Daniel M. Callahan is an assistant professor of music at Boston College. His research crosses music, dance, and performance studies to explore how music moves people.
At Radcliffe, 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.
Callahan is currently finishing his first book, “The Dancer from the Music,” which explores how American modern dance developed out of, depended on, and eventually distanced itself from canonical concert music. His research appears in the Journal of the American Musicological Society and The Futures of Dance Studies (University of Wisconsin Press, forthcoming). In 2018, he gave public talks on Leonard Bernstein’s conducting for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Library of Congress, both now online. Callahan was the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Music at the University of Chicago after earning his PhD in music from Columbia University.