An undated portrait of Elinor Dunsmuir, the granddaughter Craigdarroch Castle builder Robert Dunsmuir. Elinor’s music compositions have recently been uncovered. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Unearthed music compositions written by Dunsmuir heiress

Music discovered in England by Craigdarroch curator to be played this Saturday at GVPL event

A piece of Victoria history fell into Bruce Davies’ lap, and it came in the form of a small wooden box.

Davies, the curator of Craigdarroch Castle, had spent some time in England in a country home occupied by descendants of Robert Dunsmuir, the original builder of the Castle. Davies was hoping to find more photos of the castle or its occupants, but instead came across a box full of original sheet music composed by Dunsmuir’s granddaughter, Elinor.

“It’s extraordinary work; music for plays, trios, chamber music, a piano concerto, and two fully scored out ballets with story lines and parts for all the orchestras,” Davies said. “I knew she was an accomplished musician, but didn’t know she composed.”

To share this discovery with the public, Craigdarroch Castle is partnering with the Greater Victoria Public Library to host a free event Saturday (April 28) called “Elinor Dunsmuir: An Extraordinary Life.”

RELATED: Craigdarroch Castle teams up with library

The event will include an illustrated talk about Elinor and her life, and also offer a listen to some of her work as recorded by University of Victoria graduate Elizabeth Gerow.

The music is described as unusual for the time because in the 1920s, jazz, swing and big band were the norm. Dunsmuir’s work is said to be a unique blend of classical and jazz that shows off her experience living in Europe.

“Elinor found that she didn’t really fit into Victoria society. She liked Europe, she like to gamble and lost a fortune at Monte Carlo before her mother sent for her in the 1930s,” Davies said. “It’s important to note that she was a brilliant person, but that the constricts of the day prevented her from entering the family business.”

RELATED: NEW ERA BEGINS: Victoria’s Craigdarroch Castle expands its operation

All of Dunsmuir’s work is being recorded and Davies hopes to put it onto CDs to be made available to the public in September.

“Elinor Dunsmuir: An Extraordinary Life” runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Central Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, 735 Broughton St. Those wishing to attend are asked to pre-register by calling 250-940-4875 or online at gvpl.ca/event/elinor-dunsmuir-an-extraordinary-life/

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Sooke school district creates new comprehensive school health position

Ruchi McArthur will develop framework to improve wellness of students

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

Westhills Stadium launches expanded stadium with ceremony, excitement

expanded stadium accommodates 6,000 spectators

NCAA basketball comes to UVic this fall

Eight-team tournament features top university women’s basketball teams Nov. 28-30

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Most Read