By the time Diane Jones (BM Composition ’06) started her
undergraduate program at UD she had already enjoyed career success in the
business world. By the time she left, she knew that no matter what happened
next, any future job had to be musically related.
Jones completed a MM from Setnor School of Music at Syracuse
University, where she was awarded a Billy Joel Fellowship in Composition, and
then she began working for WCNY radio, part of central New York’s public
broadcasting system. At first, Jones worked part-time filling in when another
host was out, which allowed her to learn all about radio – different time slots
and different areas. During these years she also spent time composing and
performing whenever she could.
Jones wanted to create her own show, something at WCNY, but
also something that could go beyond and eventually be syndicated to public
radio stations around the country, and Feminine Fusion was born. Feminine
Fusion explores women in classical music. According to Jones, the ‘fusion’
comes not from a blend of musical styles, but from the many ways women
influence music. “It is what women do and how they influence – how the create,
perform and inspire.”
Jones grew up with a houseful of brothers, and in her first
career had learned to stand up for herself and not be afraid to ask difficult questions
and dig deep to find answers, so she didn’t immediately concern herself with
gender bias in the music world. “Ten years
ago I paid no heed to bias,” Jones says, “but the farther I got into classic
music the more I saw the need for a show like this.” She explains that as
recently as 2013 Vasily Petrenko of the National Youth Orchestra and the Royal
Liverpool Philharmonic said that, “a cute girl on a podium means that musicians
think about other things,” and in 2014 Finnish conductor Jorma Panula claimed
that women can only conduct “feminine” music like Debussy or Ravel.
Since the program’s debut this fall, episodes have focused
on female composers such as Clara Schuman and Julia Wolfe; teachers like Nadia
Boulanger; young female composers; music written by men to honor the women in
their lives; and all-female chamber groups. Feminine Fusions airs on Sunday
afternoons on WCNY, and can be live streamed from their website www.wcny.org.
Find out more about Diane Jones, including her compositions
and upcoming performances, on her Facebook Page, Pet Dragon Music.