Title

Effects of World War I on British Women Composers

Lead Author Major

Music Composition

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Sarah Walz

Faculty Mentor Department

Music History

Abstract/Artist Statement

World War I was a harsh and trying time emotionally and physically for the English people, whether the individual was in the battlefield or supporting the war effort at home. Although, obviously war always brings dramatic change, for England the Great War was extreme because with modern warfare and weaponry the violence involved every man, woman, and child; this was the first time in modern history that this occurred. Music was drastically changed because of the war. Obviously many musicians were called to the front lines, so productivity declined; many of those musicians never returned. Those who remained behind were often out of work due to concert halls closing; less money and access to performing and educational materials; more foreign influences including refugee musicians; and a new demand for lighter, less serious genres of music. Though there are many studies on music during this time, there is very little study on how this affected women composers. After conducting research on the general effects of the Great War on women’s issues (such as suffrage, employment, civil rights, and domestic roles) and exploring the lives and works of these women composers, it is my hope to shed some light on this relatively small subgroup of musicians. This paper will discuss social changes for women in England during the Great War, then focus on the changes that occurred effected musicians, particularly women. After, I will introduce four case studies of women composers: Ethyl Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Muriel Herbert, and Liza Lehmann. Their lives from 1910 - 1920 will be compared and contrasted. Preliminary results indicate that other career and social aspects affected these women’s careers more than the war did, which was not true for male composers during the same period.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

30-4-2016 10:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2016 12:00 PM

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Apr 30th, 10:00 AM Apr 30th, 12:00 PM

Effects of World War I on British Women Composers

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

World War I was a harsh and trying time emotionally and physically for the English people, whether the individual was in the battlefield or supporting the war effort at home. Although, obviously war always brings dramatic change, for England the Great War was extreme because with modern warfare and weaponry the violence involved every man, woman, and child; this was the first time in modern history that this occurred. Music was drastically changed because of the war. Obviously many musicians were called to the front lines, so productivity declined; many of those musicians never returned. Those who remained behind were often out of work due to concert halls closing; less money and access to performing and educational materials; more foreign influences including refugee musicians; and a new demand for lighter, less serious genres of music. Though there are many studies on music during this time, there is very little study on how this affected women composers. After conducting research on the general effects of the Great War on women’s issues (such as suffrage, employment, civil rights, and domestic roles) and exploring the lives and works of these women composers, it is my hope to shed some light on this relatively small subgroup of musicians. This paper will discuss social changes for women in England during the Great War, then focus on the changes that occurred effected musicians, particularly women. After, I will introduce four case studies of women composers: Ethyl Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Muriel Herbert, and Liza Lehmann. Their lives from 1910 - 1920 will be compared and contrasted. Preliminary results indicate that other career and social aspects affected these women’s careers more than the war did, which was not true for male composers during the same period.