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Meet the Authors

David Byers

David Byers is a composer, musicologist, writer and music producer. After initial studies at Queen’s University Belfast, he spent four years as the Manson Scholar in composition at London’s Royal Academy of Music. Awarded the Arts Council of Ireland’s Macauley Fellowship and a Belgian Government Scholarship in 1972, he studied with Henri Pousseur at the Liège Conservatoire. He spent 25 years making a wide variety of music and speech programmes for BBC Radio 3, Radio 4, and Radio Ulster, before being appointed Chief Executive of the Ulster Orchestra for the next eight years, retiring in 2010. His music covers most genres except opera and includes orchestral commissions from RTÉ and the BBC. His editions of other composers range across the baroque, classical and romantic periods to the 20th century world of Ina Boyle. Byers writes many programme notes and also liner notes for CDs.

He was a member of the Arts Council, An Chomhairle Ealaíon in the mid 1980s and was a Coulson Governor of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He has served on many boards, including Wexford Festival Opera and the National Concert Hall, and also on the juries of international competitions. He continues to write and produce chamber and orchestral recordings, most recently for a CD of Kurt Weill.


Author's books

Gatherings of Irish Harpers 1780 – 1840



In 1792 the Harpers’ Meeting in Belfast was indeed an important event in the history and life of the town. Belfast’s reformers and radicals desired a better future, but they also shared an interest in the past. Through their support for the few surviving harpers, they hoped future generations might benefit from the survival of a tradition and an instrument, music, language, and practises that were all fast disappearing.