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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 (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 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 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 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.

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