Forthcoming Events

All events are held at Edinburgh Society of Musicians

3 Belford Road, EH4 3BL (by Dean Bridge)

Admission: £7 members; £10 non-members, students free on production of student ID.

Student membership of the Society is also free.


13th October
Anthony Negus
‘Rhythm and Silence in the Tristan and Parsifal preludes’

This talk will be an exploration of the power and tension created by Wagner’s use of silence as a vivid part of his rhythm. It is the inner rhythm that informs and fires his works: an inner rhythm that has its source in Beethoven, and most especially the 9th Symphony which played a crucial role in Wagner’s artistic development. The power of Wagner’s harmony is bound up with these two elements of rhythm and silence, like fire, water and air in the Ring.

Anthony Negus played Wagner on the piano from an early age, and imbibed his works at Covent Garden, and Bayreuth in the 1960’s. In the 1970’s he was a musical assistant at Bayreuth, and in the 80’s conducted many performances for WNO, especially Parsifal. Since 2000 he has built up a reputation at Longborough for Wagner excellence, first with the small Ring cycle 2002/2004, then the full Ring 2007 – 2013, but also Tannhauser, Tristan and Der fliegende Holländer. This year marks the launch of a new Ring cycle with Das Rheingold.

17th November
Emma Mockett (Soprano), Mark Sandon (Piano)

In the first half, Emma sang ‘Marietta’s Lied‘ from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt, Berg’s ‘Die Nachtigal’, and three songs by Strauss, ‘Zueignung‘,  ‘And die Nacht‘  and ‘Ich kann nicht sitzen‘ from Elektra, accompanied by Mark Sandon.  The second half opened with a performance by Mark of Rubinstein’s piano arrangement of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll. Emma ended her recital with ‘Elsa’s Dream’ from Lohengrin and ‘Dich, teure Halle’ from Tannhäuser.



8th December

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting will take place on Sunday 8th December 2019. Following the AGM members are invited free of charge to a Christmas social evening including a buffet and drinks. During the evening entertainment will be provided by Claudia Wood, our 2018 Bayreuth scholar and her accompanist.


19th January
Katy Hamilton
‘Wagner, Paris and the origins of The Flying Dutchman’ 

How did Wagner get from a French-language opera set in Scotland, to a German-language piece about Norway? From the travails of establishing himself in Paris, to a fraught sea-crossing from Riga to London, we explore the complex origins of this work and the German and Scottish influences that lie behind this dramatic masterpiece.

Dr. Katy Hamilton is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for a host of organisations including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and BBC Proms. She is the editor of two books on Brahms, and a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Record Review. You can find out more about her work at

16th February
Anthony Ogus
‘Staging Wagner’

In “Staging Wagner”, Anthony Ogus will describe the historical evolution in the different styles and theories of staging of Wagner from Romantic Realism in the 19th century to Deconstruction in the present day. The talk will be illustrated with photographs of various productions exemplifying the evolution.

Professor Anthony Ogus CBE is a retired academic lawyer, an Emeritus Professor at the Universities of Manchester and Rotterdam, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He has published a book on operagoing, Travels with my Opera Glasses, and writes a monthly article in the Opera Now magazine

15th March
Rolland Man
‘From Bayreuth to Babylon – Wagner Goes to Hollywood’

Ever since the beginning of the sound era, cinema seems to have had a love affair with Wagner’s music. Comedies and tragedies, avant-garde and mainstream films have used some of his most famous pieces. We will look at some cinematic examples and explore how filmmakers used his music for different purposes.

Rolland Man is a Teaching Fellow in Literature and Film Studies at The University of Edinburgh, Centre for Open Learning. He has a special interest in the interrelations of music, image and text.

Event postponed to 18th April 2021 due to Coronavirus pandemic

18th April 2021
Stephen Johnson
‘Janne’s Rhine Journey’

Stephen Johnson is a regular broadcaster and music critic with the BBC. With his encyclopaedic knowledge of classical music he makes natural comparisons between different composers and in his talk he will explore the link between Sibelius and Wagner.



Event postponed due to Coronavirus pandemic

Matthew Shiel 
‘Wagner and Liszt: transcriptions of a love triangle’.

One of the most valuable tasks that the piano virtuoso Franz Liszt undertook for Richard Wagner was to transcribe his operas for piano, disseminating Wagner’s music far beyond the Bayreuth Festspielhaus to the domestic home audience. Their published correspondence strongly suggests they were madly in love; this lecture explores the nature of said love and the role Cosima Wagner (née Liszt) may have played in this unusual love triangle.

Matthew Shiel is an Honours (first class) graduate in piano, harpsichord and organ performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he won several academic and performance prizes including the Mary and Raymond Thomson Organ Scholarship, Bach Prize for Piano, Harpsichord & Organ and Agnes Millar Prize for Outstanding Harmony & Counterpoint.  After serving four years as Director of Music, Choirmaster and Organist of Fairmilehead, Church of Scotland, he was appointed lecturer in interdisciplinary improvisation at Edinburgh Napier University.  Creative Scotland awarded him a bursary to study Dalcroze Eurythmics with Monica Wilkinson. He is currently associate piano teacher to Alison House, Edinburgh University alongside his private piano tuition studio in Edinburgh City Centre. Matthew Shiel will make his concerto debut this summer as solo pianist with the Abbotsford String Orchestra conducted by Derek Williams, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor (K.466) alongside the world première of Alfredo Caponnetto’s Baroque Concerto.