"The first lady to occupy the conductor's stand at a Philharmonic concert, and the only
Englishwoman who has composed a grand opera, Miss Ethel Smyth has established her position in the front rank of British composers. Miss Smyth - who, by the way, was the original of "Edith " in E. F. Benson's "Dodo" - from childhood has been deeply interested in music, and long before she composed a single bar was one of the most regular attendants at Covent Garden. She confesses to many disappointments and failures, her first success being a violin sonata, which was exceedingly well received. It attracted the attention of Tchaikovsky, who said : " Here at last we have a woman who is to be reckoned with, and who, I feel sure, will do something in the future." Miss Smyth did something. She wrote " The Wreckers," which was heard for the first time at Covent Garden in March, 1909, and aroused the enthusiasm of the critics. Miss Smyth has succumbed to the irresistible fascinations of golf, although her first love was hunting.
A list of Miss Smyth's chief musical publications will be found of interest, and will serve to exemplify the wide range of her genius. They include two symphonies; overture to Anthony and Cleopatra; a Mass; chamber music; operas; Fantasio; Der Wald; Strandrecht; and songs with chamber music accompaniment, produced in London in 1907. As regards her musical studies, Miss Smyth was taught by Heinrich von Herzogenberg, late professor of composition at the Hochschule, Berlin, afterwards conductor of the Bach Verein at Leipzig.
Miss Ethel Smyth Kate Pragnell