Hi, I’m Elizabeth de Brito, I run The Daffodil Perspective.
I studied piano and clarinet growing up, did all the grades, was involved with lots of bands, orchestras, choirs and other ensembles, went on music courses every holiday. I was pretty good, I played clarinet in National Youth Wind Ensemble of Great Britain and studied at Junior Guildhall Music School on Saturdays. My parents took me to hundreds of operas, ballets and concerts over the years, I loved it all but I always felt there was something missing.
I left the classical music world at 18 and tried studying biochemistry. that was a mistake. I then spent my twenties working minimum wage jobs (still am in my thirties) and on the side gaining a deep knowledge of every other genre of music including pop, jazz, rock, folk, world, musicals. You name it, I listen to it. During this time I found I loved radio and was involved with my local hospital radio for several years.
As well as radio I tried many music related things including music events, promotion, being a sales assistant in the music section at HMV Trocadero (best job I ever had before they went into administration). Nothing ever quite gelled.
My mum used to say I was drifting. This is not true.
I’ve always been searching, not drifting. Searching for that one all consuming passion. I knew it involved music but didn’t know exactly what type of music or what it would involve.
Then on 23rd March 2018 I discovered the music of Florence Price, I listened to her Symphony in E Minor and I stopped searching.
Florence Price awoke a love for classical music that I thought had long since died. Turns out it wasn’t dead, just dormant.
After Florence Price I discovered just how many women composers there were. Growing up I didn’t know any women composers. Of all the thousands of hours I spent playing music and listening to music I didn’t learn about any. My story is not unique, so many people grow up thinking that classical music was written exclusively by dead white men.
I started listening to this huge amount of music and fell in love with all of these composers. The more I discovered and listened, the more incensed I became. I couldn’t believe that all this incredible music had been missing from my life until now.
In fact, before March 2018 I couldn’t name a single historical woman composer. Now, I can name a hundred off the top of my head easily.
A friend told me way back in 2012:
“Don’t find something you love, find something that makes you angry, because you’ll want to fight to change it.”
Wow, was he right. My previous lack of knowledge and awareness of women composers made me angry. The continuing underrepresentation and marginalisation of women composers in classical music made me furious and I really wanted to fight to change it.
That is how I discovered my mission in life, to find and champion all these phenomenal women. To tell their stories, introduce people to their music and to rewrite classical music history.
That’s how The Daffodil Perspective radio show came into existence.
I’m proud to say it is completely gender equal in composer numbers and airtime, as far as I know it may be the first ever gender equal classical music radio show.
That’s my story and the story of The Daffodil Perspective.
Oh and why call it The Daffodil Perspective? I just like the name. Also daffodils are my favourite flower, they’re so bright and cheerful, they always make me smile. Perfect imagery for my life’s mission.
Here’s to a more gender equal future!
Elizabeth de Brito