Leah Broad's Quartet wins Presto Music Award

Presto Music last night announced the winners of its 2023 Awards. Among them was our very own Dr Leah Broad, whose book Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World was celebrated as one of the Books of the Year. 

Published early this year by Faber & Faber, Quartet pulls back the curtain on the lives and work of four women composers – Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell and Doreen Carwithen, all celebrities in their day who have since been overlooked in the traditional account of 20th-century British music. As Broad explains, 'These women lived lives that should be remembered, and wrote music that deserves to be heard. Their works are far less often performed than those by their colleagues Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten, for example, but they have so much to offer listeners, from Smyth’s barnstorming score for her third opera, The Wreckers, to the tenderness of Howell’s lyrical violin sonata.'

Quartet was released to immediate emphatic acclaim, including from The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times, the TLS and bestselling novelist Kate Mosse. According to The Guardian Dr Broad's book is both 'readable and inspiring', while for Mosse the work is 'the most magnificent biography and a rallying cry.' 

Smyth, Clarke, Howell and Carwithen all deserve far greater recognition, and I hope this helps to bring new audiences to their stories and to their music.

On 7 December the winners of this year's 2023 Presto Music Awards were announced, with five Books of the Year being selected. Quartet was joined by works from Alfred Brendel, Paul Spicer, Richard Bratby and Andrew Parrott. Somewhat ironically given the themes of her book, Dr Broad is the only female author to be recognised by the awards this year. 

Expressing her delight at having her book chosen, Dr Broad said: 'I’m so grateful to Presto for this award. Smyth, Clarke, Howell and Carwithen all deserve far greater recognition, and I hope this helps to bring new audiences to their stories and to their music.'

Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World is available from all good bookstores. Further details about the celebrated work and how to purchase it can be found on its Faber web page.

Leah Broad and her book 'Quartet'