Ina Boyle

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Ina Boyle

Ina Boyle (8 March 1889 – 10 March 1967) was an Irish composer – the most prolific and significant female composer from Ireland before 1950.[1]


She was born in Bushey Park near Enniskerry and took violin and cello lessons as a child. She studied counterpoint, harmony and composition with Charles Herbert Kitson and George Hewson in Dublin, and by correspondence with her cousin Charles Wood. She also traveled to London periodically for lessons with Ralph Vaughan Williams.[2] She also studied with Percy Buck.[3]

Because of her isolation, Boyle's music was seldom performed. However, she continued to compose until her death.[4] Her composition The Magic Harp received a Carnegie Award, and she won an Olympic Honorable Mention in 1948 for Ireland with Lament for Bion, a composition she submitted to the Olympic Cultural Activities Committee.[5] She died of cancer in Greystones, County Wicklow,[6] and her papers are archived in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.[7] Trinity College has digitised most of her music manuscripts, and they can be searched and studied online.

A feature-length documentary about the life and music of Ina Boyle titled From the Darkness was broadcast 12 June 2010 on Ireland's RTÉ Lyric FM. In April and May 2013, an exhibition at Trinity College highlighted "Ina Boyle’s Symphonic Journey".

Selected works[edit]


  • The Magic Harp, performed by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ronald Corp (cond.), on: Dutton Laboratories CDLX 7276 (CD, 2011).
  • The Wild Geese, performed by European Union Youth Orchestra, Laurent Pillot (cond.), on: Classical Recording Company CRC 2309 (CD, 2013).
  • Sleep Song and Three Songs by Walter de la Mare, performed by Aylish Kerrigan (mezzo) and Dearbhla Collins (piano), on: Métier MSV 28558 (CD, 2016).


  • Elizabeth Maconchy: Ina Boyle. An Appreciation with a Select List of Her Music (Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1974).
  • Sheila Powerscourt: Powerscourt and Ina Boyle, in: S. Powerscourt: Sun too Fast (London: Bles, 1974), pp. 201-15.
  • Axel Klein: Die Musik Irlands im 20. Jahrhundert (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1996), pp. 174-6, 368-71.
  • Sonya Keogh: Ina Boyle. A Life and Work (MPhil, University College Cork, 2002).


  1. ^ Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers (Digitized online by GoogleBooks). 
  2. ^ Williams, Ralph Vaughan; Cobbe, Hugh (2008). Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895-1958. 
  3. ^ Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland: Composers
  4. ^ Fuller, Sophie (1994). The Pandora Guide to Women Composers: Britain and the United States. 
  5. ^ "COMPÉTITIONS D'ART" (PDF). Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Ita Beausang: "Boyle, Ina", in: The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, ed. by Harry White and Barra Boydell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013), p. 119–121.
  7. ^ "INA BOYLE (1889-1967)". Retrieved 1 February 2011. 

External links[edit]