Ina Boyle (1889-1967): A Composer's Life
The Irish composer, Ina Boyle (1889-1967), was born in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, where she enjoyed a sheltered childhood as a member of an Anglo-Irish family with roots in the medical, military and diplomatic professions. Her first music teacher was her clergyman father, who made violins for a hobby. She started to compose from an early age and soon found a passion for music that lasted a lifetime, spanning two world wars, the 1916 rebellion, the war of independence, the civil war and the economic war. Ina Boyle studied privately in Dublin with C.H. Kitson and Percy Buck, she had her first success in 1919 when her orchestral rhapsody, ‘The magic harp’, which was selected for publication by the prestigious Carnegie United Kingdom Trust and was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Adrian Boult. From 1923, realising the need to expand her musical horizons, she visited London for composition lessons with Ralph Vaughan Williams whenever family duties allowed, until her travels were curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War. Vaughan Williams thought highly of her works but, despite her best efforts to promote them, few were performed in public. During the 1940s some of her orchestral music was broadcast on Radio Éireann in a series of programmes on Irish composers. After the death of her father in 1951, she was again free to travel to London while devoting the rest of her life to composition. As one of twentieth-century Ireland’s most prolific composers and the first Irishwoman to undertake a symphony, a concerto and a ballet, this first book on the life and music of Ina Boyle is long overdue.