I am an Irish-born music historian, currently based at Maynooth University, who started out working on the intersections between German poetry and music in the nineteenth century. Over the course of my career my interests have evolved and spread into curiosity about Goethe’s relationship with Music and Forgotten Music of Weimar Classicism into explorations of the Art of Song (Women’s Songs and Voices; Songs of Travel; Love Songs), the study of translation, mythography and life writing and – in recent decades – into a fascination with the already vexed question in biography as to how – or whether – pathways between life and art can be mapped. Throughout I have been intrigued with issues of identity and their fluctuations, and all of my books touch on this in some ways.

In the past 20 years I have published 15 books which have consistently challenged conventional narratives. My most recent publication is a major new biography on Schubert. A Musical Wayfarer (Yale University Press, 2023), which is the book I consider my magnum opus. This new life of Franz Schubert takes an unparalleled look into the composer’s life, from his early years at the Stadtkonvikt through his harrowing battle with syphilis and to his death at the age of 31. Drawing on extensive archival research in Vienna and the Czech Republic as well as recent scholarship across several disciplines, this account provides a fuller portrait than ever before of an extraordinary life, astounding courage and an infallible commitment to music. My first monograph, Schubert’s Goethe Settings, challenged the then-prominent view of Goethe’s neglect of the composer and was recognized as the first musicological study which ‘engaged with Goethe’s poems as poetry and not just as raw material for the glory of Schubert’s music. Time and again she shows how Schubert is listening to the poetry, hearing its energies, its ebb and flow. The upshot is not a song that reflects the poem but one that reflects on it and remakes the poetry into a new musical text. This author has the ability to interpret music and text with equal authority!’ (Martin Swales, Kings College London, General Editor of the Publications of the English Goethe Society). Since then I have published five volumes of essays on Schubert including Rethinking Schubert (Oxford University Press, 2016) and Schubert’s Late Music: History, Theory, Style (Cambridge University Press, 2016), two seminal contributions to the field arising from an international conference which brought 81 distinguished Schubert scholars, music theorists and world-renowned performers to Maynooth University to debate the reasons for Schubert’s change of style in 1824. In addition to my monographs and edited collections, I have written over 50 peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles which have been published by leading international academic and commercial publishers – Schubert-Jahrbuch, The Schubertian, Music and LettersMusiktheorieNineteenth Century Music ReviewThe Musical TimesPublications of the English Goethe SocietyGerman Quarterly, Oxford German Studies and the Goethe-Jahrbuch – and which have been met by considerable acclaim.

One of the hallmarks of my research is that it is internationally recognized in two disciplines: Musicology and Germanistics. My current work on Goethe and the Allure of Music promises to reshape the historical account of the poet’s engagement with the art. Further publications on Goethe and Music include: Music in Goethe’s Faust: Goethe’s Faust in Music (Boydell & Brewer, 2017) and Goethe and Zelter: Musical Dialogues (Ashgate, 2009) which was named an Outstanding Academic Book of 2010 by Choice and has been widely acclaimed as ‘a major contribution’ to musicology and Goethe studies and an ‘excellent translation’ (Music and Letters, The Schubertian, Choice, Modern Language Review and German Quarterly). I have shared this experience with many scholarly friends by translating their German-language chapters into English in essay collections I have edited. 

Read Lorraine Byrne Bodley’s biography in full



I have always sought to combine academic, archival and scholarly research with experimenting with different forms of writing and reaching out to different kinds of readers and audiences. I have, for example, prepared numerous critical editions of musical works for professional performance. My first published score, Schubert’s Opera, Claudine von Villa Bella was conducted by Colman Pearce in Trinity College Dublin (2003) premiered (in English translation) as part of a Northern Ireland Peace Project funded by an EU Grant (2001-3) for which I was Principle Investigator. My piano reduction of Schubert’s opera, performed at the Guildhall (2004) was acclaimed by Walther Dürr (Chair of the Neue Schubert Ausgabe) as a ‘masterly musical achievement in its own right’; the North American premiere was given by the Regina Symphony Orchestra in 2004. My critical edition of Eberwein and Goethe’s melodrama, Proserpina, was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland at the National Concert Hall, Dublin (2007) toured by the Thüringer Symphoniker throughout Germany (2010) and was most recently performed by the Munich Symphony Orchestra in 2016 with Salome Kammer as Proserpina.

