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Grove Music’s 2023 spoof article contest - winner!

Announcing the winner of the 2023 Grove Music Online spoof contest

Happy April Fool’s Day! I’m pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Grove Music Online Spoof Article Contest is Steven Griffin.

This year’s judges were:

  • Deane Root, Editor in Chief of Grove Music Online, and Professor of Music emeritus, Director and Fletcher Hodges, Jr. Curator of the Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Root has been immersed in Grove style since he worked with Stanley Sadie on the first New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
  • Kimberly A. Francis is a feminist musicologist and Professor of Music at the University of Guelph where she also serves as the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies for the College of Arts and an affiliate of the Sexualities, Genders, and Social Change program. Together with Tes Slominski, she is Editor in Chief of the Grove Music Online Women, Gender, and Sexuality update project.
  • Tes Slominski is a music and sound scholar who studies gender, sexuality, and race in Ireland and in its diaspora. She published Trad Nation: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Irish Traditional Music (Wesleyan, 2020). Together with Kimberly A. Francis, she is Editor in Chief of the Grove Music Online Women, Gender, and Sexuality update project.
  • Scott Gleason is Acquisitions Editor for Music Reference at Oxford University Press, a position that includes editing for Grove Music Online.

This year’s winning entry, by Steven Griffin, is “Back to Bolivia.”

Back to Bolivia Verismo opera by Newton Grosvenor, based on the little known 1878 plot by Bolivian nationalists to exhume Simón Bolívar’s body from its burial place in the National Pantheon of Venezuela, Caracas, and to bring it to La Paz for reinterment. The opera has never been performed in its entirety, perhaps due to the composer’s stipulation that an actual corpse must be used to portray the body of Bolívar in order to maintain the realism of the verismo ideal. Fans of Grosvenor were prevented from staging a performance at his funeral despite the composer requesting that his remains be used in this way in his last will and testament. At midnight on July 24 each year (Simón Bolivar Day), a group of ‘Grosvenorites’ still gather at Grosvenor’s graveside in Whitby Cemetery to sing the opening chorus ‘Did you remember the sledgehammer and crowbar?’ a cappella.


M. Béclard d’Harcourt: ‘Le folklore musical de la region andine: Equateur, Pérue, Bolivié’, EDMC, 1/v (1922) 6543ff

A. Rawton-Bawdy: ‘Verisissimo – Ultra Realism in Grand Opera’ Oxford 1956

H. Erichsen ‘Cremation Versus Burial’ J.P. Morton & Co 1886

X. Hume ‘Loosening the Plot’ Brașov 1970


For his winning entry Steven will receive $100 in OUP books and a year’s subscription to Grove Music Online.

Judge Root noted the entry is a spoof of the 1992 New Grove Dictionary of Opera entries, as if written by one of my mentors, Gerard Behague, who wrote much of the South American music coverage for the 1980 New Grove. Perfectly in keeping with the libretto-focused entries of New Grove Opera, with clever grave-humor puns in the bibliography (Exhume as the author of an article with a title that could be read as undoing a burial plot, and published by “brushoff”).

Please join me in congratulating Steven Griffin and thanking all those who submitted! We look forward to next year’s contest.

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