Swan Hennessy (1866–1929)

The Irish-American composer Swan Hennessy was born in Rockford, Illinois, studied in Stuttgart (Germany) and came to live in Paris (from around 1903). His music reflects his Irish background, German education and French residence at a time at which both musical Impressionism and Celticism were in vogue.


I have been researching his life and music since mid-2014 and have just completed his first ever biography, a voluminous book to be published by Schott in September 2019.


The first public result was an extended biographical article, including a discussion of his music, with a focus on the composer's Irish/Celtic interests. It was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (JSMI) in July 2018.


Second public outcome is a CD with the world premiere recordings of Hennessy's complete string quartets (Opp. 46, 49, 61, 65, 75) and the Petit trio celtique, Op. 52. This appeared in April 2019; see here.