"A Jewish Maestra and a Lady too": Reflections on Femininity in the Career of Ethel Stark
Ethel Stark (1910–2012) was one of the most important conductors and concert violinists in Canada in the Twentieth century. This article highlights how an Austro-Canadian Jewish woman who lived outside the constraints of conventional domesticity, both navigated through and defied the ideals of the “Cult of True Womanhood” and spearheads a movement of feminism in music. I argue that Stark’s exposure to Jewish cultural traditions of social justice and womanhood in her childhood formed a critical dimension of her feminist activism later in her life, and in particular in the founding of The Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra (1940).
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