Dr Leah Broad Presents Radio 3 Documentary on Marginalised 20th-century Women Composers

Dr Leah Broad recently presented a BBC Radio 3 documentary which uncovers the stories of three marginalised 20th-century women composers, and hears some of their music for the very first time. The episode also features Dr Samantha Ege giving the first recording of Coleridge-Taylor’s Rhapsody.

One of Radio 3’s New Generation Thinkers, Leah Broad explores why the music of three 20th-century women composers, much loved at the time, is so little heard today. Looking at issues of style, gender, nationality and genre, she hears from those who knew Avril Coleridge-Taylor, Doreen Carwithen and Dorothy Howell well, and uncovers the sometimes shocking stories of how their music was silenced.

Contributors include Dorothy Howell’s niece and nephew, Meryn and Columb Howell; Andrew Palmer and Andrew Knowles, who knew Doreen Carwithen; authors Sophie Fuller and Jeremy Dibble; musicians Chi-chi Nwanoku and Dr Samantha Ege; and Oliver Dashwood, the great grandson of Avril Coleridge-Taylor.

Dr Leah Broad is an historical musicologist, and all her work focuses on unfamiliar histories. She's fascinated by the people and music who are at the margins of histories about Western Art Music. Currently, her research is focused on women composers in twentieth century Britain. She is working particularly on four composers — Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell, and Doreen Carwithen. The project establishes their relative significance in their lifetimes, explores how this changes our narratives about British music of this period, and looks at how their music has been received since their death.

Dr Samantha Ege is the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College. She is the recipient of a Newberry Library Short-Term Residential Fellowship (2019) and the Society for American Music’s Eileen Southern Fellowship (2019) for her work on women’s contributions to concert life in interwar Chicago. Her research addresses Florence Price’s professional network and has been published in American Music, Women and Music, and the Kapralova Society Journal. She released Four Women: Music for Solo Piano by Price, Kaprálová, Bilsland and Bonds with Wave Theory Records in 2018. Her latest album (released on LORELT) is called Fantasie Nègre: The Piano Music of Florence Price.

Listen to the episode on the BBC Radio 3 website.