Benedetto Palmieri: Joyce’s singing teacher


From the RIAM Composers' Archive

From the RIAM Composers’ Archive

Benedetto Palmieri, born in Naples in 1863, was originally a pianist and taught singing at the Royal College of Music in London (1885-1890) and the Royal Irish Academy of Music (1900-1914).

He was also a composer of songs and chamber and orchestral music, although his foray into the genre of “Irish Symphony” in 1909 was not particularly well received1

Palmieri quickly established a reputation as a leading teacher of singing in Dublin, and Joyce sought him out for lessons in 1904, although later transferred to Vincent O’Brien as a “less expensive teacher”.

Palmieri appears to have been impressed with Joyce’s ability: following the 1904 Feis Ceoil performance, he offered the writer three years of free lessons in exchange for a share of Joyce’s concert fees for a decade. Joyce declined the offer2.

Annie Patterson, 'Eminent Dublin Musicians', Weekly Irish Times, 8 December 1900

Annie Patterson, ‘Eminent Dublin Musicians’, Weekly Irish Times, 8 December 1900 (RIAM Archives)







1. Axel Klein, ‘Symphonies and Accompaniments: 200 Years of Irish Symphonies’, Paper read at the symposium The Symphony and Ireland, Dublin, DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, 20 April 2013 Back

2. Matthew H. J. C. Hodgart and Ruth Bauerle , Joyce’s Grand Operoar: Opera in Finnegan’s Wake (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 47 Back