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Dr Christopher Wiley writes ‘Composer of the Month’ article on Ethel Smyth for Australia’s Limelight Magazine

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Dr Christopher Wiley has contributed an article on Ethel Smyth for the January/February 2020 issue of Limelight, Australia’s classical music and arts magazine, for its ‘Composer of the Month’ feature.

In the four-page article (pp. 76–79), Dr Wiley introduces Smyth to the readers, discussing her life story as well as drawing attention to salient features of her musical works.

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Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth for Byfleet Heritage Society

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St Mary's Centre for the CommunityDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled ‘Dame Ethel Smyth (1858–1944), Composer, Author, Suffragette, and Surrey Resident’ for Byfleet Heritage Society at St Mary’s Centre for the Community, Byfleet on Thursday 21 November 2019.

Speaking to an audience of some 50 society members, Dr Wiley introduced Smyth’s life, music, and connections to the local area, in a 50-minute talk illustrated with musical excerpts.

An acknowledged expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley has previously given many talks on the composer, writer, and suffragette including those for Woking Historical Society, Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group, and at Smyth’s childhood home in Frimley Green.

Dr Christopher Wiley co-writes essay in CD booklet for new Ethel Smyth recording

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FeteG_front_coverDr Christopher Wiley has co-written, with Dr Valerie Langfield, an essay published in the accompanying booklet to Retrospect Opera’s new CD of Ethel Smyth’s Fête Galante, entitled ‘Fête Galante: Ethel Smyth’s Neoclassical Dance-Opera’. He also contributed the work’s synopsis.

The disc represents the first recording of Smyth’s opera Fête Galante, conducted by Odaline de la Martinez. It also includes Liza Lehmann’s recitation The Happy Prince, recorded at the University of Surrey (Dr Wiley arranged and helped out with the recording sessions), together with some historical transfers of recordings of Smyth’s operas made during her lifetime.

This is the seventh CD release by Retrospect Opera, for whom Dr Wiley serves as one of four Trustees. Dr Wiley previously wrote essays for the liner notes to Retrospect Opera’s releases of Smyth’s operas The Boatswain’s Mate and The Wreckers.

For further information, and to buy the CD: https://retrospectopera.org.uk/SMYTH/FeteG.html

Full text

The full texts of both Dr Wiley’s synopsis and co-written essay are available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: https://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/853063/

Update: Dr Wiley has also co-written, with Lucy Stevens and Odaline de la Martinez, the liner notes for the CD Dame Ethel Smyth: Songs and Ballads (SOMM 2020), featuring Lucy Stevens (contralto), Elizabeth Marcus (piano), and the Berkeley Ensemble conducted by Odaline de la Martinez. Further information: https://www.somm-recordings.com/recording/dame-ethel-smyth-songs-and-ballads/

 

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper in the Faculty of Music Colloquium Series at the University of Cambridge

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University of Cambridge Faculty of MusicDr Christopher Wiley presented a 45-minute version of his paper ‘Reconsidering Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’ in the Faculty of Music Colloquium Series at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Wiley’s talk, given to an audience of some 40 academics and graduate students in the Faculty’s lecture room, was a much extended version of the paper he has delivered at women’s history events at UK universities including KentPortsmouthSurreyRoyal Holloway, and Edge Hill.

Dr Wiley previously gave an unrelated paper in an Oxbridge colloquium series in 2015.

Further information about Dr Wiley’s colloquium may be found here: https://www.mus.cam.ac.uk/events/current-events/Christopher-Wiley

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Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at community workshop at the University of Kent

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Dr Christopher Wiley at the University of Kent

Dr Christopher Wiley has spoken at the ‘100+ years of the women’s movement in Kent, Sussex, and Surrey’ community workshop held in the Tonbridge Centre at the University of Kent on Saturday 8 December 2018.

Dr Wiley’s paper, entitled ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, had previously been presented at UK universities including PortsmouthSurreyRoyal Holloway, and Edge Hill. The day ended, rather fittingly, with an impromptu rendition of Smyth’s ‘The March of the Women’.

The full programme for the workshop may be found at the following link: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/womenshistorykent/programme-of-community-workshop-on-8th-december/

Dr Christopher Wiley publishes two articles in Women’s History journal

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Dr Christopher Wiley has contributed two articles to the latest issue of Women’s History, the journal of the Women’s History Network.

The special double-issue, ‘1918-2018’, was dedicated to the women’s suffrage movement in the centenary year of women gaining the parliamentary vote in the UK, and features essays by a range of leading scholars of women’s history.

Dr Wileys first article, ‘Ethel Smyth, Suffrage and Surrey: From Frimley Green to Hook Heath, Woking’, combines women’s history and local history in order to illustrate how the suffragette campaign was highly dependent on rural locations through the example of Ethel Smyth.

His other article is ‘A Fresh Start and Two (More) Portraits: Theatrical Shows on the Life and Work of Ethel Smyth for 2018’, a review-article of Ethel Smyth: Grasp the Nettle and Ethel Smyth: A Furious Longing (the latter having been co-written by Dr Wiley).

Further information on the journal special issue is available here: https://womenshistorynetwork.org/womens-history-autumn-2018/

Bibliographic citations

Wiley, Christopher. ‘Ethel Smyth, Suffrage and Surrey: From Frimley Green to Hook Heath, Woking’, Women’s History: The Journal of the Women’s History Network, Vol. 2, No. 11 (Autumn 2018), pp. 11–18.

Wiley, Christopher. ‘A Fresh Start and Two (More) Portraits: Theatrical Shows on the Life and Work of Ethel Smyth for 2018’, Women’s History: The Journal of the Women’s History Network, Vol. 2, No. 11 (Autumn 2018), pp. 39–40.

Full texts

The full texts are available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/849970/ and http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/849971/

Dr Christopher Wiley writes programme notes for BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus concert

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The BarbicanDr Christopher Wiley has written programme notes for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus concert at The Barbican, London (pictured) on Thursday 15 November 2018.

Dr Wiley contributed programme notes for Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D as well as a biographical profile of the composer.

