violence armée au désarmement (1969-2005): enjeux, symboles et mécanismes [The IRA: from Armed Violence to Decommissioning (1969-2005): Stakes, Symbols and Mechanisms]. Her research interests include political violence, the Northern Ireland Peace Process and paramilitary groups.


6Erick Falc’her-Poyroux was born in Nantes, France. He was raised on a strict diet of butter, Beatles and football, which helped him considerably when he decided to make teaching English his main job. His PhD in 1996 was on L’Identité musicale irlandaise [Ireland’s musical identity], and he has been working on this theme since then. His PhD and his articles can be found on his website: He is also the author of several books on Ireland and The Beatles. He currently heads the Language Department at the École polytechnique of the université de Nantes.


7Matthieu Kolb has been teaching at the université de Haute Bretagne (Rennes II) since 1997. He completed his PhD thesis, Espaces dramatiques et postdramatiques dans le théâtre de célébration de Frank McGuinness [Dramatic and Postdramatic Spaces in Frank McGuinness’s Theatre of Celebration], at the université de Caen – Basse-Normandie in 2012. His research focuses on contemporary Irish theatre.


8Mathias Lebargy is a part-time Lecturer at the Caen University School of Medecine. His research includes a doctoral thesis on the writings of madness in the novels of Irish author Patrick McCabe, as well as conference papers and academic publications on the same author, focusing on stage and cinematic adaptations, the representation of time, and the dynamics of conflict.


9Claire Majola-Leblond is an Associate Professor at the université Jean Moulin-Lyon III where she teaches Irish literature and discourse analysis. She has a special interest in contemporary short stories and more generally in the relationship between writing and the arts, point of view in fiction and the aesthetics of reception. She wrote her PhD on the question of point of view in Dylan Thomas’s short stories and has published articles on J. M. Synge, B. MacLaverty, J. McGahern, D. Madden, C. McCann. She is currently working on William Trevor’s stories.


10Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin is the Chair of Music and founder / director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. He is noted for his development of a uniquely Irish traditional piano style. He has recorded extensively with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and has released some fifteen recordings overall. His most recent recordings include ELVER GLEAMS: New and Selected Recordings (EMI, 2010), and the DVD Irish Destiny, music for the historic 1925 silent movie of the same name (Irish Film Institute, 2006). In 2004 he was appointed inaugural Chair of Culture Ireland (the statutory body for promoting Irish arts – including Northern Ireland – worldwide) and was reappointed in 2008. In 2005 he was awarded an Honorary D. Mus. by the National University of Ireland at University College Cork for his contribution to music in Ireland. Other awards include Ollamh na hÉigse (Professor of Arts) in 2005 by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Boston College Honorary Alumnus Award for contributions to Irish music in the USA (2006), and Gradam Cheoil (Irish language television award for contribution to Irish music) in 2011. In May 2011, he performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland for The Queen’s Concert in the National Convention Centre, Dublin, marking the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland. In December of the same year he performed at the Grand Canal Theatre, at the request of the newly appointed President of Ireland, Dr. Michael D. Higgins. He was in residence for the year 2012 at the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and the DeBartolo Center for Performing Arts at Notre Dame University where he is writing a new symphonic work for performance in 2014. For further information see and


11Virginie Roche-Tiengo currently lectures at the université de Paris XIII in the Law Department. She defended her PhD thesis, L’Unité perdue: poétique du mythe dans l’œuvre du dramaturge irlandais Brian Friel [Lost Unity: The Poetics of Myth in the Theatre of Irish Playwright Brian Friel] at the Sorbonne. She has published articles on Irish drama (Brian Friel, Samuel Beckett and Frank McGuinness). She is currently working on “Pretrial Detention: Principles and Procedures in Common Law and Civil Law Countries (20th and 21st centuries)”.


12Tommy Sands, singer song-writer has been writing songs and performing since 1968. From Carnegie Hall in New York to the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, he has sung songs expressing the suffering and struggles, hopes and dreams of his native land and issues far beyond. Tommy has produced eight solo CDs and many more with the “Sands Family”. Peace activist, he has organised workshops “Music of Healing” since 1995, helping opposite sides in the political arena, by creating a musical environment where they can communicate. In 2002, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Reno, USA, for his work with young offenders in prison, helping them to write a song that the judges agreed to accept as a plea in their defence. In 2005, The Lilliput Press (Dublin) published his autobiography The Songman, a journey through Irish music and Irish History.

13“You can trust the singer as well as the song” – Seamus Heaney.

14“He has achieved that difficult balance between knowing and loving the traditions of his home as well as being concerned about the future of the whole world” – Pete Seeger, American father of folk music.


15Adrian Scahill is a Lecturer in music at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, specialising in Irish traditional music, ethnomusicology, traditional music performance, and music in Ireland. A performer on button accordion and piano, he has appeared at workshops and festivals both in Ireland and abroad. His doctoral research, undertaken at University College Dublin, studied accompaniment in instrumental Irish traditional music. He is the consultant editor for Irish traditional music for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland. His recent research has included Irish traditional music and the 17th century, the representation of Irish music on film, and popular music in Ireland.


16Alexandra Slaby is an Associate Professor of English at the université de Caen – Basse-Normandie. She researches cultural policy issues in Ireland and cultural discourse in the British Isles. She has published articles on various aspects of Irish cultural life, discourse and policy, and was commissioned to write the chapter on Ireland of a book comparing European cultural policies (La Culture comme politique publique. Essai d’histoire comparée. De 1945 à nos jours, Paris, La Documentation française, 2011). In 2010, she published L’État et la culture en Irlande (Caen, Presses universitaires de Caen) prefaced by Michael D. Higgins. In 2011, she organised an international conference on cultural production and practices in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.


17Jacques Tranier is an Associate Professor at the université de Caen – Basse-Normandie. In 1997, he completed a doctoral thesis on the contemporary Irish playwright Brian Friel dealing with the tragic. He has published articles and book chapters on contemporary Irish theatre and theatrical adaptations by Irish playwrights.


18Damien Verron studied musicology at the université Jean-Monnet, Saint-Étienne, from which he received a PhD (in joint supervision with the Université de Montréal). The title of his dissertation was Des sessions musicales dans les régions de Leitrim et Sligo (Nord-Ouest irlandais) [Some relations between musical structures and social contexts in a repertoire of Irish music sessions]. He is a member of three research centres – CIEREC (Centre interdisciplinaire d’études et de recherche sur l’expression contemporaine), France, as well as OICRM (Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique), Canada, and MCAM (Musicologie comparée et anthropologie de la musique), université de Montréal. His research mainly questions the multiple links between musical structures and social contexts, using Jean Molino’s theory of symbolic forms.

© Presses universitaires de Caen, 2013

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