Jazz was a naturally occurring element in the chemistry of this inspirational musician, writes Grainne Farren
Published 14/03/2010 | 05:00
Brendan Lynch, who was a pianist and lifelong supporter of jazz, has died at the age of 78.
Born in Dublin on June 27, 1931, he grew up on the Navan Road, one of 11 children. Music was an important part of his life from the beginning, as his father was leader of the Garda Band. Brendan was self-taught on piano. His only music teacher left after three lessons when he refused to stop playing jazz! He never did stop, but went on playing jazz for the rest of his life -- and other kinds of music, too.
As is often the case, music had to take second place to earning a living. After leaving school he went to work in a paint factory in Dublin. He married his first wife, Kitty, in 1955, and they had five children: Caroline, Anne, Siobhan, Niamh and Paul. In the late 1960s the family moved to Tring, Hertfordshire, England, where Brendan worked for DuPont. Kitty died in 1978. He later remarried, and with his second wife, Margaret, he had another daughter, Sarah.
While in the UK, Brendan studied chemistry at the Open University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Further studies led to a Doctorate in Chemistry. All this time he was still playing piano, and he became the musical director of the Tring Festival Company.
After Margaret's death, Brendan returned to Dublin in the 1980s and moved back into the family home on the Navan Road, where he lived until a few years ago, when he moved to Monkstown.
He had taken early retirement from DuPont, though he carried on working for the company as a consultant.
In recent years, he had more time to devote himself to music, both playing and listening. He was a close friend of the late 'Professor' Peter O'Brien, and played guest spots at some of the professor's concerts.
Restaurant engagements provided another outlet for his piano playing. Singers, both amateur and professional, appreciated his support as accompanist. He attracted a keen audience at the United Arts Club, where he played frequently, and was made an honorary member of the club in recognition of his musical services.
Brendan was still attending jazz gigs up to about a month before his death. He will be sadly missed by a wide circle of musicians and jazz fans, as well as by other friends who knew him as a golfer, swimmer and rugby fan.
Jazz played a part in Brendan's funeral. Members of the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra were among the musicians in the Victorian Chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium who played some of his favourite tunes. His youngest daughter Sarah, a professional singer, sang 'Someone to Watch Over Me', and mourners heard Brendan's own recording of 'Tea for Two'.
He is survived by his six children, three step-children, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.