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Women Creators in Music during the 1920s and 1930s

December 1, 2022 @ 9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Women Creators in Music during the 1920s and 1930s

Women’s musical creativity flourished in the two decades between the World Wars. Composer, performer, dancer, choreographer, music scholar, concert organizer, instrument maker, and radio engineer were just some of their many creative roles. Their contributions spanned continents and cultures; their musical work might have been specific to their region, centered in a musical tradition, or global in its scope. Yet it is often too easy to subsume such musical lives either under broader considerations of “women” or within the structural discussions of networks and cultural fields. This one-day conference focuses instead on the individual and their unique agency, proposing that contributors also explore how a caring, respectful, and reparative approach might celebrate female creativity without diminishing the complexities of lives bounded by systemic geopolitical and social disempowerment.

The conference is organized in three sessions centering on the topics of agency, historiography, and creativity. Each session begins with four/five short, eight-minute presentations that offer a spectrum of case studies. The presentations are followed by about forty minutes of discussion.

Zoom Link
Meeting ID: 921 3229 5393



9:30 am  Welcome (Annegret Fauser)

9:45 am   Agency (Chair: Briana Nave)
Destiny Meadows: “Economies of Movement: Examining Capital in Katherine Dunham’s 1938 Production L’Ag’Ya”
Kira Gaillard: “Ella May, A Striker”
Justin T. Wilson: “A “Voice That Runs”: The Early Career of Bidu Sayão”
Bonny H. Miller: “Mary Carson: From Stage to Cylinder and Back”

11:00 am  Coffee

11:30 am  Historiography (Chair: Kira Gaillard)
Briana M. Nave: “Empirical Distance and Hazel Stanton at the Crossroads of Creativity”
Eduardo Sato: “Reparative Women’s Genealogies: Vera Janacópulos and Elsie Houston”
Ken Tianyuan Ge: “Smashing in the House of Jazz: Blanche Calloway, Masculinist Bop Historiography, and the Problem of Anteriority”
Kimberly Francis: “Marcelle de Manziarly: Theosophy’s Siren”
Matteo Sammartano: “Germaine Tailleferre, the Talent Underneath the Modesty”

1:00 pm Catered Lunch for All Attendees (Room 201)

2:30 pm  Creation (Chair: Justin T. Wilson)
Layla Butler: “Priaulx Rainier’s String Quartet (1939) and Interwar Britain”
Joshua Harton: “‘Criticized on the spot whether you like it or not, and all is recorded, so you better be for it’: The Composers Forum-Laboratory”
Melissa Camp : “‘My Princess,’ I am ‘At Your Service!’: Munira al-Mahdiyya and Egyptian Opera during the Women’s Awakening”
Tara Jordan: “‘Mi, Monastir’: Women’s Musical Life in Interwar Monastir”

Organizing Committee
Annegret Fauser, Kira Gaillard, Joshua Harton, Destiny Meadows, Briana Nave, Matteo Sammartano, Justin Wilson


December 1, 2022
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Event Categories:


Hill Hall, Room 103
145 E Cameron Ave
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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