Dr Wiley previously wrote programme notes for a BBC Proms concert featuring Smyth’s music in August of this year.

The concert presented Smyth’s Mass in D alongside Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 (original version).

Further information on the event may be found here: https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2018/event/bbc-sobrabbins-ethel-smyth-mass-in-d

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-concert talk in Southwark Cathedral, London

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Southwark Cathedral Entrance

Dr Christopher Wiley has given a pre-concert talk on Ethel Smyth for a performance of the composer’s Mass in D in Southwark Cathedral, London (pictured) on Saturday 3 November 2018.

In the 15-minute talk, Dr Wiley addressed some 150 audience members in the Cathedral’s transepts.

The concert, by the London Oriana Choir and Meridian Sinfonia, presented Smyth’s Mass in D alongside J.S. Bach’s Magnificat.

The listing for the concert may be found here: https://www.londonoriana.com/past-performances

Further information on the concert is available here: https://www.planethugill.com/2018/10/ethel-smyths-mass-in-g-at-southwark.html

Dr Christopher Wiley serves as historical adviser and scriptwriter for community play on Ethel Smyth

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Ethel Smyth - A Furious LongingDr Christopher Wiley has acted as historical adviser as well as one of the team of scriptwriters for the community play Ethel Smyth: A Furious Longing – The Story of Woking’s Composer.

Several years in the planning, the play was performed by Woking Community Play Association from Thursday 4–Saturday 6 October 2018 at the H.G. Wells Centre, Woking.

Dr Wiley was one of five scriptwriters who collaborated on the 90-minute play, as well as advising on its historical and musical elements.

Dr Wiley’s contributions to the script drew directly on his research on Ethel Smyth, including her involvement with the suffragette movement, her operas The Wreckers and The Boatswain’s Mate, and her relationship with the writer Virginia Woolf.

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers presentation at Ethel Smyth’s childhood home

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr Christopher Wiley has given a talk on Ethel Smyth at her childhood home, Frimhurst Family House, Frimley Green, on Saturday 15 September 2018.

The event was organised for Heritage Open Days by Surrey Heath Museum and the charity ATD Fourth World, which now operates at Frimhurst Family House.

It marked the unveiling of blue plaques commemorating both Smyth and the philanthropist Grace Goodman, who transformed the house into its present function as recuperative facility for families in extreme poverty.

An acknowledged expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley previously gave a talk at Frimhurst Family House on the composer and suffragette back in 2016.

Further information on the event is available here: https://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/residents/surrey-heath-museum/museum-events/heritage-open-days-surrey-heath

Dr Christopher Wiley at the unveiling of the blue plaque to Ethel Smyth in Woking

Update: The following weekend, on Saturday 22 September, Dr Wiley attended a private ceremony (pictured, above) at which a blue plaque was unveiled at Smyth’s former house in Woking.

Dr Wiley’s interview about the event for That’s Surrey TV may be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiBN2ZXVPz0

Media coverage may also be found at the following link: http://surreyresidents.co.uk/2018/09/24/blue-plaque-marks-the-duchess-of-wokings-former-home/

As well as on Woking Borough Council’s website: https://www.woking.gov.uk/news/blue-plaque-marks-duchess-woking%E2%80%99s-former-home

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk for Heritage Open Days at Farnham Maltings

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Farnham MaltingsDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk on Ethel Smyth in the Cellar Bar at Farnham Maltings as part of the annual programme of Heritage Open Days on Friday 14 September 2018.

Speaking to an audience of over 50 people, Dr Wiley discussed Smyth’s music, literature, and activity as a suffragette, illustrating his presentation with music examples.

Further information about Dr Wiley’s talk may be found at the following link: https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/dame-ethel-smyth-composer-and-suffragette

Media coverage of the Heritage Open Days activities taking place in the local area may be viewed online here: http://www.farnhamherald.com/article.cfm?id=129364, http://www.farnhamherald.com/article.cfm?id=129629

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth for Woking History Society

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley gave a talk on Ethel Smyth for Woking History Society in The Gallery at Christ Church Woking on Monday 3 September 2018.

Addressing over 50 audience members, Dr Wiley’s hour-long presentation discussed Smyth’s activity as composer, author, suffragette, and, for the last several decades of her life, a Woking resident.

Dr Wiley previously spoke about Ethel Smyth at The Lightbox, Woking for International Women’s Day earlier in the year, as well as hosting and performing in a concert of Smyth’s music at Christ Church Woking in 2014, to mark the 70th anniversary of her death.

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at Women’s History Network annual conference at the University of Portsmouth

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Women's History Network logoDr Christopher Wiley was among the many speakers who presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the Women’s History Network, held at the University of Portsmouth on Friday 31 August–Saturday 1 September 2018.

Entitled ‘The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage: National and International Perspectives’, the conference attracted a large delegation of scholars of women’s history internationally.

Dr Wiley’s paper, ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, was presented in one of the conference’s parallel sessions to an audience of some 25 academics.

Dr Christopher Wiley at the University of Portsmouth

Dr Wiley considered the extent to which Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate might be considered a feminist opera, with reference to the composer’s suffragette activity, the story on which the work was based, and her creative process, including her adaptation of pre-existing music in the score.

Dr Wiley has presented previous versions of his paper at several other UK universities including Surrey, Royal Holloway, and Edge Hill.

The conference website is here: http://www2.port.ac.uk/centre-for-european-and-international-studies-research/events/womens-suffrage-2018/

The complete programme for the event is available for download here: http://www2.port.ac.uk/media/contacts-and-departments/ceisr/events/Suffrage-Conference-2018.pdf

Dr Christopher Wiley gives interview on Ethel Smyth for Swedish television

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Dr Christopher Wiley has been interviewed for Sveriges Television (SVT) as part of a mini-series of half-hour programmes focusing on orchestral music composed by women.

Interview with Swedish television

Talking about Ethel Smyth, Dr Wiley was filmed in conversation with the acclaimed Norwegian conductor, Cathrine Winnes.

