In the run-up to International Women’s Day, Durham students are celebrating the music of an alumna whose composing career began at the university 70 years ago.

Ailsa Dixon (1932-2017), who studied music at Durham in the 1950s, is one of the many women composers who have been sidelined in musical history. Only a handful of her works were performed in her lifetime, until in 2017 her anthem These Things Shall Be was chosen for premiere as part of a project to highlight the work of female composers. 

Now Ailsa’s music is returning to Durham as part of an enterprising performance project convened by Durham students Dana Al-Tajer, President of the university’s Keyboard Society, and Sophie Loftus, President of the Chamber Music Society. 

Hosted by St Mary’s, the celebration of her music at this event entitled These Things Shall Be: Ailsa Dixon will be held in Kenworthy Hall on 6th March at 7.30pm and will feature the most wide-ranging programme of her works ever to be performed in a single concert. 

Many of these works were still in manuscript, and some will be premieres. The evening will include a discussion of Ailsa’s music with her daughter Josie Dixon and members of the music department.

Tickets are free of charge and can be reserved online at the Durham Student Theatre website.