Traces along the Wild Atlantic Way
A life in music: Aloys Fleischmann
He was born in Germany but made music history in Ireland: Aloys Fleischmann was a key figure in the world of music and the arts in twentieth-century Cork.
It was pure coincidence that Fleischmann was born in Germany, in 1910. His mother, Tilly, a pianist whose German parents had emigrated to Cork in 1879, was on tour in Munich when Aloys was born. He grew up in Cork, learned fluent Irish, took piano lessons from his mother and organ lessons from his father. Aloys Senior, originally from Dachau, had been the organist at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne in Cork since 1906. Fleischmann studied at University College Cork, then went to Munich in 1932 to continue his studies in composition, conducting and musicology. He returned to Cork in 1934, becoming Professor of Music at the age of 24, a position he held until his retirement in 1980.
Passionate about music education, Fleischmann also founded and conducted various choirs and orchestras, and established the Cork International Choral Festival in 1954. He spent 35 years on his major work, “Sources of Traditional Irish Music c.1600–1855”, which was completed only a few days before his death on 21 July 1992. Fleischmann’s oeuvre includes 55 compositions for ballet, chamber music, orchestra and choir. Among the honours he held were the Freedom of the City of Cork and the Order of Merit of the German Federal Republic.
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