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Durham University

Music

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Music Department - International Women’s Day

(7 March 2019)

This week the music department held two events to raise awareness of the ways that gender categories and inequality intersect with musical life, continuing the discussions we’re currently having in the department as part of the Athena Swan initiative.

The first, a research symposium on gender and music, brought together undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff for an afternoon of short presentations on research projects currently ongoing in the department. Topics included female composers in eighteenth-century France; cross-dressing opera singers in nineteenth-century Vienna; the operatic male gaze in Bizet’s Carmen; Chinese music education; Hindustani performers; the Society of Women Musicians; the feminisation of the harp; gender and authenticity in pop personae; and the current school curriculum. This was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and give each other feedback, as well as to reflect on the ways that music has been—and still is—a gendered activity.

The second was a lunchtime concert celebrating women in music, organised in conjunction with Music Durham and performed by students and staff. The programme largely featured works by women composers, with some world premieres by current students! We hope that this will become an annual event, with the aim of showcasing female creativity and addressing the underrepresentation of women composers in concert programming.