Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
Dr Helen Rusak
Professor Cat Hope
In the age of postfeminism and fourth-wave feminism online, Australian women composers are theoretically able to “have it all,” however, the proportion of women in the occupation appears to have plateaued in recent years. In this thesis, I explore the multiple ways in which gender and feminism interact with practising Australian women composers. Feminist musicology has had a large impact on the Australian musicological scene, with theorists such as McClary and Macarthur bringing the subject of women in music to the fore in the 1990s, aiding efforts to advocate for reform on behalf of women composers. Additionally, third-wave feminist scholars such as Hartsock have argued for the study of women’s experiences within maledominated disciplines such as musicology. Using feminist standpoint theory as a foundation, this thesis examines the experiences of practising Australian women composers, finding multi-faceted and contradictory views of feminism and gender. A principal case study of composer Kate Moore examines how gender has shaped her career trajectory. Finally, a neo-Riemannian analysis of Moore’s work, Violins and Skeletons (2010), illustrates how gender may shape compositional strategies, speculating upon the fraught relationship women composers have with the conventions of Western art music because their work implicitly functions outside of, or against, the canon. This research highlights the importance of studying minority experiences in musicology, and how they relate to the dominant aesthetic and intellectual traditions.
Goh, T. (2019). Re-Composing Feminism: Australian women composers in the new millennium. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/2194