The Virginia Woolf & Music project explores the role of music in the lives and legacies of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group through concerts, research, workshops, public talks, exhibitions and commissions of new works of art.

Virginia Woolf famously stated ‘I always think of my books as music before I write them,’ and her writing continues to influence composers who have set her words or been inspired by her novels. The project highlights the central role of music in her literary experiments, showcasing music that inspired her writing and that directly responds to her work, including new commissions, world premieres, and little-known music by women composers.

Founded in 2015 with an AHRC Cultural Engagement grant, the UK-based project embraces the feminist, pacifist and cosmopolitan spirit of the Bloomsbury Group. Our collaborators range from primary schools and library reading groups to international academic conferences, theatre companies and renowned performers of classical music.


20th October – dream.risk.sing

Premiere of new song cycle at Oxford Lieder Festival, performed by soprano Samantha Crawford and the project’s Artistic Director, pianist Lana Bode.

dream.risk.sing is a brilliantly conceived programme that elevates the voices of modern women, telling stories that are not traditionally related in song. It includes the world premiere of a new song cycle by composer Charlotte Bray and poet Nicki Jackowska, Crossing Faultlines, exploring women’s professional experiences of mentorship, discrimination and ambition. The concert also features new arrangements of songs from Judith Weir’s orchestral song cycle woman.life.song, originally commissioned and premiered by Jessye Norman at Carnegie Hall, as well as works by Helen Grime and Michele Brourman.

More details, ticket information and a preview may be found on the Oxford Lieder Festival event page.