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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 paper in the Music Research Colloquia series at the University of Oxford

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Dr Christopher Wiley presented his paper ‘National Trends in Musical Biography’ in the Music Research Colloquia series at the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford on 16 June 2015, to close the series for the 2014–15 academic year.

Speaking to some 25 academics and postgraduate students in the Faculty’s Denis Arnold Hall, Dr Wiley explored the relationship between musical biography and nationality with reference to case studies illustrating distinctive elements of musical biography at particular times and places as well as the development of the genre over time.

The weekly colloquia are organized by graduate students and feature musicological research presented by a range of leading academics and younger researchers from universities around the world.

Details of Dr Wiley’s Research Colloquium may be found here: http://www.music.ox.ac.uk/event/research-colloquium-chris-wiley/

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford

Dr Christopher Wiley co-organizes and delivers paper at international conference on musical biography at the Institute of Musical Research, London

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Institute of Musical Research logoDr Christopher Wiley and Dr Paul Watt (Monash University, Melbourne) have co-organized a two-day international conference on musical biography held at the Institute of Musical Research, University of London, on 9-10 April 2015.

The conference, entitled ‘Musical Biography: National Ideology, Narrative Technique, and the Nature of Myth’, brought together a broad range of some 50 interdisciplinary scholars from the UK, US, Australia, and Continental Europe.

In addition to several panel sessions, the conference incorporated two invited roundtable discussions, whose speakers included Professors Simon Keefe (University of Sheffield), Mark Evan Bonds (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Jonathan Cross (University of Oxford), and Rosamund Bartlett (Oxford).

In the course of the conference, Dr Wiley also presented his paper ‘Myth-making and the Politics of Nationality in Narratives of J.S. Bach’s 1717 Contest with Louis Marchand’, and chaired three of the panel sessions.

The schedule for the event may be viewed at the conference website: http://events.sas.ac.uk/imr/events/view/17765/Music+Biography+Conference

The full conference programme may be downloaded here.

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.

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.

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/

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 delivers paper at international conference at the Institute of Musical Research, London

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Institute of Musical Research logoDr Christopher Wiley presented his paper ‘Life and Works: The Master Musicians Series (1899–1906) as Victorian Period-Piece’ at the ‘Music Literature, Historiography, and Aesthetics’ Conference held at the Institute of Musical Research, University of London, on 17-18 July 2014.

Dr Wiley’s paper explored elements of Victorian ideology (including preoccupations with evolutionist theory and with ‘working partnerships’ between men and women) that emerge strongly from a close reading of the volumes of the original Master Musicians series. He then showed how these concerns yielded important consequences for the authors’ discussions of the musical works themselves.

The conference’s call for papers is available here: http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/news-events/call-for-papers-conference-on-music-literature-historiography-and-aesthetics/

The full conference programme may be downloaded here: http://music.sas.ac.uk/sites/default/files/files/Music%20Literature%20Historiography%20and%20Aesthetics%20programme%20(1).doc

Dr Wiley had previously presented a paper at a related conference held at Monash University, Melbourne earlier in the year.

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.

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