Musicologist lectures Feb. 22 on campus

Kendra Preston Leonard

Kendra Preston Leonard

Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music presents a lecture by noted musicologist Kendra Preston Leonard at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in Bliss Recital Hall on the YSU campus.

The lecture is titled “Music for Warrior Women” and is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Wick Avenue deck for a nominal fee.

Leonard’s work focuses on women and music in 20th century America, France and Britain; music and screen history; and music and disability. She is the author of Shakespeare, Madness, and Music: Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations, and is the contributing editor of Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon. Her current project examines music for the early modern period on screen.

The musicology guest lectures are sponsored by the Dana Research Society, a student organization devoted to the promotion of student research in music. In addition to hosting guest lectures by distinguished musicologists, the group meets regularly for film screenings and music discussions. For more information about the program, email Ewelina Boczkowska at

The lecture will focus on the ways in which scoring for female characters in the imaginary past and future requires the use of musical tropes and attributes familiar to modern audiences, yet still evokes different points in history. The music for cinematic male heroes and superheroes, be they set in real history, an alternative reality close to our own, or are from an entirely different universe, all share a number of fairly obvious characteristics: percussion and brass, starting either quietly and growing in volume or starting with a big bang and a short, repeated motif with lots of staccato, suggesting a march or other impressive entrance. But what kinds of music are used for women in leadership roles? How are their skills and powers and the situations in which they must use them aurally signified? Leonard will explore the music for two very different female leaders: Queen Elizabeth I, as depicted in two films directed by Shakur Kapur; and Zoe Washburne of Joss Whedon’s television show Firefly.