Female Pianists and their Male Critics in Nineteenth-Century Paris

Katharine Ellis

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Abstract

The sudden appearance of several female concert pianists in Paris in the mid 1840s forced male journalists to develop new critical rhetorics. Criticism of the period became saturated with problematic notions of gender, the use of the body, and levels of acting in performance. Because they were interpreters rather than composers, women pianists challenged traditional
ideas about the meaning of pianistic virtuosity and were central to the enlargement of the concert repertory. In comparison with male colleagues, however, they were disadvantaged, caught in a web of conflicting ideas concerning the relative value of particular keyboard repertories that were themselves gendered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-385
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of the American Musicological Society
Volume50
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1997

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