1 Not only was Emma Ritter-Bondy the first professor appointed to the Glasgow Athenaeum School of Music (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in 1892, this pioneer of arts education was, in fact, the first ever female professor in the United Kingdom.

2 Archivists at the RCS discovered Professor Ritter-Bondy’s appointment as Professor of Piano predated the University of Reading’s Edith Morley (previously thought to be the UK’s first female professor) by 16 years. She took up her role at an important time for Scottish women, who were only just being permitted to study at universities and she paved the way for generations of talented women to follow.

Glasgow Times:

3 Emma Maria Bondy was born in 1838 in Graz, Austria and studied at the Vienna Conservatory in the mid-1850s. She married artist Franz Ritter in Vienna in 1862 and had two children, Ida who was born in March 1874 and Camillo, in December 1875. When Franz died in 1879, Professor Ritter-Bondy decided to leave her home in Koblenz in Germany to start a new life in Glasgow.

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4 RCS archivists believe she may have been ‘headhunted’ to the city by Principal Allan Macbeth, who was on a mission to bring talented musicians from all over Europe to Glasgow. (Henri Verbrugghen, for example, violin teacher and de facto head of strings, was headhunted in 1915 to found the Sydney Conservatorium and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

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5 Emma Ritter-Bondy and her musical children, (Camillo went on to become a violin virtuoso and Scotland’s foremost violin teacher, and Ida became an accomplished pianist) gave a public concert at the Athenaeum Hall in Glasgow in 1893. She died a year later in Glasgow.