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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2017

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley delivered a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2017, to introduce its production of Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking on Tuesday 7 November 2017.

Dr Wiley’s talk focussed on two principal issues, the portrayal of women in Così fan tutte and the work’s relationship with the genre of opera buffa, illustrated with a slideshow and audio excerpts. Held in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre adjacent to the main auditorium, it was attended by a large audience of some 150 opera-lovers.

A work well-known to Dr Wiley from his undergraduate teaching, he also discussed the opera’s historical background, characters and plot, and the ways in which its reception has changed over time, as well as the specific interpretation taken by Glyndebourne Tour in this revival of the 2006 production directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Dr Wiley has previously given pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne in 20162015, and 2014, mainly on operas by Mozart.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne Tour 2016

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mk-galleryDr Christopher Wiley has delivered two pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne Tour 2016, to preface its productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, on 8 and 9 November, respectively.

Both talks were delivered at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes prior to performances at the nearby Milton Keynes Theatre. Speaking to some 60 audience members, Dr Wiley introduced the plots and characters of the operas, their historical backgrounds, noteworthy features of the music (such as Puccini’s use of authentic Japanese tunes in the score of Madama Butterfly), and aspects of the interpretations taken by Glyndebourne’s productions.

Dr Wiley has previously given pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne in 2014 and 2015, but this is the first time that he has been invited to speak at Milton Keynes.

Update: Dr Wiley reprised his pre-performance talk on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly to some 60 opera-goers in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking on 30 November, by way of introduction to Glyndebourne’s production later that evening in the adjacent New Victoria Theatre.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2015

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley delivered a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2015, as a prelude to its production of Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, the tour’s final venue, on 1 December 2015.

Dr Wiley’s talk was held in the adjacent Rhoda McGaw Theatre, which was at capacity with some 200 opera-goers in attendance. Over the course of half an hour, Dr Wiley discussed the historical context of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, its extensive use of spoken dialogue, the virtuosic nature of some of its vocal writing, its orchestration and its portrayal of the East, as well as exploring aspects of Glyndebourne’s critically-acclaimed production.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which Mozart composed in 1781–2, holds a special place in Glyndebourne’s history: it was the work that brought its founder, John Christie, into contact with the soprano Audrey Mildmay, whom he subsequently married and who inspired the Glyndebourne Festival. This year’s production was the company’s seventh of the opera in its 80-year history.

The invitation for Dr Wiley to deliver this talk followed the success of his pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour in October 2014 on another Mozart opera, La finta giardiniera, and was similarly well-received.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2014

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley has given a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2014, to preface its production of Mozart’s opera La finta giardiniera in the New Victoria Theatre, Woking on 28 October 2014.

Speaking to an audience of over 100 opera-goers in the adjacent Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Dr Wiley endeavoured to enhance the audience’s experience and enjoyment of the evening’s performance by providing some contextual knowledge of the opera.

In the course of the half-hour talk, Dr Wiley explored the plot of La finta giardiniera, its historical background, and its significance within Mozart’s output, as well as drawing attention to noteworthy musical features and key aspects of Glyndebourne’s performance.

Mozart composed the score to his comic opera La finta giardiniera in 1774, at the age of 18. Glyndebourne’s acclaimed 2014 production was its first ever of this work.

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/