Dora Bright was a ‘stage star’ before the term ‘star’ had even been invented. After a successful period at the Royal Academy of Music, reports of her ability circulated the globe from America, across Europe and as far as Australia. She became known as one of the finest pianists of her generation and was the first woman to be invited to perform at a Philharmonic Society concert in 1892, where she performed her newly composed Fantasia No. 2. A woman of considerable determination and stamina, she was at the forefront of the English Musical Renaissance at the turn of the twentieth century, and an avid supporter of the music of her friends and colleagues. Marriage did not prevent her from performing and composing, but the death of her husband led to a pause and change of direction in her career as she mourned his loss. Returning to the stage, she became friends with Adeline Genée, and together they returned English ballet to the centre of London Theatre and were key to the creation of the Royal Academy of Dancing.
This book offers the first full-length study of Bright’s inspirational life and work. It takes the reader from the arrival of Dora Bright’s grandfather in Sheffield in 1769 through to her death in 1951. Through a rich variety of archival materials, it provides a public perspective on the life of this important, but now little-known, musician and composer.
Published: Mar 10, 2023
The unprecedented success of the recent recording of Dora Bright's Piano Concerto on the SOMM label has sparked a notable revival of interest in her life and work, and this splendid new biography of this hitherto largely unknown musician will surely do much to establish her as one of the main female British composers of her era. This book is both meticulously researched and well written; it is a timely publication that is highly recommended.
Robert Matthew-Walker, Editor Musical Opinion