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A Critical Examination of Women Performers Within a Canadian, Feminist Context

Elaine Rusk

Abstract

This thesis, A Critical Examination of Women Performers Within a Canadian, Feminist Context, is based upon the premise that in order to re-discover the women of the past we must develop a new methodology, a fresh approach, to thinking about history. In order to understand the past we must begin with the present. By examining the context within which a woman can successfully pursue a career in the 1990s, with a consideration of the obstacles she has had to overcome, we can perhaps formulate a series of questions to ask our sisters of history in order that we might write their "herstory". This approach is being undertaken by several fine scholars as they re-visit the women composers of the past and bring their music once again to life. However, performers appear thus far to have been neglected. This study presupposes that the women who perform music play an important role in the musical life of society. By allowing these women to tell their own story in their own way we may in tum be able to gain a glimpse through the window of history.