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Professor John Tyrrell

Honorary Professor

School of Music

John Tyrrell was born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) and studied at the universities of Cape Town, Oxford and Brno. After working as an editor at The Musical Times and on The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, he joined the University of Nottingham as Lecturer in Music (1976), becoming Reader in Opera Studies (1987) and Professor (1996). He was awarded a two-year British Academy Research Fellowship in 1992. From 1996 to 2000 he was Executive Editor of the second edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001). In 2000–08 he was Research Professor at Cardiff University, where he continues as an Honorary Professor.

John Tyrrell’s work has been concerned with Czech music, in particular that of Leoš Janáček, and includes an edition, with Sir Charles Mackerras, of Janáček’s opera Jenůfa that restored the composer's original intentions and which has been extensively performed throughout the world. He has received honorary doctorates for his work on Janáček and Czech music from the Masaryk University of Brno (2002) and the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno (2012)  and a Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters (New York, 2003).  In 1999–2005 he was chairman of the Music Libraries Trust. He holds honorary membership of the Royal Musical Association, IAML (The International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres) UK and Irl.) and the Czech Society for Musicology.

John Tyrrell directs two online databases: the Prague Concert Life, 1850-81 (funded by The Leverhulme Trust), in collaboration with the Principal Research Assistant, Dr Karl Stapleton (database online from February 2007) and the Concert Programmes Database (jointly with the RCM, funded by the AHRC), in collaboration with the Project Manager, Dr Rupert Ridgewell of the British Library (database online from December 2007).



  • Tyrrell, J. 2015.  From Rubinstein to Rebikov: influences of Russian composers on Janáček. Muzikološki zbornik, 51(2), pp. 99–118.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2013.  Why did Act 1 of From the House of the Dead end with the Skuratov theme?, Musicologica brunensia, 48, pp. 108–114.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2010.  Janáček editions at 2010: a personal overview, Brio, 47(2), pp. 19–35.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2009.  Janáček, religion and belief, Musicologica brunensia, 44(1–2), pp.   209–216.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2008.  Janáček a ‘vojensky motiv’ v Salome [Janacek and the military motif in Salome], Opus musicum, 40(5), pp. 4–7.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2006.  Janáček and Modernism, Sborník Filozofické fakulty brněnské univerzity, H41, pp. 225–230.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2006.  Genre in Janáček’s operas, Muzikoloski zbornik, xlii(1), pp. 139–146.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2004.  Konvence v Janáčkových operách [Conventions in Janáček’s operas], Opus musicum, 36, pp. 1–7.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2004.  Janáček and programme music. Ad Parnassum 2(3), pp. 61–102.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1989.   Prozódie a “českost” v české opeře [Wordsetting and ‘Czechness’ in Czech opera], Hudební věda, 26, pp. 299–331.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1970.   Janáček and the speech–melody myth’, The Musical Times, 111, pp. 793–796.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1969.  O připojování slova k hudbě v Janáčkových operách [Attaching words to music in Janáček’s operas], Opus musicum, 1, pp. 227–232.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1968–9.  Mr Brouček’s Excursion to the Moon, Časopis Moravského muzea, 53–54, pp. 89–122.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1967.  The musical prehistory of Janáček’s Počátek románu and its importance in shaping the composer’s dramatic style, Časopis Moravského muzea, 52 (1967), pp. 245–70.


  • N. Simeone and Tyrrell, J. 2015. Charles Mackerras. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2007. Janáček: Years of a life. Volume 2 (1914–1928) Tsar of the forestsLondon: Faber and Faber.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2006. Janáček: Years of a life. Volume 1 (1854–1914) The lonely blackbird. London: Faber and Faber
  • Sadie, S. and Tyrrell, J. 2001.  The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians, revised edition. London: Macmillan,
  • Tyrrell, J. ed. and trans. 1998. : Zdenka Janáčková: My life with Janáček. London: Faber and Faber,  London.
  • Simeone, N., Tyrrell J.  and Němcová, A. 1997.  Janáček’s works: a catalogue of the music and writings of Leoš Janáček. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Tyrrell, J. ed. and trans. 1994.  Intimate letters: Leoš Janáček to Kamila Stösslová. London: Faber and Faber.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1992.  Janáček’s Operas: a documentary account. London: Faber and Faber; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1992. Česká opera. trans. M. Čejka. Brno: Opus musicum.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1988. Czech opera, National Traditions of Opera, ed. John Warrack. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1982.  Leoš Janáček: Káťa Kabanová. Cambridge Opera Handbooks.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.
  • Tyrrell, J. and Wise, R. 1982.  A guide to international congress reports in musicology 1900–1975.  London: Macmillan and New York: Garland.

