Toner Quinn

Toner Quinn is Editor of the Journal of Music. His new book, What Ireland Can Teach the World About Music, is available here.

How Ireland Thinks About Music
Does Ireland have its own way of thinking about music? How might this perspective have developed? And could it explain the current dynamism in Irish musical life? In this essay, the edited text of a talk given at Farmleigh House on 11 May, Journal of Music Editor Toner Quinn explores these questions and more.
SXSW Protest is About More than Palestine
The protest by ten Irish bands at SXSW in Austin, Texas, was about the crisis in Palestine, but it is also about more than that, writes Toner Quinn.
Catherine Martin's Prime Opportunity to Protect Irish Music
Appointing a board member to RTÉ who has musical expertise is crucial to try and safeguard the Irish music scene, writes Toner Quinn.
'There are no good – even tolerable – musicians coming from Ireland anymore and we don’t expect them': Francis O'Neill Letters Published Online
The five letters, written between 1906 and 1914, provide an insight into O'Neill's perspective during his seminal publishing and collecting work.
Enough of the Facile Narratives: Gael Linn’s Crossroads
TG4 recently broadcast a new documentary marking 70 years of the Irish language and cultural organisation Gael Linn. Toner Quinn reviews.
Tributes to the late Shane MacGowan emphasise his songwriting, but his vision for Irish music was much broader than that, writes Toner Quinn.
If RTÉ Won’t Speak Up About Its Importance to Irish Music, Who Will?
RTÉ has just published its document 'A New Direction for RTÉ', but where is the renewed vision for music, asks Toner Quinn.
How Ireland Treats Its Free Thinkers – The Life and Death of Sinéad O'Connor
The great Sinéad O'Connor has left Ireland with a lot to think about with regard to how we deal with dissent, writes Toner Quinn.
Does the RTÉ Crisis Imperil Music?
RTÉ is immersed in a crisis that has long-term implications for the broadcaster, but what will the consequences be for music, asks Toner Quinn.
Nurturing a New Generation of Sean-nós Singers
TG4 recently broadcast 'Bláth na hÓige', a seven-part series focusing on the emerging generation of sean-nós singers, and the music has just been released on the Gael Linn label. Toner Quinn reviews.
‘Listen, listen and listen’: RIP Fiddle Player Seán Keane
A tribute to the Irish fiddle player Seán Keane who died on 7 May.
10 Impossible Ideas for Irish Traditional Music
A lot has been achieved in Irish traditional music over the past several decades, but what happens next? What are the challenges for this music, and how can the traditional music community work together to create an even better future? Below is the edited text of a talk given by Toner Quinn, Editor of the Journal of Music, on 24 November 2022 as part of Na Píobairí Uilleann’s 'Notes & Narratives' lecture series.
‘Confusing the Discourse’ – Why Fossil Fuel Companies Should Not Be Sponsoring the Arts
The sponsorship by Flogas of the Galway International Arts Festival raises a number of questions about what is appropriate sponsorship for the arts, writes Toner Quinn.
Music Out of Time
Music for Galway recently presented the world premiere of Gerald Barry's 'Cello Concerto' and the Irish premiere of Julia Wolfe's 'Wind in My Hair'. Toner Quinn reviews.
Raidió na 'Fuddy-Duddies'?
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta celebrates 50 years this month, but however great its achievements and its positive impact on traditional music and song, Irish-language media cannot stand still, writes Toner Quinn.
The Manipulation of Music Goes On
RTÉ recently broadcast a new documentary on the Irish folk revival, titled 'The Flourishing'. Toner Quinn reviews.
Where is the Deeper Conversation About Our Decimated Music Scene?
The latest restrictions on live music events leave many unanswered questions, writes Toner Quinn.
What If We Had More Music Hubs?
The new Beatles documentary 'Get Back' gives an incredible insight into the band's creative process, and provides an important lesson for our society today, writes Toner Quinn.
Persist to the Other Side
The fiddle-player Martin Hayes has recently published a memoir of his life in music, 'Shared Notes: A Musical Journey'. Toner Quinn reviews.
We Have Celebrated Ó Riada Enough
On 25 September, the National Concert Hall, the Arts Council and RTÉ presented two tribute concerts to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Seán Ó Riada's death. Toner Quinn reviews.
No One is Talking About What Musicians Get Paid
The new report on the night-time economy has 36 recommendations, but it has an unfortunate blindspot, writes Toner Quinn.
After the Silence
The return of live music to the Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick featured Iarla Ó Lionáird, Úna Monaghan and Kevin Murphy on a Music Network tour. Toner Quinn reviews.
Music in Ireland has a Glass Ceiling and it’s Called Nationalism
Unless music is coated in nationalistic terms it will struggle, writes Toner Quinn.
Does Irish Music Need One Voice?
The restrictions on live music are frustrating and perplexing for musicians and they point to larger issues, writes Toner Quinn.
Irish Fatalism and the Lack of Planning for Live Music
When it comes to reopening the live music sector, we have fallen for the classic Irish mistake: dreaming, but not taking practical steps, writes Toner Quinn.
Music and the Arts Need Ideas and Debate Too
The writer Desmond Fennell, who died this week, had clear ideas about the role of new thinking and debate in society. They are relevant to Irish music today, writes Toner Quinn.
Why Isn’t Irish Traditional Music ‘Curated’ Too?
Now in its seventh edition, the latest 'Tradition Now' festival took place at the National Concert Hall on 19–20 June, but it is still not clear what this event is trying to achieve, writes Toner Quinn.
We Need to Talk about Creativity in the Post-Pandemic Era
Right now, the world is talking about ‘creative solutions’ for the post-pandemic era, for the climate crisis, and for every other challenge that we face, but we need to get clear about what creativity means, writes Toner Quinn.
How RTÉ Can Restore Its Leadership Role in Music
Music and broadcasting go hand in hand, but RTÉ's leadership role in music has been shrinking in recent years. Toner Quinn suggests four ways to turn the situation around.
The Continuing Journey of Martin Hayes
Martin Hayes’ livestreamed concert from the National Concert Hall last week (8 December) gave an insight into the changing music of the fiddle-player, and revealed new collaborative directions. Toner Quinn reviews.