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Dr Christopher Wiley performs works for solo oboe in a recital at Guildford Cathedral

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Dr Christopher Wiley (oboe) performing in Guildford CathedralDr Christopher Wiley performed in a recital at Guildford Cathedral as part of its 2015 series of Summer Coffee Concerts, attended by a diverse audience of around 100.

Dr Wiley played Handel’s oboe sonata in G minor, HW364a and Saint-Saëns’s oboe sonata, Op. 166, as well as Madeleine Dring’s ‘Romance’ from Three-Piece Suite.

The recital was given jointly with Polish clarinettist Łukasz Jakimów, who performed Burgmüller’s Duo, Op. 13 and Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie. Both soloists were accompanied by Margaret Ozanne (piano).

The full schedule for the Cathedral’s 2015 Summer Coffee Concerts is available here: http://www.guildford-cathedral.org/news/2015/free-coffee-concerts

Concert seriesRecital Programme

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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/

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 curates major Musical Theatre concert

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A major Musical Theatre concert featuring students of City University London, curated by Dr Christopher Wiley, was presented in the University’s Performance Space on Tuesday 19 March 2013, to tie in with the ‘Musical Theatre’ module currently being delivered by Dr Wiley on the BMus programme.

The concert’s broad range of solo numbers included ‘The Man I Love’ (Lady Be Good), ‘If I Loved You’ (Carousel), ‘Adelaide’s Lament’ (Guys and Dolls), ‘So Long, Dearie’ (Hello, Dolly!), ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ (The Phantom of the Opera), ‘Why, God, Why?’ (Miss Saigon), ‘There’s a Fine, Fine Line’ (Avenue Q), ‘Falling Slowly’ (Once), and ‘Left Behind’ (Spring Awakening).

Kiss Me, Kate in rehearsalAlso featured were the chorus numbers ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ and ‘One Day More’ (Les Misérables) performed by the City University Musical Theatre Chorus, a staged version of ‘What is this Feeling’ (Wicked), and a set by the City University Big Band that included ‘They Can’t Take That Away from Me’ (Shall We Dance), ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ (The Wizard of Oz), and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ (We Will Rock You).

Some 60 performers were involved in the concert, which attracted a sell-out audience. Other highlights included the fully staged chorus ‘Another Op’nin’, Another Show’ (Kiss Me, Kate; shown above in rehearsal) to start the event, and a choreographed ‘Cell Block Tango’ (Chicago) featuring the City Block Tango Dancers.

For further information, please see: http://www.city.ac.uk/events/2013/march/a-night-at-the-musicals

Update: A promotional video about the concert and its associated academic module, featuring interviews from the students as well as footage of lectures and of the performance itself, was released in June 2013 and may be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC01cbDvaw0