Fellows & Staff

Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey

My role in college is to support the academic and extra-curricular music-making activities of students and staff across the college.

About me

Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, I hold masters’ degrees in orchestral conducting and percussion performance from Ithaca College in upstate New York, an MSt in musicology from Merton College and a DPhil in music from St Catherine’s College. In addition to my role as Director of Performance, I am a postdoctoral researcher on the AHRC-funded Transforming 19th-Century Historically Informed Practice (TCHIP) research project based at the Faculty of Music and I am the Associate Conductor for the Orchestra of St John’s (OSJ), a professional orchestra based between London and Oxfordshire. My performance work is largely directed at addressing social justice and environmental sustainability issues through orchestral socio-musical projects and commissions. Recently this has included OSJ’s Afghan Women’s Orchestra Oxford Residency (March 2019), Water-Culture: Women’s Work(s) song cycle commissioning project (2012-2020), conducting the Oxford University Orchestra on tour to Japan and its collaboration with El Sistema Japan in Fukushima (March 2019), and the Displaced Voices Project (January 2019), which amplified the voices of young refugees through the combination of music and poetry.

Research

My research is in the social-psychology of orchestral practices and the social organisation of orchestral music-making with an interest in music and social justice, and socio-musical interventions. My doctoral work explored authorship and creativity in orchestras with a focus on what influences musicians’ decision making about how they perform their individual parts. A recent chapter, The Body Orchestral in Collaborative and Distributed Processes in Contemporary Music-Making, edited by Lauren Redhead and Richard Glover, describes the cognitive mechanisms that underpin orchestral co-performer communication. My current work on the TCHIP research project uses empirical methods to explore the effect of late-19th-century expressive asynchrony on musicians and audience members.

I am Conducting Associate and Director of Research for the Oxford Conducting Institute where I teach conducting masterclasses and oversee the biennial OCI International Conducting Institute Conference, and am currently co-editing a special edition of Music Performance Research (2019) on Conducting Studies.