Women Conductors: A Study of an Italian Major Symphony Orchestra

By Maran, Daniela Acquadro | Gender & Behaviour, December 2008 | Go to article overview

Women Conductors: A Study of an Italian Major Symphony Orchestra


Maran, Daniela Acquadro, Gender & Behaviour


Abstract

The investigation sought the opinion of members of Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI on a performance directed by a woman. The assumption was that not being used to be directed by a woman would affect their opinion on the individual's ability and on all women conductors, i.e. if few women are invited to be guest conductors, it must mean that there are few women conductors who are good enough. A survey of 58 musicians interviewed using Alceste 4.6 statistical program revealed that musicians have stereotypes as regards women conductors and their ability to lead an orchestra. Such stereotypes are due to the small number of women who have been conducting. However, findings indicate that orchestras everywhere have much to gain from women's participation in terms of both visibility and opportunities to attract funding and sponsorships. Implications of these findings for orchestra management strategy and future investigation are also discussed.

Introduction

The presence of women in artistic and musical organizations has been explored by scholars in several disciplines. Three major lines of investigation can be discerned in these studies: the inclusion of women in the ensemble, women in leadership roles in orchestras, and the obstacles that bar women's access to the podium. In the first area - women's inclusion - Lehmann (1982) addressed the demographic composition of symphony orchestras, traditionally seen as elite, male organizations: in the United States, for instance, women began to be found in orchestras in the 1950s, whereas their inclusion in British and German orchestras dates only since the seventies.

The literature on the composition of groups and organizations provides several clues about what we can expect when the proportion of women in orchestras increases. We know, for example, that women and men differ in their interaction styles (Moreland and Levine 1992), and that same-gender groups often show fewer conflicts, greater predictability and less anxiety on the part of their members than mixed-gender groups (Jackson 1992; Morgan and Lassiter 1992; Pfeffer 1983). But the absence of conflictual processes is not necessarily an advantage. The norms that tend to emerge in homogeneous groups can limit both the personal learning of members and their collective task performance: studies indicate that the conflict prompted by diversity and moderate deviation from traditional norms can enhance group creativity, a matter of special importance for the performance of groups such as symphony orchestras (Hackman 1992; Nemeth and Staw 1989).

A major contribution in this area was made by Allmendinger and Hackman (1995), who analyzed how including women or increasing their proportional representation affects musicians' attitudes, perceptions and behaviour, group processes (in terms of the quality of relationships) and the orchestra's organizational characteristics. Their findings indicate that when women enter an all-male or maledominated group, there will be a significant change in the level of satisfaction and the group's perception of itself as an ensemble1. Other effects found included heightened tensions and problems for individual players and the orchestra. As the proportion of women in the orchestra continues to increase, measures then tend to return to the levels reported before the entry of women (Allmendinger, Hackman and Lehman 1996).

According to researchers such as Eagly (1998) and School (1998), women's representation in orchestras is destined to rise until it stabilizes at what Allmendinger, Hackman and Lehman (1996) refer to as a balanced gender composition (School reports that the proportion of all player positions filled by women in professional symphony orchestras averaged 45% in 1996). In this connection, Lane (2002) invites women musicians to seek a more prominent role: in an article entitled 'Shoulders of the Orchestra', he states that whereas the podium is still a male domain, women can occupy a leadership role as concertmasters. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Upgrade your membership to receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad‑free environment

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Women Conductors: A Study of an Italian Major Symphony Orchestra
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved in your active project from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.