This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Women Choral Conductors in the Academy: A Case Study




Bryan, Claudia

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


The field of choral conducting has been traditionally male-dominated. As more women enter the field, are they finding more challenges or encouragements? This qualitative case study explored the career paths women choral conductors in the United States have taken to find success. This study focused on in-depth, open-ended interviews with four women who have achieved success as choral conductors in collegiate settings. The data collection and analysis involved ascertaining rich individual profiles and searching for emergent themes in order to discover any connections among the women conductors. This study yielded rich discussion on main themes surrounding (a) Support Systems, (b) Biology versus Personality: The Source of Strength, (c) Be True to Yourself, (d) Focus on the Music, (e) Gesture: What They See is What You Get, (f) Balancing Act, (g) The Academy: Where Are the Women, and (h) Motivations and Encouragements. Ultimately the study resulted in three recommendations: each woman must know and be true to herself, support other women, and choose to pursue her goals as a choral conductor.