Gerard Gillen

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Dr. Gerard Gillen is Professor Emeritus in Music at the National University of Ireland,[1] Maynooth, having retired from the position of Professor and Head of the Music Department of that university at the end of September 2007. He came to Maynooth College in 1985, previously having been a lecturer in music for sixteen years at University College, Dublin. Professor Gillen oversaw the expansion of the Music Department in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, for example, new diplomas in Music Technology and Church Music. He also directed the University Choral Society from October 1985 until April 2007.

In 2018, following 42 years of service, Professor Gillen retired from his position as Titular Organist of St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, a post he had held since 1976.

Gillen is a first-class honours graduate of University College Dublin and Oxford.

Professor Gillen's interest lie in the areas of Catholic church music, organ building and performance practice. He was honoured as the John Betts Fellow in 1992 at the University of Oxford and since 1993 he has been chair of the Irish Episcopal Commission's Advisory Committee on Church Music.

He is also the general editor (with Harry White of UCD) of the bi-annual Irish Musical Studies.[2]



  • Gerard Gillen (with Harry White), ed. Irish Musical Studies I: Musicology in Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1990)
  • Gerard Gillen (with Harry White), ed. Irish Musical Studies II: Music and the Church (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1992)
  • Gerard Gillen (with Harry White), ed. Irish Musical Studies III: Music and Irish Cultural History (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1995)
  • Gerard Gillen (with Andrew Johnstone), ed. Irish Musical Studies VI: A Historical Anthology of Irish Church Music (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001)
  • ‘Contemporary Organ Building in Ireland’, The Organ – An Encyclopaedia, eds. D Bush & R. Kassel (New York: Routledge, 2006) pp. 271–273
  • ‘An Instrument for Harmony: How should we think about Church Music?’ Religious Life Review, (March/April 2006), pp. 116–123
  • ‘The Pipe Organ: a centuries-old heritage’, New Liturgy, Summer, 2006, pp. 15–16
  • ‘Children in Irish Liturgical Life’, New Liturgy, Spring, 2005, pp. 11–17
  • ‘Towards a Definition of ‘’Good’’ Liturgical Music’, Anail Dé: The Breath of God – Music, Ritual and Spirituality, ed. Helen Phelan (Veritas: Dublin, 2001) pp. 189–200
  • ‘Irish Catholics and Hymns’, The Furrow (October 2000), pp. 548–556
  • Seoirse Bodley', 'Brian Boydell', 'Jerome de Bromhead', 'John Buckley', Edward Bunting', 'Charles Petrie', 'Roman Catholic Church Music', The Blackwell Companion to Modern Irish Culture, ed. W.J. McCormack (Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1999)
  • ‘Looking back, looking forward’, New Liturgy, Summer, 1998, pp. 5–11
  • ‘William Telford and the Victorian Organ in Ireland’, Irish Musical Studies II: Music and the Church, ed. Gerard Gillen and Harry White (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1992), pp. 108–129
  • ‘Church Music in Dublin, 1590–1900’, Four Centuries of Music in Ireland, ed. Brian Boydell (London: BBC, 1979), pp. 23–28
  • ‘17th-century Organ Music: New Editions’, The Musical Times, cxvi (1975), pp. 172–173
  • ‘New Organ Music”, The Musical Times, cxv (1974), pp. 981–982
  • ‘The Organ Music of Franz Liszt, The Musical Times, cxiii (1972), pp. 182–183
  • ‘Hassler and Contemporaries’, The Musical Times, cxiii (1972), pp. 1017–1018
  • ‘New Organ Music”, The Musical Times, cxiii (1972), p. 711
  • ‘The Rieger Organ in St. Michael's Church, Dún Laoghaire', Music and Liturgy, I ii (1975), pp. 98–100
  • 'The Training of Organists and Choirmasters', The Furrow, (Music Supplement), (1969).
  • 'The Organ in Bray, Co. Wicklow: an organist’s evaluation’, Journal of the British Institute of Organ Studies, v (1981), pp. 121–126


Gillen enjoys an international reputation as an organ recitalist and has given recitals at such prestigious international venues as the Royal Festival Hall, London, McEwan Hall, Edinburgh, Ulster Hall, Belfast, cathedrals of Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Canterbury, Notre Dame, Paris, St Stephen's, Vienna, Salzburg, Regensburg, Freiburg, Hamburg, Lübeck, St Bavo, Haarlem, Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Copenhagen, Madrid, and Tallinn.

Gillen was founder-chairman of the Dublin International Organ & Choral Festival and was the festival's artistic director from 1990–2000. He was also consultant to the National Concert Hall in Dublin on the installation of the Hall's Kenneth Jones concert organ in 1991 and remains one of the Hall's honorary organ curators.

Gillen was the organist at the Statio Orbis mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress held in Croke Park, Dublin on 17 June 2012.

Gillen was the organist on the World Meeting of Families 2018's official hymn, "A Joy For All The Earth", written by Irish composer Ephrem Feeley and recorded in Blackrock College Chapel.[3]

Broadcast Recordings and Discography[edit]

Gillen has had many recitals recorded and broadcast by various national radio networks: RTÉ, BBC, RTF (France), BRT (Belgium), Nord Deutsche Rundfunk, Mittel-Deutsche Rundfung, RAI, Estonian National Radio, and American Public Service Radio.

