The Society for Musicology in Ireland confers honorary life membership on longstanding members who have made outstanding contributions to the progress of musicology in Ireland. The following is a list of our current distinguished Honorary Members:


Ita Beausang is a graduate of University College Cork and emeritus lecturer at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. Her main research interests are concentrated on contextual studies of music in Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is also active in research in the areas of music education, piano pedagogy, music therapy and music criticism. She was an Advisory Editor for The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland and is currently engaged in research on the life and works of the Irish composer, Ina Boyle. In 2014 she was awarded honorary life membership of the Society for Music Education in Ireland. In 2023 she received the Irish Research Council - Harrison medal.


Hilary Bracefield, who passed away in 2020. Dr Bracefield was born in New Zealand and educated at the universities of Otago, Canterbury and Birmingham. She was appointed lecturer in music at Ulster Polytechnic (now Ulster University) in 1976, and became Head of Department in 1988, retiring in 2003. She was instrumental in setting up and running the Irish Chapter of the Royal Musical Association in 1987, which held annual conferences around the universities until the formation of the Society for Musicology in Ireland in 2002. She was a vice president of the Royal Musical Association and an honorary member of the SMI and the Irish Association for American Studies. She was an editor of the influential journal of contemporary music, Contact, and contributed 22 articles to The Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland. Our musicological world was an ampler, more promising place for Hilary’s presence in it. Her death in April 2020 meant our sense of loss was very great because she gave to us so richly. Obituary.


Barra Boydell retired in 2010 from a Professorship in the Department of Music at NUI Maynooth, where he had taught since 1990. He is author of The Crumhorn and Other Renaissance Windcap Instruments (1982), Music and Paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland (1985) and A History of Music at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin (2004), general editor (with Harry White) of The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (2013), and editor of Music at Christ Church before 1800: Documents and Selected Anthems (1999) and (with Kerry Houston) of Music, Ireland and the Seventeenth Century (Irish Musical Studies 10, 2009). Barra was a member of the founding committee of the SMI, serving as its first Honorary Secretary from 2003 to 2006 and organizing the Society’s inaugural conference held at Maynooth in 2003. He became one of the SMI’s first Honorary Life Members in 2010 and was awarded the Harrison Medal for musicology in 2014. 


Patrick Devine taught in the music department of Maynooth University from 1977 to 2012. With Harry White he edited volumes 4 and 5 in the Irish Musical Studies series (1996) and, with Vladka Kopecká and Jiří Kopecký, Zdeněk Fibich as a Central Europeam Composer at the End of the Nineteenth Century (2010). He served as style editor for the Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (2013). In 2016 he was appointed editor of the Dvořák Society’s Journal of Czech and Slovak Music. In recent years he has delivered modules as a guest lecturer at Palacký University in Olomouc. He received the Czech Music Council award in Prague in 2016 for his promotion of Czech music. 


Paul Everett, formerly Head of the Department of Music, University College Cork, is well known as an editor of music and for his studies of early eighteenth-century manuscripts, particularly Vivaldi sources and their chronology, on which he has published numerous articles and other writings. Since the 1980s he has been one of the editors for the New Critical Edition of Vivaldi’s works and is perhaps most noted as the author of Vivaldi: The Four Seasons and Other Concertos, Op. 8 (Cambridge University Press, 1996). Paul was on the steering committee that founded the Society for Musicology in Ireland; he served on its first council and designed the Society's first website and membership database. He was instrumental in designing (with Wolfgang Marx) Ireland’s first peer-reviewed musicological journal, the Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, served as its first Executive Editor (2005–9), and continued on the editorial board as production editor and copyeditor until January 2019. From July 2018 he has taken on the role of SMI Web Adminstrator. 


