Aloys Fleischmann - the life
Aloys Fleischmann was born in Munich, Germany to Cork-based German musician parents. His father was organist and choirmaster at the Catholic Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne; his mother a pianist and teacher. He went to school in Cork, and graduated from University College Cork with the degrees of BMus (1931) and MA (1932) and subsequently studied composition, conducting and musicology at the State Academy of Music and at the University of Munich. In 1934 he became Professor of Music at University College Cork, a post he held until his retirement in 1980. The National University of Ireland awarded him a DMus degree in 1963.
Fleischmann composed large-scale works for chorus and orchestra, five ballets, a symphony, several song cycles and many chamber and solo works. He was a founder of the Cork Symphony Orchestra (1934), Cork Orchestral Society (1938), the Cork International Choral and Folk Dance Festival (1954) and a crusading member of many organisations and committees. He was a highly influential figure in the musical life of the country. His Music in Ireland of 1953, published by Cork University Press, presents a survey of the state of music in the country by the mid-twentieth century, which served as the basis for his many campaigns to bring music into the life of the people, and in particular into the schools of the nation, and to have it taught there by properly qualified teachers. His major work, Sources of Irish Traditional Music was published in New York after his death in 1998 and compiles all the traditional folk songs printed up to 1855. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists. Other honours included the Freedom of the City of Cork, an Hon. MusD from the University of Dublin, the Order of Merit of the German Federal Republic and the Silver Medallion of the Irish American Cultural Institute.
The Fleischmann family were immigrant musicians, Aloys Fleischmann’s grandfather having come to Cork in 1879. Their story shows how successfully Ireland can integrate her immigrants; also how outsiders can adopt the culture of their host country, appreciate its value sometimes more than the people themselves, and contribute to it in a productive fashion.