Mabel and Ronald Swainson Collection

Mabel Swainson (1928-2012) was a pianist and teacher, awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the Dublin Institute of Technology in 2004 for her contribution to music and particularly music education, ‘being widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of piano teaching in Ireland’. Swainson taught in the Read School of Music, the Schola Cantorium of St Finian’s College Mullingar, the Leinster School of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Among her students were David Mooney (Head of Keyboard Studies, DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama), Hugh Tinney and pianist/composer Philip Martin.

Of significance within the library reference collection are Philip Martin manuscripts: originals, official copies made by Martin for the Swainsons, and Contemporary Music Centre prints with handwritten inscriptions from Martin to Mabel (e.g. ‘A copy for the greatest teacher in the world with love from Philip xxx’). Likewise, a Richard Deering score bears the inscription ‘With warmest wishes to dear Mabel and Ronald from the Composer!’.

The majority of the collection comprises c1500 scores of the two-piano repertoire for which the concerts of Mabel and her husband Ronald were known. Ronald, whose profession was in business, had also been a pupil of Patricia Read. The scores in the library are annotated “M” for Mabel and “R” for Ronald and many are annotated heavily with performance markings.

The contents of the collection can be seen here.

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