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World première of music inspired by Virginia Woolf to be hosted in Leeds in June

Posted on 11 May 2016


The world première of music inspired by British modernist author Virginia Woolf will be performed in Leeds on Friday 17 June.

Virginia: A Musical Portrait will showcase three new musical compositions – The Lonely Mind by Jan-Willem van Herpen, Woolf Letters by Richard Barnard and a song by Jeremy Thurlow. The programme will be completed by Dominick Argento's From the Diary of Virginia Woolf (1974).

The concert, which is open to the public, is part of the 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf, which is being held at Leeds Trinity University from 16 – 19 June.

Dr Jane de Gay, conference organiser and Director of Victorian Studies at Leeds Trinity University, said:

"We are thrilled to have this concert in our conference programme. It is a testimony to the power of Woolf's writing that she inspires such creativity in others.

"This is the second concert in the series Virginia Woolf & Music – its inaugural concert took place in St Andrews in March and other events are planned for London and Cambridge – so it is an honour to be involved in this exciting and prestigious project."

The series is a collaboration between Dr Emma Sutton of the University of St Andrews and pianist Lana Bode. Bode will perform in the concert, with Annelies van Hijfte (soprano), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (mezzo-soprano), Siân Cameron (mezzo-soprano) and Nicola Rose (piano).

Emma Sutton, Founding Director of Virginia Woolf & Music, said:

"The prospect of hearing three new settings of Woolf's work in one concert is extremely exciting. Given Woolf's passionate lifelong interest in music, it's fascinating that her writing has recently inspired a number of composers to set her words or respond more obliquely to her prose. This concert promises to be intimate and evocative since it focuses on settings of Woolf's private writing. We are delighted that the 26th Annual Virginia Woolf Conference is hosting the concert, and are honoured to be welcoming the composers to discuss their new work."

The concert takes place at 8.00pm on Friday 17 June at The Clothworkers' Centenary Concert Hall, which is based at the University of Leeds' School of Music. It is open to members of the public. Tickets cost £12.50, and are available on the door or from the conference online store:

The series is sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), The University of St Andrews, the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, StAnza and Leeds Trinity University.