Coming soon! (11/15/22)

The first-ever picture book about Ethel Smyth, the world-famous composer and suffragette!

Pre-order a signed copy at:

“Brave women in history are examples that help us to be brave in the present. Learning about Ethel Smyth will be life-changing right now.” ―Gloria Steinem

“As I discovered when I first encountered her superb compositions, Ethel Smyth’s music speaks for itself. But reading about her remarkable life story can also compel us to do more – to be more bold, and to fight for what we believe in. Told here in a wonderful way by Diane Worthey, this book will inspire people of all ages and genders.” ―James Blachly, Music Director, Experiential Orchestra

From Bushel & Peck Books:

In 1867 England, a girl learned to be proper and speak when spoken to. But one girl marched to a different beat. Ethel Smyth climbed fences, explored graveyards, and yearned to become a famous composer at a time when only men could publish their music. But become a composer she did, first signing her music as E. Smyth so people couldn’t guess her gender, then eventually writing openly as a woman (but still sometimes not getting paid!). Ethel had had enough. She joined the suffragette movement, marching in the streets and fighting for the right to vote. She even composed the famous “March of the Women” battle cry―and directed it from her cell window with a toothbrush when she was put into prison.

In superb text and stunning illustrations, Rise Up With a Song tells this remarkable story of Ethel Smyth, the woman who refused to stay down and who used her music to change the fate of women around the world. Backmatter includes a brief bio of Ethel’s musical life, a list of famous works, and even a fascimile of her famous “March of the Women.” An essential addition to musical and feminist libraries everywhere!



My new picture book about composer and suffragist, Ethel Smyth, has a blurb from Gloria Steinem, feminist icon and author. The book will be lushly illustrated by Helena Perez Garcia. You can see examples of Helena’s colorful, whimsical style here:

Stay tuned for the book cover reveal in Spring 2022 as we shed light on this important woman composer in history!

Standing on the Shoulders of Antonia Brico

Photo by Herbert Mitchell, New York / Public domain

82 years ago today, on July 25, 1938, Antonia Brico became the first woman to step upon the podium at Lewisohn Stadium to lead the New York Philharmonic. Trained at the best conducting school in the world, the Berlin Master School of Conducting under Karl Muck, Antonia heard the same phrase from everyone she met :

No woman would ever conduct a major orchestra.

Antonia proved everyone wrong. With grit and gusto, she led the then all-male New York Philharmonic in a rousing performance of the Lenore Overture no. 3 by Beethoven and the Sibelius Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39.

Although Antonia never realized her dream of being a permanent conductor of a major orchestra, she never gave up on her passion. She guest conducted numerous orchestras around the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Rave reviews followed her performances, yet no one would hire her as a permanent conductor.

Ever persistent, Antonia forged a close friendship with the composer Jean Sibelius, who invited her to Finland to conduct his works. In an interview by Charles Thomas on May 7, 1972, Antonia spoke about her close working relationship with the famous composer, whom she called “Pappa.”

Several times a week I went there for dinner and stayed overnight…and slept in what is known as the ‘Seventh Symphony Room,’ where he composed the Seventh Symphony. And I used to lie in bed in the mornings (I woke up very early) and I would by studying my score at five o’clock in the morning, and suddenly I woke up and thought, “Heavenly days, Jean Sibelius is sleeping downstairs; and here I am studying the works of the great and famous composer and here he is downstairs-very alive.”

Antonia collaborated closely with Jean Sibelius and traveled frequently to conduct his concerts in Finland. In 1947, she earned the Pro-Finlandia gold medal in 1947 for her contributions to classical music. Despite this success, Antonia spent the majority of her conducting career in Denver, Colorado, conducting a semi-professional orchestra, the Denver Businessman’s orchestra. (later known as the Brico Symphony.) This orchestra is now a professional orchestra, The Denver Philharmonic.

On the heels of Antonia’s passing in 1989, two women, Marin Alsop and JoAnn Falletta, began their careers in Denver where Antonia had spent the bulk of her life trying to change attitudes toward women on the podium. Antonia’s efforts were not in vain. Both Alsop and Falletta rose to the the world stage as permanent conductors of major orchestras. Marin Alsop currently conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. JoAnn Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.