James McGlynn


PhD in Film Music — University College Cork, Ireland (CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholar)

Supervisors: Dr. Danijela Kulezic-Wilson and Dr. J. Griffith Rollefson

Thesis Title:

“The Transient Composer: The Shapeshifting Definition of the Film Composer and Intertextuality in Popular Music and Cinema”


“The Transient Composer” offers a new approach to consuming, interpreting and analysing music in film, focussing on the rearrangement of popular music and the ramifications of this practice for both film composer and narrative.

This research project posits that rearrangement in the score can radically augment the narrative capacity of the composer, yet simultaneously diffuse the sense of compositional authorship that we traditionally align with the film score and composer. In exploring the resultant phenomenon that I have termed “Transience”, I hope to deproblematise the insurmountably collaborative nature of film, instead emphasising the formation and transmission of narrative meaning in film music.



James Mc Glynn was born in Kilkenny in 1994. After six years performing trumpet with the Kilkenny Youth Orchestra, James began studying music at University College Cork. In 2014 he founded the UCC Orchestra, an ensemble that he continues to conduct. As an undergraduate, James was annually given the title of UCC College Scholar as the highest scoring student in his programme, and was awarded a Quercus Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship for excellence in his academic and creative pursuits.

At this time, he became fascinated by film music: his paper on Paul Giovanni’s The Wicker Man (1973) was highly commended in the 2016 Undergraduate Awards, while his dissertation on HBO’s Westworld (2016) was awarded 1st Prize in the 2017 SMI Undergraduate Musicology Competition. Graduating with first-class honours, James commenced his PhD research under Dr. Danijela Kulezic-Wilson in 2017, exploring the narrative and compositional implications of intertextuality in film scores.


Department of Music

Roinn an Cheoil

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