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Anonymous Was a Woman (ticketed event)

June 23, 2023 @ 7:30 pm

A pre-concert lecture by Marian Wilson Kimber will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, June 23, will see MusicIC present Anonymous Was a Woman, an intimate concert at 7:30 p.m. at Riverside Theatre (119 E College Street), drawing connections between two powerhouse women: Prominent English author and feminist icon, Virginia Woolf, and composer Dame Ethel Smyth – the first female composer to be granted a damehood. The program will begin with Smyth’s Violin Sonata in A minor (Op. 7), written in 1887. Though the classical music canon has historically relegated her to a footnote, Smyth is enjoying some long overdue recognition, both for her distinctive musical voice and larger than life personality. Ahead of her time, Smyth was a suffragette and defiantly out about her sexuality and relationships with women.

Following Smyth’s Sonata, audiences will be treated to a semi-staged version of Dominick Argento’s song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Music, the same year in which it was premiered in Minneapolis. Smyth and Woolf would meet near the end of their lives and continue a fruitful intellectual and artistic relationship, lasting until Woolf’s suicide in 1941. By pairing Smyth’s music and Woolf’s private words, we can begin to allow the deeply personal etchings of these two women to fully come to the forefront, in a way they were unable to during their lives.

Before the concert, music scholar, author, and University of Iowa Professor Marian Wilson Kimber will give a pre-concert lecture exploring the development of works by women artists and the barriers they faced. General admission tickets to the Friday, June 23, concert are $20; $10 for students. They are available at the Riverside Theatre box office, by calling (319) 259-7099, or emailing boxoffice@riversidetheatre.org.