Gerard Gillen was professorial head of Music at Maynooth University from 1985 to 2007. During his years of headship he was responsible for the exponential growth of the department in academic personnel, range of specialisms, development of graduate studies, and research output. With Harry White he founded Irish Musical Studies in 1990 of which he continues to be joint general editor. His own writings deal with Catholic church music and historic and aesthetic aspects of organ building in Ireland. He was chair of the editorial committee of The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (2013) for which he was subject editor for Catholic church music. He was a founding council member of the SMI. As an organ recitalist he enjoys an international reputation and has given more than 1,000 recitals across three continents. 


Kerry Houston has been head of the Department of Academic Studies at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama since 2005. Before this he had been on the staff of Trinity College Dublin, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and NUI Maynooth. His publications have concentrated on Music in Ireland and he was a subject editor in The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland. In addition to musicological work he has recently completed a Master’s degree in Theology at the pontifical University. Kerry served as President of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (2102-2015). The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013) edited by Harry White and Barra Boydell was launched by President Michael D. Higgins during Kerry's term as President of the SMI. Other positions include membership of the Irish steering group of RISM; chairman of RILM Ireland and Director of the Research Foundation for Music in Ireland.

John O'Conor studied piano in his native Dublin, in Vienna with Dieter Weber and the legendary Wilhelm Kempff; his 1st Prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973 opened the door to a worldwide distinguished career. His recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas led CD Review to say that he “by now should be recognised as the world’s premier Beethoven interpreter” and his recent recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra and Andreas Delfs have also been greeted with acclaim. He is Chair of the Piano Division at Shenandoah University in Virginia, a faculty member at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, International Visiting Artist at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Visiting Professor at Showa University in Japan. He has been decorated “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Government, awarded the “Ehrenkreuz fur Wissenschaft und Kunst” by the Austrian Government, the “Order of the Rising Sun” by the Japanese Government and has received many other awards.



David Rhodes (BMus, PhD, MTD, LRSM, LTCL, LGSM) studied music at Queen’s University Belfast. His PhD focused on the life and compositions (including a complete critical edition) of Franz Anton Pfeiffer, and he continues to undertake research into the byways of late-18th century music. He was Lecturer in Musicology at Waterford Institute of Technology from 1988 to 2015. In addition to book chapters and numerous articles, including entries in The New Grove, MGG and EMIR, he has some 33 critical editions currently in print, including eight in two or more volumes, most recently a two-volume edition of Andreas Lidl’s Eight divertimenti for viola da gamba, viola & cello or basso (Albany, U.S.A.: PRB Productions, 2011 & 2013). David has served on the SMI Council from its inception until 2015 and was Honorary Treasurer for nine years.


Jan Smaczny was educated at the University of Oxford and the Charles University, Prague. He has held lectureships at St Peter’s College, Oxford, and the University of Birmingham. From 1996 to 2015 he was Sir Hamilton Harty Professor of Music at Queen’s University, Belfast, where he was also Head of the School of Music (1997-2005). Among his publications are monographs on the repertoire of the Prague Provisional Theatre and Dvorák’s cello concerto; he is also joint editor of the volumes Music in Nineteenth-Century Ireland and Bach’s B-minor Mass. Professor Smaczny was a member of the committee that lead to the foundation of the Society for Musicology in Ireland of which he served as president for two terms; he is now a vice-president of the Royal Musical Association and Emeritus Professor of Music, Queen’s Belfast.


Harry White is Professor of Music at University College Dublin. He is the author of The Keeper’s Recital (1998), The Progress of Music in Ireland (2005) and Music and the Irish Literary Imagination (2008). He is general editor (with Barra Boydell) of The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (2013). In 2006 he was elected to the Royal Irish Academy. In 2014 he was awarded the Harrison medal for musicology. In 2015, he was elected to the European Academy. Professor White led the founding of the Society for Musicology in Ireland in 2002, was our inaugural President in 2003-6, has served on every council since 2002, and is an Honorary Member since 2016. He is an advisory board member of the Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (from 2005). In 2018 he was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. See