Member Exclusive

Past Event – Quartet: An Evening of Words and Music

Leah Broad
£20. Join us for an evening of words and music at St George’s Church, Bloomsbury, to mark the publication of Leah Broad's Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World. Exclusively for Faber Members.

67 in stock

7:00 pm
About the Event
To mark International Women’s Day, join us for a celebration of the lives, loves, adventures and trailblazing musical careers of four extraordinary women – Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell and Doreen Carwithen – the subjects of Leah Broad’s new book Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World.

Debut biographer Leah Broad will introduce this quartet of composers. The evening will feature musical interludes, performed by 97 Ensemble, including:

  • Ethel Smyth: The Clown and Possession (voice and piano)
  • Rebecca Clarke: Down by the Salley Gardens (voice and piano) and Viola Sonata I, Impetuoso (Viola and piano)
  • Dorothy Howell: Violin Sonata, II. Andante (violin and piano)
  • Doreen Carwithen: Serenade (voice and piano), Sonatina (solo piano)

The event will finish with a book signing.

Ethel Smyth (b.1858): Famed for her operas, this trailblazing queer Victorian composer was a larger-than-life socialite, intrepid traveller and committed Suffragette.

Rebecca Clarke (b.1886): This talented violist and Pre-Raphaelite beauty was one of the first women ever hired by a professional orchestra, later celebrated for her modernist experimentation.

Dorothy Howell (b.1898): A prodigy who shot to fame at the 1919 Proms, her reputation as the ‘English Strauss’ never dented her modesty; on retirement, she tended Elgar’s grave alone.

Doreen Carwithen (b.1922): One of Britain’s first woman film composers who scored Elizabeth II’s coronation film, her success hid a 20-year affair with her married composition tutor.

In their time, these women were celebrities. They composed some of the century’s most popular music and pioneered creative careers; but today, they are ghostly presences, surviving only as muses and footnotes to male contemporaries like Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten – until now.

Leah Broad’s magnificent group biography resurrects these forgotten voices, recounting lives of rebellion, heartbreak and ambition, and celebrating their musical masterpieces. Lighting up a panoramic sweep of British history over two World Wars, Quartet revolutionises the canon forever.

‘Magnificent.’ Kate Mosse
‘Riveting.’ Antonia Fraser
‘A breath of fresh air.’ Kate Molleson
‘Fascinating.’ Alexandra Harris
‘Wonderful.’ Claire Tomalin

97 Ensemble is a group of musicians raising awareness to the statistic that 97% of women aged 18-24 experience sexual harassment in the UK. They had their debut concert in April 2022 where they raised over £500 for Solace Women’s Aid. Since, they have gone on to perform at the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, St James’s Piccadilly and Fulham Fest. In addition to their public concerts, the ensemble visits Solace Women’s Aid’s refuges and give concerts there. The ensemble champions works by underrepresented composers, with a particular focus on women composers, and hopes to make classical music more inclusive and accessible. The ensemble are thankful to the Royal College of Music ‘Accelerate’ scheme and The Marchus Trust for their generous funding to support this mission.

Image: Leah Broad by Monika Tomiczek

What to Expect

Everything you need to know about this Faber Members event:

  • Your email confirmation serves as your ticket.
  • This event is taking place at St George’s Church Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2SA.
  • The nearest stations to St George’s Bloomsbury are Holborn and Tottenham Court Road.
  • The church is fully accessible from street level, with an external lift in the front driveway entrance for disabled patrons. Please contact the church in advance of your visit so we can guarantee access by calling 020 7242 1979 or emailing
  • The running time of the event is approximately 70 minutes.
  • Students can buy tickets for £10. Use code Student10 in the promo box in the checkout.
About the Author

LEAH BROAD is a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, specialising in twentieth-century music. She was a 2016 BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker and in 2015 won the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism. She writes and speaks for Glyndebourne, London Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Proms, and founded the Oxford Culture Review.

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About the Author
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Leah Broad

The lives, loves, adventures and trailblazing careers of four extraordinary women from a stunning debut biographer.