Forthcoming Events

Public Talks: ‘Debussy at Play’
Thursday 8th February 2018, Studio Theatre, Byre Theatre, St Andrews, 5.30-7pm. FREE

As a prelude to the evening concert, three speakers introduce Debussy’s work. Pianist and renowned Debussy scholar Dr Roy Howat, Dr Charlotte de Mille (Courtauld Institute) and Dr David Evans (French, St Andrews) discuss the newly discovered premiere of his children’s ballet La boîte à joujoux (‘The Toy Box’) and the role of pantomime and play in Debussy’s work more widely.

Concert: ‘Pacifism and Pierrot: Debussy in Bloomsbury’
Thursday 8th February 2018, Main Auditorium, Byre Theatre, St Andrews, 8pm-9.30pm.
Tickets £8/£6 [via Byre theatre; ticketing details to follow]

This concert of French song and piano music is a journey through the pleasures and pain of war-time life. The programme explores themes of pacifism, feminism and equality in rarely performed music by Germaine Tailleferre and Nadia Boulanger alongside familiar favourites by Debussy and Poulenc. The programme culminates in Debussy’s children’s ballet La boîte à joujoux (‘The Toy Box’), premiered by the Omega Workshops in 1915 as part of a series of pacifist concerts raising money for Belgian refugees. The ballet was performed not by dancers but by cardboard marionettes; Omega images accompany this performance. Performers: Lana Bode (piano) and Jennifer Witton (soprano).

Children’s Concert and Marionette Presentation: ‘The Toy Box’
Friday 9th February 2018, 10am-10.50am (marionette presentation), 11.10am-11.45am (concert), Main Auditorium, Byre Theatre, St Andrews.
FREE but ticketed [via Byre theatre; ticketing details to follow]

Join pianist Lana Bode and narrator Jennifer Witton (Royal Shakespeare Company) for an exhilarating performance of Debussy’s children’s ballet, La boîte à joujoux (‘The Toy Box’). Meet the inhabitants of the toy box – from the soldier to the dancer – and hear about their adventures in Debussy’s lively music. The performance is accompanied by colourful images inspired by Omega Workshop toys and preceded by an introduction and demonstration by the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre. Children of all ages welcome with an accompanying adult.

Past Events

Music, Creativity & Mental Health: Public Talks & Informal Concert
Wednesday 27 September 2017, Studio Theatre, Byre Theatre, St Andrews, 2.30pm

FREE – tea & scones provided

Psychologist Dr Maggie Ellis, literary critic Dr Emma Sutton and pianist Lana Bode explore music’s role in mental illness and creativity. Emma Sutton and Lana Bode discuss Virginia Woolf’s experiences of and treatment for mental illness. Their talk, illustrated with musical examples, introduces Woolf’s musical hallucinations and her writing about music. They also consider ideas about the effects of mental illness on the working practices of some of the classical composers Woolf loved. Maggie Ellis explores the special place of music in the lives of individuals living with dementia, providing powerful examples from her own research. She explains the ways music can provide a way to communicate with others when speech becomes difficult, and how it taps into dearly held memories.

Presented in collaboration with the Music Research Seminar Series.

Jeremy Thurlow’s new quartet, inspired by ‘Orlando’ and commissioned by the Virginia Woolf & Music project, will be performed again by the Kreutzer Quartet as part of the Bath Spa Live festival on 25th January 2017.

More info and tickets here

Concert: ‘Weaving Threads: Virginia Woolf & String Quartets’
Thursday 3 November 2016, 7.45 pm, Robinson College Chapel, Cambridge

Performed by the renowned Kreutzer Quartet, the concert explores Woolf’s interest in string quartets and features new work inspired by her writing. The concert includes work by Beethoven, by the South-African British composer Priaulx Rainier, and Mozart’s arrangement of a Bach fugue for string quartet. Two world premieres are featured: Jeremy Thurlow’s Memory is the seamstress and Elliott Schwartz’s Quartet No. 3: Portrait. More info | Purchase tickets

Roundtable: ‘Composers in Conversation: Setting Woolf’s Letters and Diaries’

Friday 17 June 2016, 1.40pm, 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf, Leeds Trinity University.
Free to conference delegates.

Three composers – Richard Barnard, Jan-Willem van Herpen and Jeremy Thurlow – will discuss their new settings of Woolf’s work ahead of the premiere at 8pm. The roundtable is hosted by the 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf: for full details of the conference programme see

Conference Panel: ‘Musical Woolf’

Friday 17 June 2016, 10.55-12.25am, 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf, Leeds Trinity University. Free to conference delegates.

Claire Davison (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3), Charlotte de Mille (Courtauld Institute) and Emma Sutton (St Andrews) discuss music in Woolf’s novels and short fiction, and in events organised by Roger Fry’s Omega Gallery. Hosted by the 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf: for full details of the conference programme see

Concert: ‘Virginia: A Musical Portrait’

Friday 17 June 2016, 8.00pm, The Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds School of Music.
£12.50 Buy tickets here:

A concert of new music inspired by Woolf’s work takes place on Friday 17 June 2016 as part of the 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf (‘Virginia Woolf and Heritage’, Leeds Trinity University).

The concert focuses on settings of Woolf’s diaries and letters and features three world premieres: the song cycle The Lonely Mind by Jan-Willem van Herpen; Richard Barnard’s song cycle Woolf Letters; and a song by Jeremy Thurlow.  Barnard’s and Thurlow’s works were commissioned for this concert.  The fourth work of the concert is Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf (1974, written for the English mezzo-soprano Janet Baker).

Lana Bode (co-founder of the concert series) will play in the concert, with Annelies Van Hijfte (soprano), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (mezzo-soprano), Sian Cameron (mezzo-soprano) and Nicola Rose (piano).

To the Lighthouse: Musical Inspirations & Responses’

4 March 2016, The Byre Theatre, St Andrews. 3.30pm. £10/£8

The inaugural concert of the series on Woolf, Bloomsbury and music explores the music behind Virginia Woolf’s fifth novel and recent compositions that respond to her work. It intertwines readings from Woolf’s work with Scottish folk song and compositions for voice and piano by composers including Benjamin Britten, Thea Musgrave, Judith Weir and David Knotts.

To the Lighthouse: Musical Inspirations & Responses’: Pre-performance talk

4 March 2016, Conference Room, The Byre Theatre, St Andrews. 2pm. Free

This talk by Dr Emma Sutton precedes the concert ‘To the Lighthouse: Musical Inspirations & Responses’ and introduces music’s significance to Woolf’s work.

Exhibition: ‘Virginia Woolf & St Andrews’

March 2016, The Byre Theatre, St Andrews. Free.

This small exhibition explores Woolf’s connections with St Andrews, via books, photographs and fine art. It showcases: the University Library’s outstanding holdings of first editions by Woolf and the Hogarth Press; local novelists’ and poets’ connections with To the Lighthouse; and recent academic work, fiction and art inspired by her writing.

Symposium: ‘Woolf & Music’

2-6pm, 3 March 2016, University of St Andrews. Free but registration required.
Download the symposium timetable

This symposium explores music’s role in Woolf’s writing and music that responds to it; works explored include To the Lighthouse, The Voyage Out and A Room of One’s Own. The symposium includes papers by Woolf scholars (Dr Jane Goldman, Dr James Stewart, Dr Emma Sutton) and musicians and composers in discussion about music inspired by Woolf’s prose. Additionally, there will also be the chance to examine for the first time highlights from the Kirkpatrick Archive of Bloomsbury manuscripts recently acquired by the University Library.

Please contact Dr Lisa Griffin on for details and to register.