Book Sections

  • Tyrrell, J. 2015.  ‘Blázinec na jevišti: Janáček a balet’ [A madhouse on stage: Janáček and ballet]. In Steinmetz, K. and Kozel, D. and others, eds. Janáčkiana 2014: Sborník z 32. ročníku mezinárodní muzikologické konference Janáčkiana 2014, konané v Ostravě ve dnech 29.–30. května 2014.  Ostrava: Ostravská univerzita, pp. 31–38.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2014.  Janáček au Royaume-Uni. In Colombe, J.  Janáček en France: de l’indifférance à la reconnaissance.  Clichy: Bleue, pp. 478–484.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2011.  What went wrong with Makropulos?  In: Banoun, B., Stránská, L. and Velly, J.-J. Leoš Janáček: Création et culture européenne: Actes du colloque international Paris, Sorbonne, 3–5 avril 2008.  Paris: L’Harmattan, pp. 121–134.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2011. Janáček and melodrama. In: Hibberd, S. ed.  Melodramatic Voices: Understanding Music Drama.  Farnam: Ashgate, 2011), pp.121–36.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2010.  Janáček, Nejedlý and the future of Czech national opera. In: Cowgill, R., Cooper, D. and Brown, C. eds. Art and Ideology in European Opera: Essays in Honour of Julian Rushton.  Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, pp. 103–21.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2009.  La tristesse des dernières années: tragicomédie et sagesse acquise dans La petite renard rusée. In Frippiat, M. ed.  La petite renarde rusée:, L’avant-scène Opéra, no. 252, pp.  81–5.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2003. How Janáček composed operas. In: Michael, B. ed. Janáček  and his world.  Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, pp. 55–78.
  • Tyrrell, J. 2003. Janáček and the leitmotif.  In A přec je v hudbě jen jedna pravda...: Sborník referátů z konference ke 150. výročí narození Leoše Janáčka.  Brno: JAMU, pp. 19–32.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1995.  Janáček’s concept of recitative. In Beckerman, M. and Bauer, G. eds. Leoš Janáček and Czech Music: Proceedings of the International Converence (St Louis, Missouri 1988).  New York: Pendragon Press, pp. 3–19.
  • Tyrrell, J. 1994. Russian, Czech, Polish and Hungarian opera to 1900.  In Parker, R. ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Opera.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.  237–278
  • Tyrrell, J. 1988. The cathartic slow waltz and other finale conventions in Janáček’s operas. In Fortune, N. ed.  Essays on Drama and Music in Honour of Winton Dean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 333–352.

Critical Editions

  • Tyrrell, J. ed. 2017.  Leoš Janáček: Z mrtvého domu full score and piano-vocal score, Vienna: Universal Edition.
  • Mackerras, C. and Tyrrell, J. ed. 2000.   Leoš Janáček: Jenůfa, Její pastorkyňa: Brno version (1908), full score. Vienna: Universal Edition.
  • Mackerras, C. and Tyrrell, J. ed. 1996.  Leoš Janáček: Jenůfa, Její pastorkyňa: Brno version (1908) piano-vocal  score. Vienna: Universal Edition






  • O'Connell, J. M. 2001. Münir Nurettin Selçuk. In: Sadie, S. and Tyrrell, J. eds. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Oxford University Press, pp. 55-56.

John Tyrrell’s critical edition of Janáček’s final opera From the House of the Dead will receive its first performances in 2017.  He is working on an extensive revision of his two-volume Janáček biography for its Czech translation, the first volume of which is expected to be published in 2016–17.

Research Papers and Public Lectures

  • ‘Janáček and native region’, keynote address to delegates of the International Association of Music Festival Organizers, Ostrava, Czech Republic, 5 June 2015
  • ‘Jak skládal Janáček své opery [How Janáček composed his operas], Faculty of Arts, Ostrava University, Czech Republic, 5 June 2015
  • ‘Bystrouška, the tramp and ‘the eternal evil’, 49th International Musicological Conference, Brno, Czech Republic, 25 November 2014
  • ‘Janáčkovy Příhody lišky Bytroušky: osm otázek [Eight question about Janáček’s The cunning little vixen, Faculty of Arts, Ostrava University, Czech Republic, 28  May 2014
  • ‘How late is late?  Reflections on Janáček’s late style’, Royal Musical Association Annual conference,  Cardiff, 31 May 2012
  • ‘The compositional process in Janáček’s operas: From the house of the dead Act 1’,  Olomouc University, Czech Republic, 10 April 2012
  • Guest Lecture  at Janáček seminar at the Music Department, New York University (Janáček research, overview of operas and textual problems), New York, 15 February 2012
  • ‘Od králů do zločinů: změny v Janáčkovém použití termínu “maestoso”’ [From kings to criminal: changes in Janáček’s use of the term ‘maestoso’], Janáček Academy of Performing Arts, Brno, Czech Republic, 13 April 2011
  • ‘From kings to criminals: Janáček’s changing maestoso moods’, Christchurch University, Canterbury, 24 February 2011
  • ‘Janáček’s Album for Kamila’, lecture-recital with William Howard, Truro Music Society, 10 December 2010
  • ‘Maestoso Janáček’, IAML, Annual Study Weekend, Nottingham, 12 April 2010
  • ‘Janáček and the “military motif” from Salome’, Leoš Janáček within European Culture: 43rd International Musicological Conference, Brno, 30 September 2008
  • ‘The thirteenth head: achievements in reflections on Fibich’s stage melodramas Hippodamia', Music and the Melodramatic Aesthetic: melodrama conference, Nottingham, 5 September 2008
  • ‘Pigeon holes and politics: Janáček’s anniversaries’, keynote address to Society for Musicology in Ireland annual conference, Waterford, Ireland, 10 May 2008
  • ‘What went wrong with Makropulos?’, Colloque international Leoš Janáček: culture européenne et création, Paris, 3–5 April 2008