Local orchestra conductor presents research at Oxford University

Posted in Community News, Music

June 14, 2016

Anna Edwards, Music Director and Conductor of Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island, has been invited to present research at the Oxford Conducting Institute in the U.K. from June 24-26.

The conference, in partnership with St. Anne’s College and the University of Oxford Faculty of Music, will explore issues pertaining to the study of conducting from a range of perspectives by bringing together research across a variety of disciplines including musicology, ethnomusicology, music education, philosophy, psychology, anthropology and sociology as well as from practitioners.

Dr. Edwards’ presentation, “Perceptions of the Hidden-Half: A Guide to Mentoring the Next Generation of Conductors,” will explore the vast disparity of professional orchestra music director positions held by men versus women. Based on Anna’s recent research, “Gender and the Symphonic Conductor,” her Oxford presentation will illustrate four emergent themes concerning women in the conducting profession: physical presentation, gesture, leadership, and the desire for more women in the field. She will also discuss the importance of equity concerning symphony conductors, current changes in the conducting field involving gender, understanding our unintentional gender biases, and what we can look forward to with more diverse and equitable leadership in our orchestras.

Edwards has served as the Music Director and Conductor of the Saratoga Orchestra since 2014 and is the conductor, founder and music director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra. Both orchestras offer strong educational components based in collaboration, which provide opportunities for talented area high school students to perform alongside members of professional music ensembles, such as the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. These ensembles regularly perform world premier compositions and feature Pacific Northwest composers and performing artists.

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