Date of Degree
DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)
William LaRue Jones
Helen Pleydell-Bouverie, the Countess of Radnor, who conducted an amateur ladies' orchestra from 1881 until 1896, was a critical early pioneer in the development of female orchestral performance in England. Lady Radnor's orchestra was widely praised, and she herself was highly regarded by British royalty, artistic elite, and lower-class audiences alike. While her probable status as the first British woman to regularly and publicly conduct an orchestra merits recognition on its own, her work is of yet further interest as an important step in the advancement of women musicians from the salon to the professional concert hall. In a time when professional musicianship was not accessible to upper-class women, Lady Radnor became a significant influence in musical culture through patronage, pedagogy, entrepreneurship, and especially philanthropy. Indeed, charitable activity was the main structure that enabled aristocratic women to have public performance careers. Her example shows that the professional female conductors who emerged in the twentieth century were not rogue anomalies, but rather built upon the cultural foundation laid in part by the work of aristocratic amateurs.
conducting, female, orchestra
vii, 209 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 190-209).
Copyright © 2017 Philip Christopher Rudd