Faith Thompson is a PhD Musicology student. Her AHRC-funded project, ‘Gabriel Pierné (1863–1937) and the Composer-Conductor Identity’, is supervised by Prof. Barbara Kelly, Prof. Denis Herlin and Dr David Jones.
Pierné, the subject of Faith’s research, was one of the most prominent conductors of early twentieth-century Paris. He premièred works by Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, to name but a few, and steered the Colonne Orchestra for 22 years. In view of this long and prestigious conducting tenure, he has been deemed ‘one of the most powerful men on the postwar Paris [music] scene’ (Nichols 2002: 42). However, Pierné was also very active as a composer – more so than most of his fellow Parisian orchestral conductors – and primary sources show a strong awareness of his creative side. Faith’s research seeks to understand Pierné’s significant contribution as a conductor, as well as the reception of his composer-conductor identity, and the impact this dual role had on the propagation of his own music. By extension, Faith aims to shed new light on composer and conductor roles within Third Republic France, including the values which critics attached to them, and the effects of combining them.
Faith completed her BA (Music with French) and MusM (Musicology) at the University of Manchester. For both degrees, she was awarded the Music department’s prize for the highest overall mark of her cohort. She previously studied at the Junior RNCM for nine years.