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2024 Smyth Symposium

Dame Ethel Smyth: Connections, Culture, and Context 

Dublin City University 

12–13 July 2024 

Writing in her 1936 autobiography As Time Went OnDame Ethel Smyth remarked that she had ‘never yet succeeded in becoming even a tiny wheel in the English music machine’. Smyth’s observation encapsulates the frustration that she often felt during her career as she strove to penetrate the male-dominated world of music. However, since the 1980s, a wealth of research has highlighted Smyth’s significance as a composer, writer, and social activist of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

Hosted by Dublin City University and supported by the Society for Musicology in Ireland and the Women in Global Music Network, this symposium marks the 80th anniversary of Ethel Smyth’s death in May 2024. It seeks to broaden our understanding of Smyth’s life and music, exploring the culture and context from which her music emerged and deepening our awareness of the social connections that she made over the course of her career.

We are delighted that Dr Christopher Wiley (University of Surrey) will give the keynote address at the symposium. Wiley is an internationally acknowledged expert on musical biography and has published extensively on Ethel Smyth. We anticipate that the symposium will be of interest not only to those looking to engage with Smyth but also to those curious about her wider world.


Hannah Millington (Committee Chair, Dublin City University)

Amy Zigler (Committee Co-Chair, Salem College)

John Andrews (Independent)

Róisín Blunnie (Dublin City University)

Leah Broad (University of Oxford)

Joe Davies (Maynooth University / University of California, Irvine)

Patricia Flynn (Dublin City University)

Registration covers admittance to the symposium, refreshments, and a light lunch. Dinner on Friday 12 July can be booked at an additional cost; look for the add-on options when you register.

Please send queries to

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