ETHEL SMYTH (1858 - 1944)
Born in London on 22 April 1858 to a wealthy family, Smyth left England at the age of nineteen. She was admitted to the Leipzig Conservatory, where she studied composition with Carl Reinecke and met the composers Edvard Grieg, Antonín Dvořák and Pyotr Ily’ich Tchaikovsky. Although she left the conservatory the following year, she remained in Europe for more than a decade. Upon her return to England, she became increasingly involved with the women’s suffrage movement, meeting Emmeline Pankhurst and composing The March of the Women. In 1922 she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire, and her celebrity continued to flourish until her death on 8 May 1944.
– Caroline Waight