Gillen plays the 1869 Walker organ of St Audoen’s, Dublin, LP NIR, 1971. He also played Buxtehude and Walther on the Chapel Organ of Trinity College, Dublin, LP NIR, 1972. He has made many other recordings.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

Selected Public Recitals 2000–2010[edit]


Dun Laoighre, St. Michael's Church


Dun Laoghaire, St. Michael's Church

2008 Dun Laoghaire, St. Michael's Church 2007

Dun Laoighre, St. Michael's Church


Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, 27 September

Spišska Nova Ves (Slovakia), Festival, 13 September

Kosice (Slovakia), Philharmonic Hall, 12 September

Dublin, National Concert Hall, recital as part of NCH’s 25th anniversary celebrations, 8 September

New York, St Patrick’s Cathedral, 29 August

Dublin, St Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire, 20 August

Carrick-on-Shannon, Water Music festival, 13 August

Castletownshend, Summer Music Festival, 3 August

Monasterevan, Hopkins Summer School, 28 July

Lyon, St Bonaventure Basilica, 7 May

Paris, La Madeleine, 30 April

Luxembourg, Dudelange Celtic Festival, 9 March


Ruzamberak Catholic University, Slovakia, Conference Recital, 21 October

Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, 7 September

Wales, St Davids Cathedral, 24 August

Dublin, St Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire, 21 August

Graz, Cathedral, 14 August

Legnica (Polaqnd), Cathedral, 19 July

Wroclaw, University Church, 17 July

Swieta Lipka, Festival Recital, 15 July

Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral, 11 May

Waterford, Christ Church Cathedral, 10 March

Oxford, The Queen’s College, 23 February


Dublin, National Concert Hall, 5 December (with Palestrina Choir)

Sardinia, Cagliari, S. Francesca de Paulo, 23 October

Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, 8 September

Hamburg, Wohltorf Kirche, 4 September

Schleswig Holstein, Neuenkirchen, 3 September

Copenhagen, Vor Frue Cathedral, 28 August

Denmark, Randers Church, 26 August

Dublin, St Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire, 15 August

Bratislava, St Martin’s Cathedral, 30 June

Tullamore, Church of the Assumption, 22 June

Bratislava Castle, official recital to mark the accession of Slovakia to the EU, 4 May

Dublin, St Patrick’s Cathedral, 28 April

London, St Lawrence Jewry (City), 16 March

Rome, S. Paulo entre la mura, 29 February


Dublin, National Concert Hall, 10 December (with Palestrina Choir)

Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, 24 September

Zilina (Slovakia), S. Barbera, 4 September

Piestany (Slovakia), Concert Hall, 2 September

Trnava (Slovakia), Cathedral Festival, 28 August

Kosice, St Elizabeth Cathedral, 26 August

Leipzig, St Thomas’s Church, 23 August

Torgau, Schloss und Stadt Kirche, 22 August

Potsdam, Erlöserkirche, 20 August

Schleswig Holstein, Sieseby Kirche, 18 August

Limburg/Lahn, Cathedral Series, 16 August

Dublin, St Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire, 10 August

Tullamore, Church of the Assumption, 17 June

Dublin, St Agatha’s, North William Street, Inaugural Recital, 15 May


Limerick, Redemptorist Church, 20 November

Turin, Basilica Santa Rita, 28 October

Fossano, Cathedral festival, 27 October

Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, 4 September

Dublin, St Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire, 18 August

Killaloe, Shannon Festival, 20 July

Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, International Organ festival Vesper, 28 June

Augusta, Georgia, Distinguished Artists’ series, 2 May

Hannibal, Missouri, First Presbyterian Church, 28 April


Dublin, National Concert Hall, 27 September

Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, 19 September

Schleswig Holstein, St Peter-Ording, 9 September

Schleswig Holstein, Keitum/Sylt, 5 September

Hamburg, Harsefeld, Kirche, 3 September

Copenhagen, Garrison Church, 29 August

Schleswig Holstein, St Laurentius, Itzehoe, 25 August

Denmark, Randers Church, 21 August

Galway, Cathedral of the Assumption, 16 August

Denmark, Bornholm, Rønne Church, 10 August

Strasbourg, St Pierre-le-Jeune, 15 July

Vienna, Stefansdom, 11 July

Sens (France), Cathedral, 8 July

Munich, University Church, 26 June

Cork, St Finbarr's Cathedral, 22 May

Frankfurt/Main, St Nikolai (Bergen-Enkheim), 23 March


Dublin, National Concert Hall, 12 December (with Palestrina Choir)

Dublin, Pro-Cathedral, 6 September

Wexford, Rowe Street Church, 6 August

Mühlhausen, Divi Blasii Church, 1 June

Limerick, Mary Immaculate College, 3 May

Kilrush, St Senan's Church, Inaugural recital, 28 April

Copenhagen, St David's Church, 27 February

Copenhagen, Kastrup Church, 26 February


  1. ^ National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  2. ^ (Dublin: Irish Academic Press/ Four Courts Press)
  3. ^ "Official hymn launched for WMOF2018 – A Joy For All The Earth". Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference. Archived from the original on 27 February 2018.
  4. ^ Bach at Bray, Audio Tape, KLJ, 1976
  5. ^ Bach's Toccata in C, BWV 564, KLJ, 1978
  6. ^ Messe pour les Couvents on the Rieger organ of St Michael's Dun Laoghaire, SDG, 1990
  7. ^ Baroque Highlights: Gerard Gillen at the organ of St Michael’s Church, Dun Laoghaire, SDG 1994
  8. ^ Franck and Guilmant: Gerard Gillen Plays the Great Organ of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, SDG110, 2002
  9. ^ Best Loved Sacred Music: St. James's Choir with Niamh Murray, Soprano, Gerard Gillen, Organist & Fr. John O'Brien, Conductor, 1997