Adelaide-based composer Anne Cawrse has written A Room of Her Own, a string quartet that references Virginia Woolf’s seminal text A Room of One’s Own. Clive Pagetcaught up with her ahead of the work’s premiere with the Australian String Quartet to learn more about the work and how you go about exploring through music what it means to be a female composer in the 21st century.

What led you to read Virginia Woolf’s  A Room Of One’s Own and what was your reaction on reading it?

I’ve had A Room of One’s Ownon my bookshelf for some time, and while I’m sure I’d read some of it before, it was only in mid 2018 that I finally read the whole work. My first reaction was ‘why didn’t I read this sooner?!’

I’d known of the concept of having a ‘room’ in which to create, but I was unaware that Woolf asserts equally that one also needs money. It was refreshing and surprising to read this; for me at least, while I receive regular commissions, it is my ‘other’ work that provides most of my income and offsets the time I spend writing. And here is Woolf in 1928, saying that creative...