Filming took place on Tuesday 28 August 2018 both in Dr Wiley’s office, and on location at Smyth’s former home in Woking.

This television appearance evidences Dr Wiley’s reputation as an internationally leading researcher on Smyth, and follows his previous interviews on Smyth for radio and television earlier in the year.

The television series is due to be broadcast in Sweden in early 2019.

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes programme notes to BBC Proms programme

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Royal Albert HallDr Christopher Wiley has contributed notes to the programme for The BBC Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London (pictured) on Wednesday 1 August 2018.

Prom 24, ‘A Hero’s Life’, presented Ethel Smyth’s ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ (Prelude to Act 2 of her opera The Wreckers), as well as Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor and Richard Strauss’s tone poem Ein Heldenleben.

As an internationally leading researcher on Ethel Smyth, Dr Wiley was invited to write programme notes for ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ as well as a brief biographical profile for the composer.

A regular fixture at The Proms during her own lifetime, Smyth’s ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ was programmed for the 2018 season mindful of the composer’s period of activity as a leading suffragette, in the centenary year of many women receiving the parliamentary vote in the UK for the first time.

Dr Christopher Wiley co-organizes and presents paper at international conference on women’s suffrage at the University of Surrey

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Dr Christopher Wiley and Dr Charlotte Mathieson open the conference (from Twitter)

Dr Christopher Wiley served as one of three conference co-chairs for the two-day international conference ‘Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts – Local : National : Transnational’ held at the University of Surrey on 29-30 June 2018, together with two colleagues from the University’s School of Literature and Languages, Dr Charlotte Mathieson (pictured with Dr Wiley, right) and Dr Lucy Ella Rose.

Panel discussion L-R Codee Spinner, Dr Amy Zigler, Dr Christopher Wiley (from Twitter)

The conference incorporated more than 25 papers including Dr Wiley’s own ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, which he had previously given at Edge Hill University earlier in the year. The panel on which he spoke, Women’s Suffrage in/and Music’, led to an animated question and answer session (pictured, left).

Roundtable discussion L-R Christopher Wiley, Kate Willoughby, Lucy Stevens, Jacqueline Mulhullan (from Twitter)

Dr Wiley also convened and participated in a roundtable discussion (pictured, right) featuring three professional actresses who have recently developed shows on themes of women’s suffrage, Jacqueline Mulhallen (Sylvia, based on Sylvia Pankhurst), Lucy Stevens (Grasp The Nettle, on Ethel Smyth), and Kate Willoughby (#Emilymatters, a social media campaign inspired by Emily Wilding Davison), all of whom performed extracts from their plays as part of the conference.

Dr Christopher Wiley introduces Keynote speaker Elizabeth Crawford, OBE (from Twitter)

Finally, Dr Wiley chaired a session on ‘Ethel Smyth, Suffrage, and Transnationality’, drawing on his reputation as an acknowledged expert on the composer, and was privileged to introduce Keynote speaker Elizabeth Crawford (pictured, left), who had been awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List earlier in the month for services to education in relation to women’s history.

The event attracted more than 40 delegates (pictured, below), with speakers ranging from University of Surrey academics and postgraduate researchers to museum-based archivists to international scholars from the UK, Continental Europe, and North America representing the disciplines of literature, music, film, and the visual arts.

The conference organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Surrey; The British Association for Victorian Studies; and The Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK & Ireland.

Further information may be found at the conference website: https://suffragecentennial.wordpress.com/

The full programme, including abstracts, is available here: https://suffragecentennial.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/suffrage-conference-programme-2018.pdf

Conference delegates waiting for the roundtable discussion to begin

Update: A news piece on the conference has appeared on the the University of Surrey’s website: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/surreys-centennial-reflection-womens-suffrage-and-arts

Several postgraduate research students have contributed reviews to the conference website: https://suffragecentennial.wordpress.com/reviews/

See also the reviews on the School of Literature and Language’s website: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/english/2018/08/02/looking-back-at-centennial-reflections-on-womens-suffrage-and-the-arts-local-national-transnational/

Update: An article co-authored by Dr Wiley and Dr Amy Zigler, entitled ‘The Suffragette Movement and the Music of Ethel Smyth: The String Quartet and The Boatswain’s Mate’, is available on the Exploring Surrey’s Past website: https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/womens-suffrage/suffrage-biographies/dame-ethel-smyth-composer-and-suffragette/the-suffragette-movement-and-the-music-of-ethel-smyth-the-string-quartet-and-the-boatswains-mate/

Dr Christopher Wiley gives paper on musical biography at Edinburgh Napier University

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EdNapUni_redDr Christopher Wiley has delivered a paper on musical biography at the ‘Music and Literature: Innovations, Intersections, and Interpretations’ conference hosted at Merchiston CampusEdinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland on 14-15 June 2018.

Entitled ‘Musical biography and the (non-)consonance of music and literature’, Dr Wiley’s paper revealed how biographical narratives might actually contradict the evidence of the music itself, or they may represent an appropriation of specific works for a given time and place, or function to promote them within wider reading communities who may otherwise be unfamiliar with that music.

Dr Wiley drew case studies from his wider research conducted over the years on musical biography, including the apocryphal story of Mozart’s Requiem, the earliest 12 volumes of the ‘Master Musicians’ series, and Ethel Smyth’s autobiographies. The two-day conference was attended by some 50 delegates.

Further information may be found at the conference website: https://musicandliteratureconference.wordpress.com/

The full programme for the event is available online here: https://musicandliteratureconference.wordpress.com/programme/

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Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at women’s suffrage conference at Royal Holloway, University of London

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largelondonrgbDr Christopher Wiley has addressed the ‘Education, College Women, and Suffrage: International Perspectives’ conference held at his alma mater, Royal Holloway, University of London, on 13–14 June 2018.

Dr Wiley’s paper, ‘Gender Studies and Multi-Disciplinary Teaching: A Case Study of Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement’, discussed the challenges presented by the delivery of tuition in gender studies within higher education contexts given the necessarily interdisciplinary nature of the field.

