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Leah Broad

Tuesday 28th March 2023

First Floor, Topping & Company Booksellers of Ely, 9 High Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 4LJ
Doors Open
Start Time
Broad combined

Leah Broad's wonderful Quartet explores the lives, loves, adventures, and trailblazing musical careers of four extraordinary women.

Ethel Smyth (b.1858): Famed for her operas, this trailblazing queer Victorian composer was a larger-than-life socialite, intrepid traveller and committed Suffragette.
Rebecca Clarke (b.1886): This talented violist and Pre-Raphaelite beauty was one of the first women ever hired by a professional orchestra, later celebrated for her modernist experimentation.
Dorothy Howell (b.1898): A prodigy who shot to fame at the 1919 Proms, her reputation as the ‘English Strauss’ never dented her modesty; on retirement, she tended Elgar’s grave alone.
Doreen Carwithen (b.1922): One of Britain’s first woman film composers who scored Elizabeth II’s coronation film, her success hid a 20-year affair with her married composition tutor.

In their time, these women were celebrities. They composed some of the century’s most popular music and pioneered creative careers; but today, they are ghostly presences, surviving only as muses and footnotes to male contemporaries like Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten - until now.

Join us for a fascinating evening; Quartet provides a panoramic sweep of British history over two World Wars, revolutionising the canon as we know it and our perceptions of women in classical music.

Leah Broad is a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford University, specialising in twentieth-century music. She was one of 2016’s BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers and in 2015 won the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism. She writes and speaks for organisations including Glyndebourne, London Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Proms. Quartet is her first book.