Kulturgeschichte der Musik

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Naemi Flemming, M.Ed.

Curriculum vitae

Naemi Flemming is a research assistant at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg. Since April 2020 she has been responsible for the project Staging Women Composers in the Emmy Noether Research Group Music History on Stage: Constructions of the Musical Past in Music Theater.

Following her teaching degree for Music and Mathematics, which she received in 2018 from the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, she studied Musicology until 2021. In her master thesis on the musical expression of sorrow, she analyzed the musical language in selected compositions from the 17th to the 20th century. She thereby examined the dramaturgy of sound models for sadness, particularly in operas. From 2017 to 2020 she worked as a teacher for Mathematics and Music at different secondary schools (i. a. in band classes). Additionally, she was a student research assistant in the Emmy Noether research group from 2018 to 2020.

She is working on her PhD-project, which examines music theater that stages the history of women composers and thus makes their stories perceivable via the medium of music.


Staging Women Composers: Music Theater on Musical Agency of Women

Once they enter the spot light of music theater, it seems like women composers such as Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn), Clara Schumann (née Wieck) or Alma Mahler (née Schindler) leave the shadows casted by the ‘great men’, indicated by their last names. Often using only their first names, the titles of those plays run the risk of making them appear ‘small’ on the one hand (even though they do not stand behind the ‘great composers’ anymore), but on the other hand they illustrate them as ‘independent’ (nevertheless they mostly appear in connection with them). The staging of a women composer often employs different roles: She does not only appear as a composer, but at the same time she is wife, widow, sister, daughter, mother, muse, femme fatale, star, student, teacher, performer etc. Does this reflect the change of perspective which musicological gender studies have called for (focusing on the cultural agency of women)? Or does music theater stand hereby in the tradition of a music historiography that clings to romantic idealization of the genius and its oeuvre? In what capacity do the works of the featured women composers appear in the musical language of the plays? And what purpose do the music and stories of the related men serve therein?

Applying methods from music theater- and performance research, musicological gender studies and music theory, the PhD-project analyzes music theater on women composers. The aim is to explore what solutions historiographical music theater finds, in order to write music history anew, and portray what woman composers had to say (particularly musically).


Daniel Samaga (Changed: 19 Dec 2022)  |