Centenary professor and students to appear at conference
February 22, 2017
SHREVEPORT, LA — On March 3-4, 2017, Centenary music professor Dr. Ross Smith and four of his students will present a lecture and film screening at the Music by Women Festival at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi.
This inaugural edition of the Festival will include papers, presentations, workshops, panels, lecture recitals, and performances relating to music composed, taught, and performed by women. The festival will feature concerts of both contemporary and historic music written by women composers.
The Centenary presentation, “You Score Like a Girl! The Current Plight of Female Film Composers,” explores gender issues in the hiring of film composers. Smith and his students will consider whether sex affects how a person interprets music, whether the brains of men and women are wired differently to find certain musical sounds more attractive, and if so, whether women compose music differently from men. The presentation also questions whether the perception of these differences would make film scores composed by women less valuable than those of male composers, and whether these perceptions could be a determining factor in why male directors often hire male composers over female composers.
The team of Centenary students includes Gabriela Giamalva, a neuropsychology major; Chelsea Glaspie, a business major with a concentration in accounting; Michaela Brantley, a psychology major; and Brittany Wagner, a biology major. The team explores these issues using a multidisciplinary approach including physiological aspects of hearing and interpreting musical sounds, psychological and sociological aspects of the effects of gender, business practices within the film industry regarding the hiring of female composers, and a musical analysis and comparison of film scores by men and women. Their work also includes an informal street survey asking the public whether or not they perceive any differences in film music composed by men vs. women. This survey provides an opening into studying the aspects of gender within film music.
The Music by Women Festival presentation is underwritten by a Centenary Student Faculty Research Grant awarded to Smith in November 2016.