JOHN McDONNELL TIERNEY, PhD
PLAYWRIGHT – COMPOSER – LYRICIST
“A country gentleman, no longer young, being retired has much time for
He studies them from morn till night...and all he reads...
fills him with indignation at man's murderous ways towards man.
He ponders the problem...how to make better a world
where evil brings profit and virtue none at all.
He broods and broods and broods...and finally his brains dry up!
He lays down the melancholy burden of sanity
and conceives the strangest project ever imagined...”
Cervantes in The Man of LaMancha by Dale Wasserman
John McDonnell Tierney. “Jack,” as is his preference,
likes to describe himself as a
“retired professor and aspiring playwright living in the woods and trying to make sense of life.”
Having had some seventy-four years “of life” so far to do that,
he is continually surprised by how much of life seems to make no sense at all.
This is how he got here:
Graduating with a Bachelor’s in Music Ed. (1967) from UMASS, Jack began his career as “Junior High School” music teacher in Amherst later becoming Director of Bands for the school district. In the fall of 1970 he joined the music faculty of Holyoke Community College (MA) where he co-conducted the Civic Symphony, directed an 18 piece Jazz Ensemble and a 12 voice “Pops Choir.” Jack was invited a year later to come to Hartford where he remained for some twenty years during that time holding a fulltime faculty position at Hartford College where he established and directed the Musical Theater Program and numerous other ensembles. Simultaneously, while raising two boys, Jack carried on an active career as a performer and composer. He could be found playing the slide trombone in such diverse groups as: Hartford Symphony, Ringling Bros Circus Band, NBC Production of Peter Pan Orchestra; Ice Capades Orchestra; New York Brass Quintet (sub); and most recently occupying the bass trombone chair in the Vermont Jazz Center Big Band.
Following completing of a doctorate in Educational Psychology in 1997, Doctor Tierney, (still the same ol’ Jack) began a series of professional engagements that took him from The Connecticut State Department of Education, visiting professor stints at UCONN and Mass College for the Liberal Arts; and, eventually landing him at a lovely little community college in Western Mass where he retired as Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of Human Development in 2012.
Not one to dawdle, Jack immediately established The Peaceful Educator Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit charity dedicated to promoting, through the arts, a peaceful, just, sustainable future for all humanity’s children. And, in pursuit of that mission, he composed and produced two major musicals: Peacemaker: The Dreams of Humanity’s Child, which premiered in Hartford 2016), Humanity’s Child: A Musical for Today, which received its New York Debut and 19 performances off-Broadway in 2019; and, currently, Humanity’s Child: Fear-Joy-Action-Vision-Misson in production.