Against her father’s wishes, Dame Ethel Smyth pursued a career in music, first privately, and then at the Leipzig Conservatory. Her persistence led to a successful music career, although some critics complained that her music was “too masculine.” In recognition for her work as a composer and writer, Smyth was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1922…the first female composer to be awarded a damehood.
Hear Dame Ethel Smyth share recollections of Johannes Brahms in this recording from the 1930s.
This post is part WXXI Classical 91.5’s celebration of Women’s History Month. For more of these stories and other resources, check out Celebrating the Contributions of Women to Classical Music.