The concert stage is a much more open and diverse place than it was even five years ago. Concert managers are, albeit belatedly, waking up to the idea of booking more female musicians as well as those from a broader racial background. And, shock, horror, the standard remains just as high. This quiet revolution is to be celebrated by all – except the disabled fraternity. This month, Nick van Bloss, a pianist who suffers from a debilitating physical form of Tourette’s Syndrome, argues on p50 that classical music’s leaders and managers have been neglecting some superb musicians through their blinkered programming. Diversity, he implies, means a lot more than simply balancing gender and race. It makes for fascinating and thoughtful reading, and will hopefully prick a few consciences.
It’s also about time we resurrected the reputation of Ethel Smyth, whose masterful music and dogged determation to effect change has made her one of the 20th century’s most important artistic figures. On p44 Kate Kennedy reveals in absorbing detail Smyth’s contribution to our musical and political landscape.
Buried in Brompton cemetery, Smyth’s grave is a simple affair – unlike the flamboyant memorials to the great composers, a few of which we feature on p54. But are they terrific tombs or grave mistakes? You decide…