Presenting to an audience that itself encompassed a wide variety of different arts disciplines and educational backgrounds, Dr Wiley illustrated his arguments by drawing on his current research on the relationship between Ethel Smyth, her suffrage activity, and her opera The Boatswain’s Mate.

Organized by The Bedford Centre for the History of Women and Gender at Royal Holloway in conjunction with the Centre for the History of Women’s Education at the University of Winchester, the two-day conference attracted some 60 delegates.

Further information is available at the conference website: https://educationcollegewomenandsuffrage.wordpress.com/

The full programme may be viewed online here: https://educationcollegewomenandsuffrage.wordpress.com/programme/

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth for Surrey Local History Symposium at Surrey History Centre

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Surrey History CentreDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled Dame Ethel Smyth, Ground-breaking Composer, Writer, and Suffragette’ at the Annual Symposium of Surrey Local History Committee on Saturday 21 April 2018.

The one-day symposium, whose theme was The Changing Role of Women’, featured presentations from five speakers who work in areas of local history. Organized by a committee of Surrey Archaeological Society, the event was held at Surrey History Centre, Woking, and attracted around 40 audience members from across the county.

In addition to his internationally recognized academic research, Dr Wiley has previously spoken on Ethel Smyth at a range of local history events in the Surrey area, including talks at The Lightbox, Woking, The Guildford Institute, and at Smyth’s childhood home in Frimley Green.

The programme for the Surrey Local History Symposium is available at the following links:

Surrey History Centre – https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/heritage-culture-and-recreation/archives-and-history/surrey-history-centre/heritage-events

Surrey Archeological Society – https://www.surreyarchaeology.org.uk/content/changing-role-of-women-surrey-local-history-symposium

Celebrate Woking – https://www.celebratewoking.info/events/annual-symposium-changing-role-of-women

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes Foreword to CD booklet for re-issued recording of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers

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The Wreckers booklet front coverRetrospect Opera’s re-release of the Conifer Classics recording of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers includes a newly written Foreword by Dr Christopher Wiley in the accompanying CD booklet.

The 2-CD set is a live recording of the performance at The Proms in 1994 with the Huddersfield Choral Society and the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by leading Smyth interpreter Odaline de la Martinez.

An acknowledged expert on Ethel Smyth, Dr Wiley is one of the four-strong team of academics at Retrospect Opera, whose debut release, the first complete modern recording of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, also included an essay by Dr Wiley for the CD liner notes.

The CD of The Wreckers is available direct from Retrospect Opera at the following link: http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/CD_SALES/CD_Sales_Wreckers.html

Full text

The full text of Dr Wiley’s Foreword is available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/842086/

Dr Christopher Wiley gives interview on Ethel Smyth for Pyrford TV ARTS

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Dr Christopher Wiley at Woking Golf Club

Dr Christopher Wiley is featured in an eight-minute segment for the Spring Edition 2018 of Pyrford TV ARTS, on Woking’s famous former resident, Dame Ethel Smyth.

Speaking to presenter Tim Matthews (see picture), Dr Wiley discussed Smyth’s activity as composer, author, and suffragette, as well as her passion for sports including golf.

The eight-minute segment was filmed at Woking Golf Club in Hook Heath, near Woking, of which Smyth was a member for many years. So keen was she on the sport that she had her house built adjacent to the golf course, where she lived from 1910 until her death in 1944.

Pyrford TV ARTS produces 20-minute programmes several times a year, featuring the arts and creative worlds of Pyrford, Woking, and North Surrey. The segment on Smyth was included to tie in with the centenary of women’s enfranchisement in the UK, which falls this year.

The segment on Ethel Smyth is available for viewing online here: https://vimeo.com/262660959

The full 23-minute programme may be viewed here (the segment on Smyth starts at 09:18): https://youtu.be/fFAuVmbmmPw

The programme is also available at the Pyrford TV ARTS website: https://www.pyrfordtvarts.com/

In addition, it is featured on the webpage of the Woking Remembers 2018 programme, part of the Celebrate Woking festival: https://www.celebratewoking.info/woking-remembers

Credits: Pyrford TV (video); Surrey History Centre (images); Retrospect Opera (musical excerpt from Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate)

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers public talk on Ethel Smyth for International Women’s Day 2018

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Dr Christopher Wiley at The LightboxDr Christopher Wiley has delivered a public talk on Dame Ethel Smyth at The Lightbox, Woking for International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March) 2018.

Addressing an audience of over 80 members of the public in The Lightbox’s Ambassador Room, Dr Wiley (pictured, left) spoke about Smyth’s life, music, and prose writings, with particular emphasis on her connections to Woking (her town of residence for over 30 years at the end of her life) and the surrounding area.

Dr Wiley also addressed the extent to which Smyth broke new ground for women both within and beyond the field of music composition, discussing her activity as a leading suffragette in the early 1910s as well as her war service, mindful of this year’s centenaries of women’s partial enfranchisement in the UK and of the end of the First World War.

A recognized expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley is frequently invited to give public lectures on the composer and writer, including recent appearances at The Guildford Institute and Frimhurst, Frimley Green (Smyth’s childhood home). This was the first of his several talks in the Surrey area this year, as well as one of a number of events commemorating Smyth for the Celebrate Woking Festival 2018.

Further information on Dr Wiley’s talk may be found here: https://www.thelightbox.org.uk/Event/ethel-smyth-composer-suffragette

The previous day, Dr Wiley had given an interview on Ethel Smyth at Woking Golf Club for an episode of Pyrford TV ARTS due to be released online in April.

 

Dr Christopher Wiley addresses interdisciplinary Suffragette Symposium at Edge Hill University

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Dr Christopher Wiley - Edge Hill University - Suffragette SymposiumDr Christopher Wiley has spoken at the Suffragette Symposium hosted by the interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Group (GenSex) at Edge Hill University on Wednesday 28 February 2018.

His paper subjected to renewed critical scrutiny the claim that Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, composed following her two years’ service as a suffragette in the 1910s, constitutes a ‘feminist opera’.

