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The Association may be contacted through its Secretary,

Peter F Durnin, KC*SG, KM, GCHS, "Rosaire", Moneymore, Drogheda, Co Louth. A92 RF6F



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Personal Details

About me

(Photograph by courtesy of his daughter Mrs Margaret Clayton)

1907 – 1995. From Cork. Director of music. Known as BBC.  He was introduced to music early in his life as his uncle, Joseph Curtis, was a well-known teacher of singing. He was also choir master at Holy Trinity, a Capuchin friars' church where the choir consisted of adult men and boys.  Bernard joined the choir, probably at the age of 8.  His uncle also taught him piano for which he had a great ability.  When his uncle Joseph retired from Holy Trinity Bernard took up the reins - teaching and conducting the choir.  Initially his wife, Kathleen, accompanied him on the organ but after her untimely death in May 1950 he played the organ himself. At Mass he was all action: handing out  the music to the boys and men, last-minute reminders to all voices of their first notes, then running to the organ to start the introduction, singing the alto line himself - often continuing to play the organ while he did so - or hopping off the seat again to conduct closer to the choir if it was a capella. Bernard was very protective of his choristers and secured many “privileges” for them from the friars - such as beer for the men and lemonade for the boys on special feasts.  First Director of the Cork School of Music at 13 Union Quay to which he was appointed in 1936. In the School of Music he was 'the exemplary principal: firm, unflappable, encouraging, energetic and, above all, dedicated to the highest standards musically, artistically and ethically.  He will be best remembered for many developments in the School of Music including his introduction and support of the Suzuki Method of teaching and for his great enthusiasm for education and for music. Retired in 1973. His favourite instruments were the piano and the organ, which he played in the Holy Trinity Church for many years and also  training the choristers. Co- founder of the International Choral Festival. Buried in St Finbarrs Cemetery Glasheen Road as was Peter Pearson, KCSG (References:  the Curtis Family and Maurice and Jane O’Keeffe, Ballyroe, Tralee, County Kerry Irish Life and Lore Cork Institute of Technology, CD 51; Subject: Bernard Curtis remembered, Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe, Date: 2009)