Both scores represent my interest in making Goethe’s engagement with music more widely known and offering members of the public some deeper historical background on Schubert’s life and work. As part of this ambition, I guest-curated a lecture series Schubert Symphonies performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (2016) for which I wrote and delivered six talks reimagining Schubert’s contribution to the symphony, broadcast on LA Phil’s Upbeat Live series [The talk on the B minor ‘Unfinished Symphony’ and ‘Great’ C major symphony is here]. I have also shared insights gained through my research on Schubert’s Late Works with a wider public through talks and radio broadcasts, for example for the Kilkenny Arts Festival: Schubert. Dreaming the Sublime, Ireland (2017). I am a regular Lecturer at the Oxford Lieder Festival.


I work hard to support fellow colleagues and graduate students internationally and nationally, and actively contribute to the growth of our discipline in Ireland. During my term of office as President of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (2015–2021) I worked tirelessly for graduate students – establishing a careers forum, two graduate prizes, a graduate student committee and revising the SMI Thesis Register – and I introduced numerous innovations including corresponding membership; establishing an SMI Newsletter, an SMI web-administrator, President-Elect; securing the partnership of the Irish Research Council for the SMI Harrison Medal, an IRC New Foundations Grant to host an International Forum on Public Musicology at the National Concert Hall (2017), and attracted to the society a wider international audience. 

In 2018 the Royal Irish Academy invited me to write their first position paper on music: ‘The earth has music for those who listen’: Creativity in Music in Ireland in response to the Creative Ireland Forum – a high-level, high ambition, all government five-year initiative which aims to place creativity at the centre of public policy. The aim of the published paper was to supply background and context to policy-makers and administrators on issues in early music education, the need to reward creativity in young researchers through the creation of more postdoctoral positions; the need to support a living tradition of music research and make expert musical knowledge more widely available to the general public. The paper also addressed the national orchestra crisis; Ireland’s neglect of national composers in comparison to public attention awarded to poets and writers as well as common challenges music educators in Ireland face. The paper was launched by the Minister for Education and publicly responded to by Tania Banotti, Director of the Creative Ireland Forum. 

In the same year I was appointed NUI Representative in Music for the State Examinations Commission and edited a major research project, Music Preferred: Essays in Musicology, Cultural History and Analysis in Honour of Harry White (Vienna: Hollitzer Verlag, 2018) ‘which brings 40 national and international scholars into dialogue with each other and expands the boundaries of what a Festschrift can (and should) do’. It has been recognized ‘as a major reference book, generous in its inclusivity […] in which the individual sections […] cohere as the parts of a whole that allows us to reimagine what music scholarship can be in the twenty-first century when we really are talking to each other’ (Philip V. Bohlman, Ludwig Rosenberger Distinguished Service Professor in Jewish History, The University of Chicago). That notion of dialogue, that ‘new standard for a genre of intellectual discourse and academic honor’ is answered in the recipient’s published response: The Well-tempered Festschrift. Reading Music Preferred (Hollitzer Verlag, 2020). I am deeply committed to establishing a special literary genre of Festschriften which honours exceptionally generous, distinguished scholars and composers in imaginative ways which advance the recipient’s artistic vision or intellectual position. 


In my role as Professor of Music History in Maynooth, I am a dedicated teacher of undergraduate students, as well as mentor of doctoral and postdoctoral research. I began teaching at 19 when, following a degree in Music and English Literature, I undertook postgraduate Studies in Higher Education. While teaching and conducting numerous choral works – Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (1&2); Fauré’s Requiem, Schubert’s Mass in G, Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols; Rutter, When Icicles Hang (SSA); Antonin Tučapsky, The Time of Christemas (SSA, guitar and percussion); Liszt’s Via Crucis – I completed a second degree in German Literature (with first class honours) and Doctoral Studies (in three years). Since coming to Maynooth after postdoctoral studies in Trinity and a Headship in Music at Mater Dei, Dublin City University, I have supervised 40 graduate students including 16 doctoral and postdoctoral students. Former graduate students I have supervised have gone on to gain academic positions in the Czech Republic, Ireland, the UK and USA. I have been a leader of 5 research projects in the past 6 years, running full-time positions of pre- and post-doc-researchers to the amount of over half a million Euros. 


As a biographer, I have become even more aware of the responsibility of an artistic bequest, and the central role a family can play in a composer’s reception history. As curator of my husband’s manuscripts, I correspond regularly on Seóirse Bodley’s behalf and am deeply committed to the promotion and preservation of his life’s work. During our first decade together, I commissioned three song cycles; arranged numerous performances and edited critical editions of his music including A Community of the Imagination: Seóirse Bodley’s Goethe’s Settings (Carysfort Press, 2013); A Hazardous Melody of Being: Seóirse Bodley’s Song Cycles on the Poems of Micheal O’Siadhail (Carysfort Press, 2008) and Seóirse Bodley: Three Congregational Masses (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2005). I am currently collaborating with the CMC on the digitization of his scores and planning a website and online database, which will, in time, provide free online access to his work.