The presentation, entitled ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, explored the work’s refashioning of pre-existing music including two of Smyth’s suffrage songs used in its Overture, as well as a range of adaptations of traditional music.

Addressing an audience of some 35 delegates comprising both academics and members of the public, Dr Wiley also discussed the opera’s indebtedness to the short story by W.W. Jacobs on which it is based, and made consideration of Smyth’s creative process as documented in contemporaneous correspondence with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Edge Hill University shieldFurther information on the Suffragette Symposium may be viewed online: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/gensex/

The full programme is available here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Symposium-Programme.pdf

Speaker biographies and abstracts may be found at the following link: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Panel-Bios.docx.pdf

 

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes to media discourse on the UK centenary of women’s enfranchisement

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Dr Christopher Wiley - photo from Get SurreyDr Christopher Wiley has given expert comment to the media on the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which granted the vote to over 8 million women in the UK for the first time.

Coverage of Dr Wiley focussed on his research on Ethel Smyth, who, in addition to being an internationally successful composer, was active for two years as a leading suffragette in the early 1910s, developing a close friendship with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Together with a University of Surrey colleague, Dr Lucy Ella Rose, a leading expert on the suffragist Mary Watts and author of Suffrage Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word, and Image, Dr Wiley gave a live interview on BBC Radio Surrey for the ‘Breakfast on BBC Surrey’ show hosted by James Cannon and Lesley McCabe on Tuesday 6 February 2018.

Dr Wiley was also featured alongside Dr Rose in an article in Get Surrey, ‘Suffragette Vote 100 anniversary: University celebrates two Surrey women who were highly influential during the suffrage movement’, by Shona Duthie and Hannah Dodd.

The online Get Surrey article includes a video in which both academics give interviews on their respective research subjects, with Dr Wiley performing Smyth’s famous suffragette anthem, ‘The March of the Women’, on piano.

The full Get Surrey article, including video, may be viewed here: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/suffragette-vote-100-anniversary-university-14249832

The BBC Radio Surrey live interview may be heard here: https://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=7180&DateTime=2%2F6%2F2018+8%3A52%3A52+AM&Term=University+of+Surrey&PlayClip=TRUE

The live interview is also available on BBC iPlayer (listen from 2:52:11): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vm2m4

Ethel Smyth - Darling magazine Spring 2018 pp.12-13

Update: A text on Ethel Smyth contributed by invitation by Dr Wiley has been printed in the North Surrey edition of darling magazine for Spring 2018 (see image above). It may be viewed online here (see pp. 12–13): https://issuu.com/darlingmagazine/docs/darling-north_surrey-spring_2018

An article on Smyth written by Dr Wiley, ‘Dame Ethel Smyth: Remembering a Pathbreaking Artist, Suffragette, and Lesbian’, has appeared on the LGBT History Month website here: https://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/lgbt-history-month-resources/desarticle2018/

Dr Christopher Wiley leads post-show discussion on the suffragette movement at Cranleigh Arts Centre

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Jacqueline Mulhallen as Sylvia PankhurstDr Christopher Wiley addressed an audience of theatre-goers on Ethel Smyth as part of a post-show discussion following the one-woman play Sylvia, presented by Lynx Theatre and Poetry at Cranleigh Arts Centre, Surrey on the evening of Friday 26 May 2017.

The main performance, a theatrical production based on Sylvia Pankhurst’s life, activity as a painter, and service to the suffragette movement, was performed by professional actress Jacqueline Mulhallen (pictured, as Pankhurst) having been developed from original research.

After a brief interval, the post-show discussion led with Dr Wiley’s talk on Smyth, following which the audience were able to put questions to Dr Wiley and the creators of Sylvia, and to engage in further general conversation on women’s suffrage.

Internationally acknowledged for his substantial contribution to scholarship on Smyth across the past 15 years, Dr Wiley has more recently acquired a reputation as a local historian, many of the audience members already being familiar with his work on the Surrey-based composer, writer, and suffragette.

Further information about the event is available here: http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=CRAN&organ_val=40629&pid=8410211

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at Collaborating Couples conference at the University of Bristol

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Dr Christopher Wiley presented a paper at a two-day international conference entitled ‘Beyond Genius and Muse – Collaborating Couples in Twentieth-Century Arts’, held at the Victoria Rooms, University of Bristol on 18–19 April 2017.

Dr Wiley’s paper, Subject and Countersubject: The Prevalence of the Genius and the Muse in Musical Biography’, explored the pattern of collaborating couples that has emerged historically in musical biography, drawing on examples including Brahms and Clara Schumann, Ethel Smyth and Henry Brewster, Britten and Peter Pears, and Adele.

It built upon Dr Wiley’s previous scholarship conducted in this area across more than 10 years, of which the most recent output, his book chapter ‘Musical Biography and the Myth of the Muse’, was published in 2015.

The conference brought together some 50 academics from across Europe and the US, encompassing a range of topics in music, literature, and the visual arts.

Further information is available at the conference website: https://collaboratingcouples.wordpress.com/

Victoria Rooms

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled ‘Ethel Smyth’s (feminist?) opera, The Boatswain’s Mate at the Millmead Centre, Guildford on 27 February 2017, for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group.

The Boatswain’s Mate was the fourth of six operas composed by Smyth (who suffered from distorted hearing and deafness for the last several decades of her life), and was the most popular and most frequently performed during her own lifetime. It was recently released in its first complete modern recording by Retrospect Opera (of which Dr Wiley is a part).

An acknowledged expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley provided an outline of the circumstances of the composition of The Boatswain’s Mate, its plot, and interesting features of the music. He also discussed the extent to which the work constitutes a ‘feminist opera’, as has previously been suggested.

This is the second time that Dr Wiley has addressed Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group, having delivered a presentation on Smyth’s life and works two years ago in January 2015. Dr Wiley has also recently given talks on Smyth at The Guildford Institute and at the composer’s childhood home in Frimley Green.

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers talk on Ethel Smyth at The Guildford Institute

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Dr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled ‘Dame Ethel Smyth, Groundbreaking Composer, Writer, and Suffragette’ at The Guildford Institute, Guildford on Wednesday 18 January 2017.

