Irish classical guitarist John Feeley and Associate Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin Fran O’ Rourke will perform “JoyceSong: Irish Songs from the Works of James Joyce,” Irish songs with a Joyce connection on Friday, February 7, at 4:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The performance is part of a series presented by Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies. The event is free and open to the public.
“JoyceSong” began in the Martello tower in Sandycove, Dublin, home to the James Joyce Museum, where John Feeley and Fran O’Rourke performed some of Joyce’s favorite Irish songs, accompanied by a guitar belonging to Joyce, which was donated to the museum in 1966. While Joyce’s interest in classical music, especially opera, is well-documented, the important allusions throughout his writings to songs from the Irish tradition are less well-known. Included in Feeley and O’Rourke’s repertoire are the forgotten air used by Joyce for his concert performance of “Salley Gardens,” and Goldsmith’s song, “The Jolly Pigeons,” which Joyce taught to the actor who played Tony Lumpkin in his Zurich production of She Stoops to Conquer.
John Feeley has been described by the Washington Post as “Ireland’s leading classical guitarist.” In addition to his solo and chamber music concerts, he has performed widely with orchestras including The American Symphony at Carnegie Hall, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Ulster Orchestra, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, among others. He has won a number of prizes in international competitions, including the Special Award for interpretation in the 1984 Mauro Giuliani competition, Italy. Highly regarded for his performance of new works by Irish composers, he has regularly performed at international guitar festivals, including the Dublin International Guitar Festival. He has made recordings with K-Tel, Gael-Linn Records, CBA Classics, Ossian Records, Castle Communications and Blackbox Music. He has recently retired as Professor at the Conservatory of Music, Dublin Institute of Technology, but continues to teach at a number of institutions.
Fran O’Rourke is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin. He is primarily interested in the tradition of classical metaphysics and has published widely on Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Heidegger. His book Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas was reissued by University of Notre Dame Press (2005). Allwisest Stagyrite: Joyce’s Quotations from Aristotle was published by the National Library of Ireland in 2005. He is preparing for publication a collection of essays entitled Aristotelian Interpretations, and is completing a book on James Joyce, Aristotle, and Aquinas. He has lectured widely both on philosophical influences in Joyce and on Joyce’s use of song; he has performed recitals of Irish songs featured in Joyce’s work in the National Concert Hall, Dublin (2004) and the Conservatorio, Trieste (2008). In 2012 he organized and sponsored the restoration of James Joyce’s guitar, which was donated by Joyce’s friend Paul Ruggiero to the museum in 1966.
The Fund for Irish Studies, celebrating its 15th anniversary season and chaired by Princeton professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, affords Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, politics and economics not only of Ireland but of “Ireland in the world.”