Quartet: How Four Women Changed The Musical World - 'Magnificent' (Kate Mosse)

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Quartet: How Four Women Changed The Musical World - 'Magnificent' (Kate Mosse)

Quartet: How Four Women Changed The Musical World - 'Magnificent' (Kate Mosse)

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Although Broad is a passionate advocate for these women’s music, convincingly arguing that it should be heard far more, she never really explains how her chosen women might have changed their or our musical worlds – or even what changing the musical world might mean. Given the book’s title, this is a fundamental flaw. Ifthis sounds like a book for classical music buffs, it isn't. If it sounds rather worthy, again, trust me, it isn't... It's fast-paced, engaging, and an absolute riotat times. I laughed out loud... Quartetis a fascinating and compellingread but, just as importantly, a hugely enjoyableone. Some are given a brief mention – Maconchy, Lutyens and Williams are described as “a new, young group of modernist women composers”. But “modernist” seems to have negative connotations for Broad who contrasts Howell’s 1947 violin sonata with “the brutal modernist music being written by so many of her contemporaries”. I am a music historian working on music in the twentieth century. All my work focuses on unfamiliar histories. I’m fascinated by the people and music who are at the margins of histories about Western Art Music. Currently, my research is focused on women composers in twentieth century Britain. I’m working particularly on four composers — Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell, and Doreen Carwithen. The project establishes their relative significance in their lifetimes, explores how this changes our narratives about British music of this period, and looks at how their music has been received since their death. They are the focus of my first book, Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World, published by Faber and Faber in 2023.

The first, Ethel Smyth, is the most familiar thanks partly to the fact that her life makes such a good story. A tweed-suited, cigar-puffing suffragette whose lovers included Emmeline Pankhurst and Virginia Woolf, she courted ridicule from the all-male musical establishment – “the Machine”, as she called it – yet self-promotion brought her considerable success: her opera Der Wald was, in 1903, the first by a woman to be performed at the august Metropolitan Opera in New York (and the only one until Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin in 2016). The scene of Smyth in Holloway prison conducting her fellow suffragette inmates with a toothbrush as they paraded around the prison yard has been recounted many times before, but Broad goes far beyond that here: the tenderness of her letters, and the mixture of rash temper and tenacity with which she bore her disappointments, reveal a still more intriguing character. Ideas: Beethoven’s Scowl on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), 22 Sept. 2020 (Guest academic in discussion about Beethoven’s impact on music history)

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A new kind of music biography, one embellished with intimate detail and nuance not found in the hagiographies of male composers written by men... it makes for captivating reading. Female “voices” and Feminism’, The Cambridge Companion to Women Composers ed. Susan Wollenberg & Matthew Head (Cambridge University Press), forthcoming

I teach music history, music analysis, and musical thought and scholarship. Within these areas I focus particularly on music and gender, and musical multimedia.BBC Proms Talks, Aug. 2018 & 2019 (Broadcast pre-concert talks on works by Outi Tarkiainin, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, and Sibelius) If you do nothing, you will be auto-enrolled in our premium digital monthly subscription plan and retain complete access for 65 € per month. This was the question that, nearly a decade later, led me to write Quartet. There are so many phenomenal pieces that are still very little-known now, and the thing that links all of them is the gender of their composer. These women deserve to be known and for their music to be heard. I completed my thesis on theatre music at Christ Church, where I was a lecturer from 2016-2019. Research communication forms a large part of my work - I was a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker in 2016, and I won the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism in 2015 for an article on Sibelius, one of the composers whose music I research. Undergraduate Teaching

A graduate of New York’s Juilliard School, Nicola held a Fulbright Scholarship to study with Joseph Kalichstein. She previously studied in London with Danielle Salamon, and then with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was subsequently awarded a Fellowship and then nominated an Associate of the Academy. BBC Radio Oxford, 29 Jan. & 1 Aug. 2019 (Introductions to classical music, comparing composers and biscuits) Quartet by music historian Leah Broad is a group biography of four female classical musicians and composers — Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell and Doreen Carwithen — whose combined lives spanned 150 years from the 1850s to the early 2000s. All four were hugely talented and famous in their day, yet have been all but written out of musical histories which focus on their male contemporaries like Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten; to the extent they are included, they’re reduced to muses and footnotes. Quartet serves to remind us that music was never exclusively a man’s world, and that, ‘if we choose it, music histories could be filled with the notes of surprising, exciting and delightfully difficult women. It’s time their stories were told.’Rebecca Clarke (b.1886):This talented violist and Pre-Raphaelite beauty was one of the first women hired by a professional orchestra in London, later celebrated for her modernist experimentation. Due to be published in Spring 2023, Quartet will be a radical feminist history of four ‘trailblazing’ women composers.

Music history after 1750, music & gender, theatre music, British music, Nordic music, women in music, music analysis. Research InterestsMusic Matters, BBC Radio 3, 4 Mar. 2023 (Live International Women's Day coverage, discussing Quartet) MIRANDA SEYMOUR The characters are fascinating, the composition is brilliant: a finely developed musical quartet in literary form.

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