Anika Babel addresses the club on Monday, 24th April 2023 in the Offaly History Centre at 8pm. Members of Tullamore Gramophone Society are invited to join us for this event.
Anika Babel is a PhD researcher at the UCD School of Music. Her research, supervised by Dr Laura Anderson, explores representations of the piano on screen and how ideas of class, gender and race are imparted through its use. Anika is founding president of the Dublin Musicology Collective and co-editor of the international peer-reviewed journal The Musicology Review. Invested in public musicology, she consults for and publishes with RTÉ, and, through her involvement with the Creative Futures Academy, has released a visualized-research booklet, Reel Pianos. Anika has shared her work at conferences in California, Athens and Lucca, further to presenting at annual Society for Musicology in Ireland events. Beyond Saint Cecilia: Representations of Women at the Piano in Mainstream Cinema The Saint Cecilia Profile demonstrates a curious paradigm for representations of women at the piano. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, was not actually a musician. Yet, centuries' worth of paintings and literature depict her as the embodiment of music itself. These portraits led to Cecilia's imagined musicianship becoming synonymous with purity, beauty, and subservience. In depicting women at the piano in mainstream cinema, many of these ideas have been perpetuated. By establishing the Saint Cecilia Profile, this presentation unveils the limiting screen tropes that have cemented domestic pianism as the convention and professional pianism as the exception for women characters. Drawing on more recent examples, however, we can observe how contemporary filmmakers like Greta Gerwig and Céline Sciamma are increasingly challenging restrictive models of women at the piano. We will explore how such filmmakers are now enlisting the piano as a site of liberation, expression, ambition, and complication for women characters.