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James Joyce's Chamber Music

Friends of the James Joyce Tower are pleased to present a very special Centenary Concert featuring for the first time in Ireland, Geoffrey Molyneux Palmer’s settings of James Joyce’s Chamber Music.

Thought to be lost for many years, they were Joyce’s favourites.

Enjoy the Lost Song settings and the story of an intriguing collaboration.


In 1907, the year of its publication, Palmer wrote to Joyce asking permission to set some poems from Chamber Music. Joyce enthusiastically received the ten songs he was sent and wrote:

“I hope you will set all of Chamber Music in time”

“I shall be glad to hear from you and to know that your delicate music is meeting at last with the appreciation it deserves”

Joyce tried to arrange publication of the songs on several occasions but Palmer was hesitant and it never happened. The reason for Palmer’s reluctance is possibly because Joyce was not accepted in Ireland at the time.

Born in Staines in 1882 (the same year as Joyce), Palmer moved to Ireland in 1910 and lived in Sandycove with his two sisters who ran the Rathdown School in Glenageary. He suffered from multiple sclerosis and they looked after him for the rest of his life.

The songs seemed to have been lost until an American researcher Myra Teichel Russel found them at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1981.

She discovered that after Palmer’s death in 1957, a Joyce collector Dr Harley K Croessmann bought the Chamber Music manuscripts from his sisters for $56. He eventually gave them to Carbondale.

Russel published the songs in 1993.


Dean Power (tenor)

Irish tenor Dean Power was a member of the ensemble at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where he had been resident since graduating from the company’s Opera Studio at the end of the 2011-12 season. After ten years as an ensemble member, 20-21 was his final season as he begins to expand upon his already growing career as an international solo guest artist. He will return to Munich in February as a guest and will be making house debuts at Opera Lille and the Salzburg Summer Festival in 2022. Dean is from Clarecastle. He studied in Dublin with Mary Brennan and repetiteur Mairead Hurley at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and D.I.T. Conservatory of Music and Drama. 

Mairéad Hurley (piano)

Mairead Hurley studied piano under Rhona Marshall at the RIAM and music at UCD, graduating from there with a BMus. Further studies include the repetiteur’s course at the London National Opera Studio and a First Class Honours MMus degree (performance) at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. Mairead was Head of Music at Opera Ireland from 1998 to 2010. From 2010 until 2021, Mairead was Head of Vocal, Opera and Drama studies at TU Dublin .

Susie Kennedy (narrator)

Chicago-born, Susie Kennedy, has worked in Dublin for more than 45 years as an actor, singer, director and teacher.  She has performed at the Peacock, The Gaiety, The Olympia, The Project, The Focus, The Viking, The Mermaid, Druid, Galway Townhall, The Hawks Well and The Pavilion Theatre, and with many theatre companies including Smock Alley, Team, Passion Machine, The Children’s T Company. Susie lives in Sandycove and is a volunteer at the Joyce Tower.


Written and directed by Peter McDermott

Peter McDermott is a freelance theatre director and a lecturer in drama at TU Dublin Conservatoire. His work has included directing Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas (Smock Alley Main Stage) and Balfe’s operetta The Sleeping Queen (National Concert Hall), as well as directing and adapting the scripts for The Canterbury Tales (Smock Alley Banquet Hall), Aphra Behn’s The Rover (Samuel Beckett Theatre) and The Schumann Letters (TU Dublin Rathmines Theatre), incorporating the music and correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann.


A Trilling Trilling Production

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