Speaking to a capacity audience of 70 in the Institute’s Assembly Room, Dr Wiley outlined Smyth’s significance to music, literature, and women’s suffrage, as well as her local connections to Surrey, illustrating his talk with excerpts from a variety of her works.

An acknowledged expert on the subject, Dr Wiley has recently given several talks on Ethel Smyth in the local area, including one at Smyth’s childhood home in Frimley Green, Surrey last September.

Further information on the event is available on The Guildford Institute’s website: http://guildford-institute.org.uk/whats-on2/dame-ethel-smyth-groundbreaking-composer-writer-and-suffragette/

the-guildford-institute

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk at Ethel Smyth’s childhood home

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dr-christopher-wiley-gives-talk-on-ethel-smyth-at-frimhurst-family-houseDr Christopher Wiley gave a talk entitled ‘Ethel Smyth: Composer, Author, Suffragette, and Surrey Resident’, at Frimhurst Family House, Frimley Green (Ethel Smyth’s childhood home), on 11 September 2016.

Dr Wiley addressed an audience of some 50 members of the public during an event celebrating Ethel Smyth, part of the ‘Century of Sound’ Festival organised annually by Surrey Heath Borough. The full programme for the Festival is available here: http://www.centuryofsound.co.uk/event-programme.

Other features of the afternoon event included included performances of Smyths solo piano music by Dr Maureen Galea and of some of her songs by the Surrey Heath Singers, as well as a tour of the premises and a talk about the work of the charity ATD Fourth World, which now operates at Frimhurst Family House.

The event was jointly organised by Surrey Heath Museum, the University of Surrey, and ATD Fourth World.

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes essay to CD booklet for newly released Ethel Smyth recording

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The Boatswain's Mate - CD front coverRetrospect Opera’s newly released CD of Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate, the first complete modern recording of the work, includes an essay by Dr Christopher Wiley in the accompanying booklet.

The recording appears in the centenary year of Smyth’s comic opera, which premiered on 28 January 1916 at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London. It features singers Nadine Benjamin, Edward Lee, and Jeremy Huw Williams in the principal roles, accompanied by the Lontano Ensemble conducted by pioneering Smyth interpreter Odaline de la Martinez.

Dr Wiley is acknowledged as an academic expert on Ethel Smyth, with recent research activity including publication of a major journal article, a score preface, and promoting Smyth’s music in concert, in addition to giving several public lectures on the composer. His essay The Boatswain’s Mate in the context of Smyth’s life and works’ appears in the CD booklet alongside contributions by Odaline de la Martinez and Retrospect Opera’s Professor David Chandler.

The CD is available direct from Retrospect Opera at the following link: http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/CD_Sales.html

It may also be ordered through Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boatswains-Mate-Ethel-Smyth/dp/B01HIJX83Q/

Full text

The full text of Dr Wiley’s essay is available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/811593/

Dr Christopher Wiley writes preface for new publication of Ethel Smyth study score

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Smyth, Variations on Bonny Sweet RobinDr Christopher Wiley has contributed a preface to a republication of an Ethel Smyth work – the Variations on Bonny Sweet Robin (Ophelia’s Song) for flute, oboe, and piano – as a study score.

The republication was one of the new releases for November 2015 by the publisher Musikproduktion Hoeflich. The score and parts are available to purchase for €16 from the publisher’s website here: https://repertoire-explorer.musikmph.de/product/smyth-ethel-3/

The complete text of Dr Wiley’s preface may be read in both English and in German translation (by Anke Westermann) here: https://repertoire-explorer.musikmph.de/wp-content/uploads/vorworte_prefaces/1724.html

Dr Wiley, who is recognised as a leading researcher on Ethel Smyth, has also promoted her music as a performer, including the Variations on Bonny Sweet Robin which featured as part of a commemorative recital of Smyth’s music on the 70th anniversary of her death in May 2014.

Bibliographic citation 

Wiley, Christopher. Preface for Study Score of Ethel Smyth, Variations on Bonny Sweet Robin (Ophelia’s Song). Munich: Musikproduktion Hoeflich, 2015. Available online at <https://repertoire-explorer.musikmph.de/wp-content/uploads/vorworte_prefaces/1724.html>.

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes book chapter to new volume on music historiography

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Critical Music Historiography: Probing Canons, Ideologies and InstitutionsAn essay written by Dr Christopher Wiley, entitled ‘Musical Biography and the Myth of the Muse’, has appeared as the final chapter of a new anthology in which 17 international musicologists subject the writing of music history to groundbreaking scrutiny.

Critical Music Historiography: Probing Canons, Ideologies and Institutions is edited by Vesa Kurkela and Markus Mantere, and developed from the Radical Music History Symposium held at the Sibelius Academy, Finland (now part of the University of the Arts Helsinki) in December 2011, at which Dr Wiley presented a paper.

Dr Wiley’s essay explores the pattern in musical biography of specific female characters being cast in the role of ‘muse’ to a male genius, rising to prominence at specific points in that person’s life story as a signifier of their productivity and increasing artistic powers. Such women were thereby portrayed as having inspired their associated composer to greater heights, while implicitly denied the possibility of undertaking analogous creative activity themselves.

Further information

Listing of the volume on the publisher’s website: http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&title_id=19817&edition_id=1209349954&calcTitle=1

Listing of the volume on amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Critical-Music-Historiography-Ideologies-Institutions/dp/1472414195/

Bibliographic citation

Wiley, Christopher. ‘Musical Biography and the Myth of the Muse’, in Vesa Kurkela and Markus Mantere eds. Critical Music Historiography: Probing Canons, Ideologies and Institutions. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, pp. 251–61.

Full text

The full text is available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/803216/

 

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Dame Ethel Smyth for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley presented a talk entitled ‘The Composer Dame Ethel Smyth and her Deafness’ at the Millmead Centre, Guildford on 26 January 2015, for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group.

Smyth, who was active as composer, writer, and suffragette, was afflicted by distorted hearing and deafness for the last several decades of her life, particularly from the later 1910s until her death in 1944.

