Dame Ethel Mary Smyth, DBE was an English composer and a member of the women's suffrage movement. Smyth was born in London, as the fourth of a family of eight children. Her father, J. H. Smyth, who was a Major-General in the Royal Artillery, was very much opposed to her making a career in music.
Undeterred, Smyth was determined to become a composer, studied with a private tutor, and then attended the Leipzig Conservatory, where she met many composers of the day. Her compositions include songs, works for piano, chamber music, orchestral and concertante works, choral works, and operas.