Seóirse Bodley

01 Bodley

‘We were, to a large extent, on our own and free.’

Seóirse Bodley was born in Dublin in 1933. Studies in Ireland and Germany led to a teaching appointment at University College Dublin, where he was awarded the degree of D. Mus. He is currently Emeritus Professor in the music department there. Influences on his compositions include a range of musical styles from the European avant-garde to Irish traditional music. His works include five symphonies for full orchestra, two chamber symphonies and numerous orchestral, choral, vocal and chamber pieces. The many commissions he has received include his Third Symphony, commissioned for the opening of the National Concert Hall in Dublin, and his Fourth Symphony, commissioned by the Arturo Toscanini Symphony Orchestra of Parma, Italy. In addition to many performances in Ireland, his music has been broadcast and performed in North America, many European countries, Australia and China. Awards include the Arts Council Prize for Composition, a Travelling Studentship of the National University of Ireland, the Macaulay Fellowship in Music Composition and the Marten Toonder Award. In 2008 Seóirse Bodley was elected a Saoi of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists.

Photograph: David Collier. Seóirse Bodley (seated) and Benjamin Dwyer at the composer’s home in Dublin, 23 February 2013.

See also: composer page on

Selected Works

Music for Strings (1952)


Ná Déan Gáire (1952-53) for voice and piano


Movement for Orchestra (1955-56)


Configurations (1967) for orchestra


Meditations on Lines from Patrick Kavanagh (1971)


The Narrow Road to the Deep North (1972) for piano


A Girl (1978) for voice and piano


News from Donabate (1999) for piano

Third String Quartet (2004)



Highlights of 75th Birthday Concert at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin in 2008 (video produced by CMC)


Short interview with the composer, recorded in 2008 by CMC following the composer’s 75th birthday concert