Fellows' Presentation

Conducting Oneself: Bodies, Identities, and Power on the Podium

Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo

Part of the 2019–2020 Fellows' Presentation Series

Lecture by Daniel M. Callahan RI '20

Free and open to the public.


At Radcliffe, Daniel M. Callahan is beginning his second book, “Conducting Oneself,” which examines how the bodies, identities, and repertoire of orchestra conductors produce, legitimate, and limit their movements on the podium and off, from conservatories to coveted positions. Drawing on movement analysis, oral history, and affect theory, the project explores how conductors visibly embody their empathy with scores while simultaneously projecting expertise and power. This balancing act has historically belonged to the maestro, a title that encapsulates the Eurocentric and patriarchal culture of classical music. Focusing on the bodies and identities (gender, sexuality, race, and disability) of conductors that challenge the maestro stereotype, “Conducting Oneself” charts both the exclusionary politics and increasing desire for diversity in classical music and the pipeline to the podium.