Marsyas Trio: In the Theatre of Air

Marsyas Trio: In the Theatre of Air

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Release Date: 19 October 2018

This album presents trio works by women composers of multiple generations; five of them living British composers, and one notable American. Programmed by the Marsyas Trio, the release marks the 100th anniversary of (some) women getting the vote in the UK, and celebrates the diversity of compositional style, the wealth of talent, and accomplishments of living British women composers today.

Heather Roche writes in the booklet liner notes: It is extraordinary to compare the life of Amy Beach, the earliest composer to be featured on this release, and presented on this album as an American ‘bonus track’ accompanying the otherwise British lineup, with her modern-day equivalents. She was, early in life, recognised as one of the finest pianists in the United States, and performed as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at a time when she could neither vote, nor attend Harvard. However, following her marriage in 1885 she was restricted to two performances a year, an order she obeyed until the death of her husband in 1910, when she resumed touring.  As women composers and performers in the West, we no longer have to fight to be able to do the things we want to do in the ways that Beach did. But we still fight for those things to be recognised on equal terms: we want to be paid equally, we want to be able to choose to have families without sacrificing our creativity and careers, and we want to see the work of women appear on every concert programme. Women composers are still underrepresented, largely ignored by orchestral programmers, often discouraged from engaging with technology and regularly reminded that their ambition is seen as ugly and ‘unfeminine’.

The album includes five premiere recordings: Judith Weir's Several Concertos (1980), Thea Musgrave's Canta, Canta!, and recently commissioned works for the trio by Hilary Tann and the two youngest composers on this album: Georgia Rodgers (b1985) and Laura Bowler (b1986).

Marsyas Trio
Zubin Kanga
Helen Vidovich flute, alto flute, piccolo
Valerie Welbanks




‘The performances throughout are excellent and involving’ Gramophone

'Celebrating women composers in the centenary year of female suffrage in the UK ... a haunting processional [Rogers] ... edgy and often violent [Bowler] ... shakuhachi-flavoured melodic shapes [Tann]' BBC Music Magazine

‘thoroughly engaging … the Marsyas Trio are formidable advocates for contemporary music.’ Sequenza21/

'Characterful works by British women composers' Records International

Official Charts


With special thanks to the Britten-Pears Foundation for supporting the commission of Laura Bowler's Salutem, to the Fidelio Charitable Trust, and the RVW Trust for supporting the commission of Hillary Tann's In The Theatre of Air and to the Kickstarter Supporters who funded the commission of Georgia Rodgers' York Minster.

The Marsyas Trio is especially grateful to Sandra Akerman, Patrick Dawkins, Richard Lee, Christopher Fox, Charlotte Morgan and the Davies, Lorthoir, Dubovsky & Karageorgis families who generously contributed to their crowdfunding campaign for making this album possible.

The Marsyas Trio would also like to thank Royal Holloway University for the generous use of their premises for recording sessions (all tracks except Amy Beach); and City University for the generous use of premises for the Amy Beach sessions. These recordings were made using a c.1740 G.F. Celoniatus cello generously on loan from the Royal Academy of Music, London.


All tracks except tracks 12-13 were recorded at Boilerhouse, Royal Holloway University of London on 13-15 April 2018

Tracks 12-13 were recorded at City University on 19 April 2018

Recording Engineer: OLAF MIELKE (MBM Musikproduktion) 
Recording Producer: MORITZ BERGFIELD (MBM Musikproduktion)

(P) 2018 NMC Recordings Ltd
© 2018 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number: NMC D248
Release Date: 19 October 2018