I am an independent researcher specializing in the history of art music in Ireland, especially the 19th and 20th centuries. A related field of interest is the music of Irish emigrants in Europe (particularly in France) and the US. I was born in 1962, studied at the University of Hildesheim and Trinity College Dublin, PhD in 1995. Based in Frankfurt, Germany, I have written and edited some books, numerous articles and book chapters, and was elected a Corresponding Member of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (SMI) in 2015.


Universität Hildesheim, Germany, 1984–1990

Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 1987–8

Ph.D. 1995 (Hildesheim)


Books authored:

– O’Kelly: An Irish Musical Family in Nineteenth-Century France (Norderstedt: BoD, 2014)

– Irish Classical Recordings: A Discography of Irish Art Music (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2001)

– Die Musik Irlands im 20. Jahrhundert (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1996)

Books co-edited:

– The Life and Music of Brian Boydell (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2004).

– Irish Music in the Twentieth Century (= Irish Musical Studies 7; Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2003)

Articles and book chapters since 2010 (for more see my website):

– ‘An Irish-American in Paris: Swan Hennessy (1866–1929)’, in: Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (JSMI) vol. 13 (2017–8), 47–78.

– ‘”No, Sir; the Irish are not musical”: Some Historic (?) Debates on Irish Musicality’, in: Lorraine Byrne Bodley (ed.): Music Preferred. Essays in Musicology, Cultural History and Analysis in Honour of Harry White (Vienna: Hollitzer, 2018), 167–182.

– ‘”All her lovely companions are faded and gone” – How “The Last Rose of Summer” Became Europe’s Favourite Irish Melody’, in: Brian Caraher and Sarah McCleave (eds.), Thomas Moore and Romantic Inspiration (London: Routledge, 2018), 128–145

– (with Jennifer Ward, RISM) ‘An Evening of Irish Music: The Emerald Isle Comes to Germany’, in: Fontes Artis Musicae 63:4 (Oct.–Dec. 2016), 277–284.

– ‘No State for Music’, in: Michael Dervan (ed.): The Invisible Art. A Century of Music in Ireland, 1916–2016 (Dublin: New Island Books, 2016), 46–68.

– ‘Gilbert Bécaud’s L’Opéra d’Aran (1962) – A Rapprochement’, in: Una Hunt and Mary Pierse (eds.), France and Ireland. Notes and Narratives (Bern etc.: Peter Lang, 2015), 79–90.

– ‘Selbstfindung durch Musik. Der irische Komponist Raymond Deane’, in: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 176.4 (July 2015), 48–50

– ‘Joseph O’Kelly (1828-1885) and the “Slings and Arrows of Fortune”‘, in: Études Irlandaises 39.1 (2014), 23–39

– ‘Qualité d’Irlandais: The O’Kelly Family in Nineteenth-Century French Musical Life’, in: Eamon Maher & Catherine Maignant (eds.): Franco-Irish Connections in Space and Time – Peregrinations and Ruminations (Bern etc.: Peter Lang, 2012), 133–154.


Biographical monograph:

Bird of Time: The Music of Swan Hennessy (Mainz: Schott, 2019)

Forthcoming articles / book chapters:

– ‘Musical Inscapes. An Appreciation of Brian Boydell’s Orchestral Music’; chapter in a forthcoming book about Boydell, edited by Barra Boydell and Barbara Dignam (2019).

– ‘”A Daughter of Music”. Alicia Adelaide Needham’s Anglo-Irish Life and Music’; chapter in the forthcoming volume 13 of Irish Musical Studies, ‘Women and Music in Ireland’, edited by Ita Beausang and Jennifer O’Connor-Madsen.


Gesellschaft für Musikforschung (German Musicological Society), since 1990

Society for Musicology in Ireland, founding member since 2003; Corresponding Member since 2015


Axel Klein

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