Fenella Humphreys is Shining a Light on Music’s Lost Voices at Harrogate Music Festival

Fenella Humphreys and Leah Broad will perform Lost Voices at Harrogate Music Festival

Classical violinist Fenella Humphreys will be joined by pianist Nicola Eimer and author Leah Broad to tell the stories and play the lost music of the nation’s forgotten female composers.

Fenella Humphreys always wanted to break the mould and become a musician. “It just kind of happened. It was one of those things that because I was doing it and loving doing it, it was just right”, Humphreys says.

Throughout her illustrious career, Humphreys has valued her strong relationships with composers, and has been intrigued by the idea of dedicating music to others. She found herself asking questions about the person behind the dedication, and why so many composers wanted to write for one specific musician.

Since then, Humphreys has had multiple pieces written for her, and has collaborated with the composers to bring the music to life.

It was through this inquisitive and collaborative nature that the idea for ‘Lost Voices’ was born. After reading Leah’s book ‘Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World’ as it was nearing publication, Humphreys knew it could be a great opportunity and assembled the trio.

“I thought that the four composers in Leah’s book really needed a light shining on them. Myself, Leah and Nicola got chatting and thought it would be really nice to do something together, we talked about it some more and this whole idea formed.”

Throughout the performance of ‘Lost Voices’, Leah Broad will draw on her book and tell some of the stories. Humphreys comments, “I think it’s going to be an amazing set of stories, some of which are quite unbelievable. I hope the audience becomes interested in the worlds of the composers and their lives.”

Humphreys emphasises that there are still plenty of male composers who also didn’t fit the ideals of the time that have been forgotten. However, ‘Lost Voices’ is for the women who were deemed unsuitable to write music or have careers as professional musicians or composers.

“It’s amazing when you look into the lives of these composers, for example Ethel Smyth who constantly fought to get her stuff out there somehow, despite reviews saying women should not be writing orchestral works, because that’s a man’s job. It’s so important for us to go back into history and find the music that has disappeared.”

On the importance of festivals for musicians, Humphreys says, “Each festival has a personality of its own because of where it is and its history. It’s important that local communities have a reason to come together at any part of the year to celebrate a place, music and its people.”

Fenella Humphreys, joined by Nicola Eimer and Leah Broad, will perform ‘Lost Voices: How Four Women Changed the Musical World’ at Harrogate Music Festival at the Wesley Centre on Sunday 2 July at 3pm. Tickets are available online here or from the Box Office on 01423 562 303.

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