Thomas Augustine Geary

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Thomas Augustine Geary (Timothy Geary) (1775[1] – November 1801) was an Irish composer, pianist and organist, with a precocious talent particularly in vocal and piano writing.


Geary's original first name was Timothy; it is presumed that he chose "Thomas Augustine" as artist's names in admiration for Thomas Augustine Arne. He was a choirboy and choral scholar at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, where he occasionally assisted the cathedral organist, Philip Cogan. In 1792, he performed a concerto by Dussek at a charity concert at the Rotunda, Dublin, at which one of his canzonets, Soft is the Zephyr's Breezy Wing, was also performed. According to W.H.G. Flood, Geary studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but there is no evidence for this claim. According to an 1818 source, "labouring under some depression of mind he rushed out of the house, and was found drowned in the canal".[2] In Brian Boydell's opinion, "his premature death undoubtedly robbed Irish music of a sensitive and promising talent".[3]


Geary was the first Irish composer to systematically explore the form of popular airs or folktunes with variations, which were very much in demand at his time. He also excelled in vocal writing, impressing with remarkable maturity and sensitivity in word-setting and excellent piano accompaniments. Many of his songs and piano pieces were reprinted in London and the United States for decades after his early death.

Selected compositions[edit]


So far only one composition by Geary has been recorded on a commercial CD:

  • Aileen Aroon, air and variations, performed by Una Hunt, on: RTÉ lyric fm CD 109 (CD, 2006).


  • Ita M. Hogan: Anglo-Irish Music 1780–1830 (Cork: Cork University Press, 1966)
  • Ita Beausang: "Geary, Thomas Augustine [Timothy]", in: The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, ed. by Harry White & Barra Boydell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013), p. 424–425.
  • entries in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001) and Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG) (vol. 7, 2002)

External links[edit]

  • T.A. Geary scores at IMSLP


  1. ^ Geary's year of birth is sometimes given as 1773, but a 1789 newspaper report gives his age as 14; see Beausang (2013), p. 424.
  2. ^ J. Warburton, J. Whitelaw, R. Walsh: History of the City of Dublin (London, 1818), vol. 2.
  3. ^ Brian Boydell: "Geary, Thomas Augustine [Timothy]", in: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 2001).