Aloys Fleischmann was born in Munich to Irish-based German parents. He graduated from University College Cork with the degrees of BMus (1931) and MA (1932) and subsequently studied composition, conducting and musicology at the State Academy and University of Munich. In 1934 he became professor of music at University College Cork, a post he held until his retirement in 1980. He was awarded a DMus degree by the National University of Ireland in 1963.
His compositions include large-scale works for chorus and orchestra, five ballets, a symphony, several song cycles and many chamber and solo works. As founder of the Cork Symphony Orchestra (1934), the Cork International Choral and Folk Dance Festival (1954) and a crusading member of many organisations and committees, he was a highly influential figure in musical life in Ireland. He has written several books and articles on music including his major work, Sources of Irish Traditional Music (1998). He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists. Other honours included the Freedom of the City of Cork, an Hon. MusD from the University of Dublin, the Order of Merit of the German Federal Republic and the Silver Medallion of the Irish American Cultural Institute.
It seemed vital to delve into the Hidden Ireland and, out of the heroic tales and romances, to create an idiom which would express in music some of the essence of this rich untapped literary tradition.