An acknowledged expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley has previously given public talks on the artist at the University of Surrey and The Women’s Library, London, as well as writing for the OUP Blog and organizing a recital of Smyth’s music to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her death last year.

Dr Christopher Wiley participates in People’s Questions for Universities Week 2014

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Universities Week 2014Dr Christopher Wiley was among the researchers and academics who took questions from members of the public via Twitter as part of Universities Week 2014.

Using the hashtag #PeoplesQs, Dr Wiley took questions about his research on the music of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and on Dame Ethel Smyth, as well as on challenges faced by music education today.

A round-up of the week’s activity from University of Surrey academic staff may be viewed here: https://storify.com/UniOfSurrey/universities-week-2014 (click on the ‘Read next page’ button for some details of Dr Wiley’s contribution)

The complete list of panellists is available here: http://www.universitiesweek.org.uk/stories/Pages/PeoplesQs.asp

Twitter - People's Questions

 

Dr Christopher Wiley writes on Dame Ethel Smyth for the OUP Blog

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley has contributed a text to the OUPblog, Oxford University Presss Academic Insights for the Thinking World, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the death of Dame Ethel Smyth, the pioneering composer and writer, on 8 May 1944.

Dr Wiley’s 1,000-word post, ‘Five facts about Dame Ethel Smyth’, may be read here: http://blog.oup.com/2014/05/facts-dame-ethel-smyth/

This blog entry follows Dr Wiley’s article on Smyth published in Oxford journal The Musical Quarterly last year.

To mark the anniversary, Dr Wiley also organized a lunchtime recital of Smyth’s music which took plan on 8 May 2014 in Woking, the town where she was resident from 1910 until her death.

Update: Dr Wiley’s blog entry was subsequently selected as one of the Editor’s Picks, appearing on the front page of the OUPblog for some weeks.

Dr Christopher Wiley leads recital of the music of Dame Ethel Smyth on the 70th anniversary of her death

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Christ Church WokingDr Christopher Wiley organized a recital of the music of Dame Ethel Smyth, given at Christ Church Woking by staff and students of the School of Arts at the University of Surrey, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the composer’s death in Hook Heath, near Woking on 8 May 1944.

The one-hour lunchtime recital of chamber, vocal, and solo keyboard works featured pianists Maureen Galea and Margaret Roberts, Isabella Stocchetti (flute), and Christopher Wiley (oboe, organ), as well as members of the University Chamber Choir. The full programme was as follows:

  • Two Interlinked French Folk Melodies (1928, from the opera Entente cordiale) for flute, oboe, and piano (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Aus der Jugendzeit!! E. v. H. (c.1878–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Nocturne (Kanon in Gegenbewegung) (c.1877–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • ‘O Gott du frommer Gott’ and Canon on ‘O Gott du frommer Gott’ (Nos. IIa & IIb from Short Choral Preludes, c.1882–4) (Christopher Wiley, organ)
  • Piano Suite in E major (c.1877–1880) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Variations on Bonny Sweet Robin (Ophelia’s Song) (1928) (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Overture to the opera The Boatswain’s Mate, Piano transcription (1913–14) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • ‘Laggard Dawn’ and ‘The March of the Women’ (Nos. 1 & 3 from Songs of Sunrise, 1910) (University Chamber Choir, dir. Isabella Stocchetti; Maureen Galea, piano)

Dr Wiley, who has been conducting research on Ethel Smyth for over a decade, also gave spoken introductions to each piece, and Surrey History Centre provided their ‘Musical Passions’ exhibition celebrating Smyth’s life.

Attended by some 50 audience members, this commemoration followed the Ethel Smyth Symposium hosted at the University in February of this year.

Update: The event was favourably reviewed by Sebastian Forbes, who wrote that ‘Senior lecturer Christopher Wiley, who has done much research into Smyth, not only devised and introduced the concert but also, very expertly, played oboe and organ.’

The review is available here: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/arts/2014/05/12/celebrating-the-life-and-work-of-dame-ethel-smythe-concert-at-christ-church-woking/

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper on musical biography at Monash University, Melbourne

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Dr Christopher Wiley was among the speakers who presented at the ‘Words About Music’ conference held at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia on 12 April 2014.

Dr Wiley’s paper, ‘Music and (or?) Musical Biography’, examined aspects of the complex relationship between the life and the works in a range of composer biographies. Using case studies drawn from several different areas of his wider research – including the celebrated story of Mozart’s Requiem, the original volumes of the ‘Master Musicians’ series, and the autobiographical writings of Ethel Smyth – Dr Wiley illustrated how biographical narrative may shed much direct light on the music, or very little, or may even present a contradictory perspective from that evident from the score itself.

Held at Monash University Law Chambers, the international conference brought together scholars from across Australia and the UK, representing a range of disciplines including musicology, literature, history, and sociology.

Monash University logo

Ethel Smyth Symposium at the University of Surrey features Dr Christopher Wiley as speaker and performer

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Dr Christopher Wiley addresses Ethel Smyth SymposiumDr Christopher Wiley contributed to a Symposium dedicated to Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), the Surrey-based composer and writer also noted for her suffrage activity in the early 1910s, which was held in the Performing Arts Technology Studios at the University of Surrey on 19 February. This was the University’s first ever event for LGBT History Month, for which Smyth was named as one of the faces of the 2014 theme of Music.

Introduced by Professor Diane Watt, Head of the University’s School of English and Languages, the Symposium commenced with a talk by Dr Wiley entitled ‘Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944): In Search of a Lesbian Identity in Music and Literature’, in which he discussed possible ways of interpreting Smyth’s artistic output as reflecting her sexual identity and feminist sensibilities, with musical illustrations provided by Maureen Galea (piano) and the University Chamber Choir. 

A drinks reception followed the talk, during which audience members were able to view the ‘Musical Passions’ exhibition celebrating the life of Ethel Smyth, provided courtesy of Surrey History Centre.

