March 14, 2017

Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies presents Words for Music, Perhaps, a symposium on Irish lyric and song

A symposium on Irish lyric and song at Princeton University
aileen dillane

Ethnomusicologist and musician Aileen Dillane. Photo courtesy of Aileen Dillane

Princeton University will present Words for Music, Perhaps, a day-long symposium on Irish lyric and song featuring renowned scholars, writers, and musicians on Friday, March 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The symposium is organized by Princeton Professor of English and Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies Clair Wills and cosponsored by Princeton’s Fund for Irish Studies, Lewis Center for the Arts, Humanities Council, Department of Music, and Department of English. All events are free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required.

Iarla Ó Lionáird

Musician Iarla Ó Lionáird. Courtesy of Iarla Ó Lionáird

Symposium participants include scholars and writers Matt Campbell, Professor of Modern Literature at University of York; Aileen Dillane, ethnomusicologist, traditional musician, and course director of the Masters in Irish Music Studies at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick; Paul Hamilton, Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London; Barry McCrea, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Notre Dame; Maureen McLane, poet and Professor of English at New York University; Paul Muldoon, Princeton Professor of Creative Writing and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; and Diarmuid Ó Giolláin, Professor of Irish Language and Literature and Concurrent Professor of Anthropology in the University of Notre Dame; and musicians/composers Iarla Ó Lionáird, a Belknap Teaching Fellow in the Humanities Council and in Music and Irish Studies at Princeton; Dan Trueman, Professor of Music and Director of the Princeton Sound Kitchen at Princeton; along with John Burkhalter, David Kellett, and Darya Koltunyuk.

Symposium sessions will feature a panel by Hamilton, Campbell, McLane, and Ó Giolláin discussing 19th century balladry and Irish singer-songwriter Tom Moore’s songs, followed by musicians Burkhalter, Kellett, and Koltunyuk performing Moore’s music. Next is a panel by Dillane, McCrea, and Muldoon exploring 20th century Irish song. The symposium closes with a 4:30 p.m. Fund for Irish Studies lecture featuring Muldoon, Trueman, and Ó Lionáird on Olagón, their collaborative new work that intertwines Irish-English lyrics and sean-nós singing.

For a full schedule and further details on the symposium, visit the event page. For more information on the Fund for Irish Studies, visit

Brief Symposium Participant Bios:

John Burkhalter is on the staff of Princeton’s University Concert Series and an early music practitioner. He is co-artistic director of The Practitioners of Musick and founding member, with harpsichordist Minju Lee, of Les Agrements de musique. In addition, he performs with Le Triomphe de l’amour, Brandywine Baroque, and the Princeton University early music group Musica Alta.

Matt Campbell is a Professor of Modern Literature at the University of York and an author of multiple books on English Victorian poetry, Romantic poetry, and Celticism, including Rhythm and Will in Victorian Poetry, Irish Poetry under the Union, and Irish Literature in Transition.

Aileen Dillane is a lecturer in music at the Irish World Academy. An ethnomusicologist and musician specializing in the folk, traditional, Celtic, and popular music of Ireland, she has taught at the University of Chicago and University College Cork.

Paul Hamilton is Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London. He has previously taught at the universities of Nottingham, Oxford, and Southampton. His main work is on British and European Romanticism. His last two books are Realpoetik: European Romanticism and Literary Politics (2013) and, as editor, The Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism (2016).

David Kellett has been teaching private voice lessons at Princeton University since 1995. He has directed several productions at Princeton, including Mozart’s Magic Flute and Marriage of Figaro, and appears regularly with the Richardson Chamber Players.

Darya Koltunyuk is a pianist and member or Princeton’s Class of 2015. She won Princeton University Orchestra’s Concerto competition and first place in the New York Chamber Orchestra concerto competition. She serves as Marketing and Outreach Manager for Princeton’s Department of Music and University Concert Series.

Barry McCrea is a Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. An Irish academic, his publications include Languages of the Night: Minor Languages and the Literary Imagination in Twentieth-Century Ireland and Europe (Yale University Press, 2015), which won the American Comparative Literature Association’s René Wellek Prize for best book of 2016, and The First Verse, a novel.

Maureen McLane is a poet and critic with interests in British romanticism and poetry in English. Educated at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and Oxford, she is currently a Professor of English at New York University, where her teaching focuses on British literature and culture.

Paul Muldoon is poet and Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University. His awards include the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Irish Times Poetry Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, and the European Prize for Poetry, among many others. He is currently the Director of the Princeton Atelier and the poetry editor for The New Yorker.

Diarmuid Ó Giolláin is Professor of Irish Language and Literature and Concurrent Professor of Anthropology in the University of Notre Dame. His publications include Locating Irish Folklore: Tradition, Modernity, Identity (2000) and An Dúchas agus an Domhan (2005).

Iarla Ó Lionáird is a traditional Irish singer, musician, and record producer who has recorded several solo albums for the British record label, Real World Records. A part of the Irish-American group The Gloaming and former member of the Afro Celt Sound System, he performs in the traditional Irish sean-nós style.

Dan Trueman is Professor of Music and Director of the Princeton Sound Kitchen at Princeton University, where he teaches counterpoint, electronic music, and composition, and co-founded the Princeton Laptop Orchestra. He has worked with many groups and musicians, including Trollstilt and QQQ, the American Composers Orchestra, So Percussion, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Brentano and Daedelus string quartets, and the Crash Ensemble.

Clair Wills is the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Chair of Irish Letters, Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies and a Professor of English at Princeton. Her most recent book is The Best Are Leaving: Emigration and Post-War Irish Culture.

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