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Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey is an academic and orchestral conductor committed to advancing social justice and environmental sustainability within music both on and off the podium. Cayenna’s bold orchestral initiatives fuse the local with the global, amplify leading environmental research, and engage with the pressing issues social issues of our time. She holds postgraduate degrees in orchestral conducting, percussion and musicology and a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Her research is focused on the social-psychological and socio-political aspects of orchestral music-making -- from the intricacies of co-performer communication in modern and historically informed contexts, to the politics of participation and orchestras' geo-political significance.

Cayenna is Director of Research for Oxford Conducting Institute where she has established the International Conducting Studies Conference series. She has worked as a professional conductor for 18 years in the US, UK and in Europe, is currently the Conducting Fellow of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and was recently featured in the Swedish documentary film about female conductors Call Me Madame Maestro (2021).

Research publications include ‘The Body Orchestral’ (2018), a book chapter exploring the cognitive mechanisms underpinning co-performer communication, ‘Digital Methods in the Study of the Nineteenth-Century Orchestra’ (2020) in the journal Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 'Technologies for investigating large ensemble performance' (2021) in the book Together in music: Participation, coordination, and creativity in ensembles, and ‘Agency, Creativity and (Inter)action in Orchestra Performance’ in the forthcoming edited volume Making Music Together: Analytical Perspectives on Musical Interaction.

Cayenna is currently collaborating with musicians and academic colleagues from Afghanistan to research the historical and contemporary orchestral activities of the country.


  • 2021–present
    Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Sheffield
  • 2019–present
    Director of Performance, St Catherine's College, University of Oxford