The work of Visiting Research Fellow Graham Griffiths was featured at a wonderful concert at LSO St Luke’s on Thursday March 8th to mark International Women’s Day.
The concert was part of the AHRC/BBC project ‘Five Forgotten Female Composers’ and included the first performance in over 120 years of the Symphony in b minor, op.4 by Russian composer Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940), a performance only made possible through Dr Griffiths’ research.
The other composers whose work featured were:
- Marianna Martines (1744-1813), an Austrian who enjoyed fame throughout Europe in her lifetime
- Florence B. Price (1887-1953), an estemeed African American Symphonist
- Augusta Holmès (1847-1903), a French-Irish Writer of largescale oratorios and operas
- Johanna Müller-Hermann (1868-1941), an Austrian whose works range from chamber music to orchestral tone-poems and oratorios
The concert was performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by Jane Glover.
Leokadiya Kashperova, born in 1872, was a Russian pianist and tutor who wrote Romantic songs and instrumental music. After marrying a revolutionary with links to Lenin, she was forced to leave her home city during the 1917 Russian Revolution and her music was never published or performed again. She died in 1940.
Dr Griffiths has been studying Kashperova since 2002, when her name appeared during his research for the book, Stravinsky’s Piano: Genesis of a Musical Language. He found that she was the piano teacher of the great Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, but little else was known about her life.
As part of his research, Dr Griffiths, embarked on several trips to St Petersburg and Moscow, during which he uncovered the composer’s biography and her lost compositions, including a symphony, which was completed in 1905.
He said: “One of the great thrills of my most recent visit to Moscow was the discovery of many musical manuscripts – not sketches, but complete works ready, as it were, for publication and performance. Kashperova herself never heard them except in her head”.
The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and can be heard on iplayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e8ncd4