Drinks Reception at Ethel Smyth Symposium

The Symposium closed with a concert of solo, chamber, and vocal works by Ethel Smyth, featuring staff and students of the University including pianists Maureen Galea and Margaret Roberts, Isabella Stocchetti (flute), and Christopher Wiley (oboe), as well as the University Chamber Choir. Highlights included a performance of Smyth’s Violin Sonata with guest artist Sophie Langdon and the Head of Performance, Professor Clive Williamson. The full programme was as follows:

  • Two Interlinked French Folk Melodies (1928, from the opera Entente cordiale) for flute, oboe, and piano (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Aus der Jugendzeit!! E. v. H. (c.1878–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Ethel Smyth TrioNocturne (Kanon in Gegenbewegung) (c.1877–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor, Op. 7 (1877) (Sophie Langdon, violin; Clive Williamson, piano)
  • Variations on Bonny Sweet Robin (Ophelia’s Song) (1928) (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Overture to the opera The Boatswain’s Mate, Piano transcription (1913–14) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • ‘Laggard Dawn’ and ‘The March of the Women’ (Nos. 1 & 3 from Songs of Sunrise, 1910) (University Chamber Choir, cond. Isabella Stocchetti, dir. Russell Keable; Maureen Galea, piano)

Audience at Ethel Smyth SymposiumThe Symposium was held in association with the University of Surrey Equality and Diversity, the School of Arts, the School of English and Languages, LGBT History Month, and Surrey History Centre. Both the talk and the concert were attended by around 50 people, including staff and students of the University and external visitors.

Further information

Event website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/arts/music/events/ethel_smyth.htm
Poster: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/LGBT-History-Month-Final-2014-21-01-14.pdf
Surrey History Centre: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/lgbt-2014/

Update

An academic response to Dr Wiley’s talk, ‘Musical Inversions: Ethel Smyth’ by Dr Heike Bauer (Birkbeck University of London), appeared on the blog A Violent World of Difference on 21 February 2014: http://violentworldofdifference.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/21-feb-2014-musical-inversions-ethel-smyth/

Dr Christopher Wiley presents research seminar at the University of Surrey

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Ethel Smyth and Virginia Woolf (R-L)Dr Christopher Wiley presented a research seminar based on his paper ‘Music and Literature: Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and “The First Woman to Write an Opera”’ at a research seminar hosted by the School of Arts at the University of Surrey on 20 November 2013.

Dr Wiley joined the University of Surrey in September 2013 following a nine-year tenure at City University London. One aspect of his research concerns the intellectual dialogue between Ethel Smyth and Virginia Woolf (pictured, R-L). The article on which his paper is based is being published in the refereed journal The Musical Quarterly.

Dr Christopher Wiley publishes major article in The Musical Quarterly

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The Musical Quarterly Volume 96 Issue 2A major article by Dr Christopher Wiley, ‘Music and Literature: Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and “The First Woman to Write an Opera”’ (doi: 10.1093/musqtl/gdt012), has been published in The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 96.

Dr Wiley’s article calls into question the impression of the extent of women’s contributions to music composition given by Smyth’s published literature. He examines the traces of revisionism evident between her earlier and later prose writings, asking whether Smyth may have sought to present herself as essentially unique given her status as a female composer. Dr Wiley also explores the differences between music and literature as professions to which creative women aspired in the early twentieth century, with reference to Smyth’s Female Pipings in Eden and Woolf’s Three Guineas.

Founded in 1915 and published by Oxford University Press, The Musical Quarterly has long been cited as the foremost scholarly musical journal in the United States.

Bibliographic citation

Wiley, Christopher. ‘Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and “The First Woman to Write an Opera”’, The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Summer 2013), pp. 263–95. doi: 10.1093/musqtl/gdt012

Full text

The full text is available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/800523/

Update: Dr Wiley’s article reached no.1 in The Musical Quarterly’s monthly ranking of most-read articles (based on full-text and PDF views) throughout the final quarter of 2014, and continued to hold the top spot at the start of 2015. http://mq.oxfordjournals.org/reports/most-read

Dr Christopher Wiley writes for The Conversation UK

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Anti-gay prejudice protestDr Christopher Wiley has contributed an article to The Conversation UK, reflecting on aspects of Stephen Fry’s open letter on Russia’s controversial new anti-gay laws (which called for a ban on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi) from his own perspective as musicologist, scholar, and teacher.

One claim that Fry made in his letter about the potential consequences of exploring Tchaikovsky’s sexuality and its relationship to his life and work under Russia’s controversial new legislation prompted Dr Wiley to reconsider elements of his own research on musical biography, not just on Tchaikovsky but also on Britten and Ethel Smyth.

Published on 12 August 2013 shortly after Fry’s letter went viral, Dr Wiley’s article, ‘Academics should stand with Fry against anti-gay Russia’, broke new ground for The Conversation UK for its content. It soon received thousands of views, helped in part by a mention by Fry himself on Twitter three days after it originally appeared.

Stephen Fry - Twitter feed

The Conversation UK is an independent news and commentary website offering in-depth analysis, research, news, and ideas from academics and researchers, and has received over 300,000 visitors since its launch three months ago. Modelled on its successful Australian counterpart, its founding partners comprise 13 UK universities including City University London and the University of Surrey.

Sandi Toksvig, Dr Christopher Wiley, and Velvet Fist at The Women’s Library, London – Tuesday 27 September, 18:30-20.00

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Sandi Toksvig
Dr Christopher Wiley
appeared alongside writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig at The Women’s Library, London on Tuesday 27 September, providing an introduction to the life, works, and suffrage activity of Ethel Smyth.

Dr Wiley has been researching and writing on Ethel Smyth for over a decade, including a groundbreaking article on Smyth’s intellectual relationship with Virginia Woolf, published in one of the UK’s foremost journals of musicology, Music and Letters.

The event, entitled ‘Shout! Shout! Up With Your Song!’, commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Smyth’s celebrated suffragette anthem ‘March of the Women’, and also featured a recital by the acclaimed a capella feminist choir Velvet Fist.

The flier for the event is available for download here.