Friday, 9 November 2018

Vote 100: Celebrating Women Composers

Saturday 17 November, 7.30pm, St George's Church, Brighton
Vote 100: Celebrating Women Composers marks the centenary of some women gaining the vote. A specially commissioned new work - ‘Lead On’ - by Lucy Pankhurst, a relative of leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, will be performed and music by a diverse range of women composers, with Caroline Lucas MP as a key speaker.
Artists include soprano Polina Shepherdvocal/instrumental group HEARD Collective, choir Women of Note, guitarist Brian Ashworth, flautist Rebecca Griffiths and pianists Evgenia Startseva and Yuri Paterson-Olenich plus multi-pianist ensemble the Zongora Piano Group and the Appel Trio. 
Featured composers include Norah Blaney, Rebecca Clarke, Avril Coleridge-Taylor, Lilian ElkingtonShena Fraser, Augusta Holmès, Ethel Smyth plus present-day composers Litha Efthymiou, Cecilia McDowall and Master of the Queen's Music, Judith Weir.

'Norah Blaney (right) and her partner Gwen Farrar first met in 1917, entertaining troops in a concert party. Gwen played the cello and Norah was a classically trained pianist who had also studied composition at the Royal College of Music. Several of the songs she wrote were published while she was still in her teens and 'Are You There Mr Bear?' is still in print over 100 years later.

Norah and Gwen appeared in the 1921 Royal Command Performance at the London Hippodrome. They went on to star in revues at the Vaudeville, Prince of Wales and Savoy Theatres, becoming household names in 1924 for their recording of 'It Ain't Gonna Rain No More'. They lived together as lovers in a house in the King's Road Chelsea, where they entertained Noel Coward, Tallulah Bankhead, Radclyffe Hall, Dolly Wilde (Oscar's niece) and the lesbian action hero Joe Carstairs, to name just a few'.  
(with thanks to Alison Child).

Alison Child is currently writing a biography of Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar, Tell Me I'm Forgiven (with cover design by Andrew Kay) which will be available in the Autumn of 2019.

Book tickets here.

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