The Legacy of Elise Hall
Contemporary Perspectives on Gender and the Saxophone
Edited by Kurt Bertels and Adrianne Honnold
Edited volume - free ebook - PDFVIEW Edited volume - paperback
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Elise Hall, a pioneering musician in the history of the saxophone.
The saxophone is a globally popular instrument, often closely associated with renowned players such as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, or more recently, Kenny G. Less well known, however, is the historical presence of women saxophonists in the nineteenth century, shortly after the instrument’s invention. Elise Hall (1853–1924), a prominent wealthy socialite in Boston at the turn of the twentieth century, defied social norms by mastering the saxophone, an unconventional instrument for a woman of her time. Despite her career’s profound impact, Elise Hall remains relatively obscure in broader music communities. Her untiring work as an impresario, patron, and performer made a significant mark on the history of the instrument. Yet these contributions have been historically undervalued, largely due to gender bias.
This collection of essays, written by mainly women saxophonists/scholars, re-evaluates Elise Hall’s legacy beyond a discrete history, updating the narrative by highlighting the ways in which her identity and the saxophone itself have influenced historical accounts. By analyzing the sociocultural factors surrounding this innovative musician through a contemporary lens, the contributors challenge previously held narratives shaped by patriarchal structures and collectively affirm her place as one of the pioneers in the history of the saxophone.
Contributors: Andrew J. Allen (Georgia College & State University), Kurt Bertels (LUCA School of Arts - KU Leuven), Adrianne Honnold (Lewis University), Sarah McDonie (Indiana University Bloomington), Sarah V. Hetrick (University of Arkansas), Holly J. Hubbs (Ursinus College).
Ebook available in Open Access. This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).
9 List of Figures, Music Examples, and Tables
15 Rethinking Elise Hall’s Legacy
Kurt Bertels & Adrianne Honnold
PART I. Histories
29 “Incomparable Virtuoso”: A Reevaluation of the Performance Abilities of Elise Boyer Hall
Andrew J. Allen
57 Paying and Playing? Elise Hall and Patronage in the Early Twentieth Century
PART II. Critical Organology & Social Identity
81 Exhuming Elise: Rehabilitating Reputations
105 Instruments Telling History: Engaging Elise Hall through the Saxophone
PART III. Beyond Elise Hall: Gender, Media & Culture in the 1920s
127 “He puts the pep in the party”: Gender and Iconography in 1920s Buescher Saxophone Advertisements
Sarah V. Hetrick
153 Intersections of Gender, Genre, and Access: The Enterprising Career of Kathryne E. Thompson
Holly J. Hubbs
177 Elise Hall and the Saxophone: Updated Narratives and Future Considerations
Kurt Bertels & Adrianne Honnold
185 About the Authors
Format: Edited volume - free ebook - PDF
Illustrated, black & white
Publication: February 22, 2024
Languages: English: United States
Kurt Bertels is a postdoctoral researcher at LUCA School of Arts (KU Leuven), Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, and Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, Belgium, where he works on nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century saxophone history and performance practice.
This book features multi-faceted, scholarly investigations into Hall’s life and legacy. Well-documented evidence and well-reasoned arguments support the claims of Elise Hall’s stature as a musician and her unique role at the turn of the twentieth century. As noted in the introduction, the value of this publication rests “not with the discrete history of Hall or the saxophone, but with the myriad questions raised from a constellation of factors surrounding this innovative musician” and by placing all within the context of her time from the perspective of the twenty-first century, one hundred years after her death. Primary and secondary sources are drawn from the era of Hall’s lifetime as well as later articles, including very recent scholarship and methodologies. All work together to illuminate Hall both within historical context and through the lens of twenty-first-century considerations. - Stacy Maugans, Valparaiso University
“This text is a much-needed reevaluation of saxophonist Elise Boyer Hall and her contributions to our field. It isn’t a hard stretch to imagine and understand how a female-identifying saxophonist would’ve been viewed differently than a male-identifying saxophonist at the beginning of the 20th Century, and these authors collectively find evidence to overturn half a century of misinformation about her ability and potential misjudgments of her work ethic. This is a timely collection of research to help all saxophonists and musicologists rethink the cultural assumptions of the past, and opens up many new ideas and methodologies for future research. I highly recommend this text make its way onto every saxophonist’s bookshelf.” -Matthew Younglove, Tennessee Technological University