Cayenna's doctoral studies focused on authorship and creativity in orchestral performance. Her research investigated the way in which the unique profile of an orchestral performance is constituted through the actions and interactions of the musicians in the orchestra.

What is it that prompts orchestral musicians during rehearsal or the flow of performance to determine the precise characteristics and timing of the sounds that they produce?

This investigation led to a collaboration with a team of computer scientists at Cornell University, directed by Professor Graeme Bailey, to develop a new online form of video-stimulated recall which facilitated the swift collection of multiple perspectives throughout the orchestra on precisely the same musical passage. Orchestras were video-recorded as they worked and subsequently all members of the orchestra were invited to view short extracts of these videos on this specially-designed website, MERID (Media Enabled Online Interface and Database) where they were asked to leave comments (automatically time-stamped to the video) about what they were doing, experiencing, and responding to at that time. The ability to time-stamp comments precisely and to obtain commentary from many musicians simultaneously (rather than serially from many one-to-one interviews) soon after the event made it possible to collect data from six different orchestras in 42 different playing situations over the course of two years.

The analysis of this data, combined with questionnaire an interview data from two other accompanying studies, resulted in the development of a Framework of Influence and Action in Orchestra Performance. Her thesis, Tracking Authorship and Creativity in Orchestral Performance, is deposited at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford.

Cayenna is currently a post-doctoral researcher on the AHRC-funded research project, Transforming 19th-Century HIP at the University of Oxford and is a Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, University of Oxford. You can read more about Transforming 19th-Century HIP on the project website.


  • Ponchione C., (forthcoming). 'The Body Orchestral'. In L. Redhead (ed) Music and/as Process. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.
  • Ponchione C., 2013. Exploring a metamorphosis: identity formation for an emerging conductor. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 12, 181-193.


  • 'Orchestral Musicians' Experiences: Inside Out', invited talk, Live Friday, Ashmolean Museum (2017)
  • 'Tracking influence and action: the authorship of orchestral performance', invited talk, University of Oxford, Faculty of Music (2016)
  • 'Who's the boss?: The authorship of orchestral performance', invited talk, Christ Church Canterbury University (2016)
  • 'Expressing values: engaging orchestras in social and environmental work', conference paper, Arts Without Borders, Helsinki (2016)
  • 'The Body Orchestral', conference paper, Performing Knowledge, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge (2016)
  • 'The Authorship of Orchestral Performance', conference paper, Tracking the Creative Process in Music, IRCAM, Paris, France (2015)
  • 'Attributing creative authorship in orchestral performance', conference paper, Authorship in Music RMA Study Day, University of Oxford (2015)
  • 'Anatomy of orchestral creativity: the authorship of orchestral performance', conference paper, RMA Research Students' Conference (2014)
  • 'Creativity and Performance in Large Ensembles', conference paper, AHRC Center for Music Performance as Creative Practice Performance Studies Network Conference II, Cambridge (2013)


  • 'Art, Science & the Thirsty World', a 13-minute video exploring the intersection of the arts and sciences around issues of water scarcity, highlighting Water-Culture: Women's Work(s) and the outcomes of the ASTW 2014 conference. The video was installed in 'Visualising Water Worlds', an exhibition in the Arsenale di Venezia as part of AQUAE Venice 2015, sponsored by EXPO Milan 2015. (June-Oct 2015)


  • Founding Co-director, 'Oxford Conducting Institute International Conducting Studies Conference', Oxford (June 2016 and 2018)
  • Co-organizer, Authorship in Music, Royal Musical Association Study Day(s), Wadham College, University of Oxford (Mar 2015)
  • Co-director with Prof Gail Holst-Warhaft, 'Art, Science and the Thirsty World', an interdisciplinary and intercollegiate conference exchange project between the University of Oxford and Cornell University, supported by TORCH, Merton College, Cornell's Institute for European Studies and the Brettschneider Fund (June [Oxford] and November [Cornell] 2014)
  • Co-organizer, Music as Process, a Royal Musical Association Study Day, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford (Oct 2013)
  • Curator and director, 'Water-culture: Women’s Work(s)', an interdisciplinary symposium presenting a fusion of art, activism and research on global water scarcity issues, highlighting women’s contributions, Merton College (May 2013)