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Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

International Symposium “Gender and musicianship in North(-)/Eastern Europe”

Image: Maria Wiik: Balladi (1898)

The symposium will take place on February 12–13, 2024, at the Helsinki Music Centre, and the event is organised by the University of the Arts Helsinki History Forum, the Sibelius Academy doctoral schools DocMus & MuTri, and the research association Suoni.

Our symposium venue Helsinki Music Centre is situated in central Helsinki. Access to the Music Centre from the direction of Mannerheimintie will be difficult. We recommend that you allow enough time for your arrival and use the entrance on the side of Kansalaistori if possible.

We recommend following the official information channels of the renovation project, where you can find the most up-to-date information.


Rūta Stanevičiūtė

Rūta Stanevičiūtė is professor of musicology at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Her current fields of interest are modernism and nationalism in 20th- to 21-century music, philosophical and cultural issues in the analysis of contemporary music, music and politics, studies of music reception, and the theory and history of music historiography. She is the author of the monograph on ISCM and Lithuanian music modernization (2015), co-author of the books on Cold War and international exchange of Lithuanian Music (2018), and on (trans)avant-garde movement in Lithuanian music (2023). She has also edited and co-edited several collections of articles, including the recent collections Of Essence and Context (Springer, 2019), Microtonal Music in Central and Eastern Europe: Historical Outlines and Current Practices (Ljubljana University Press, 2020), and Music and Change in the Eastern Baltics before and after 1989 (Academic Studies Press, 2022).

In 2005–10, she was chair of the musicological section at the Lithuanian Composers’ Union. Since 2020, she serves as an editor in chief of the journal Lithuanian Musicology. In 2020, she was awarded the National Prize of Lithuania.

Programme on Monday 12 February

9–9.30 Registration
9.30–10 Opening words
9.30–9.40 Short welcome speech (Kaarlo Hildén, Uniarts Rector)
9.40–9.55 Organisers’ greetings

10–11 Keynote lecture, Sonore: Rūta Stanevičiūtė: Ethical turn in the music of Baltic women composers

11–11.30 Coffee break (Lower Foyer)

11.30–13 Sessions 1a & 1b

Session 1a, Sonore: Feminist subjectivities & performers’ perspectives (85 min)

  • 11.30–12.10 Jenna Ristilä: Gender, agency, and status in Carita Holmström’s Södergran songs: subjective music analysis from a performer’s perspective
  • 12.10–12.15 Tech break
  • 12.15–12.55 Lelde Tirele: Postcolonial feminism in Evija Skuķe’s cycle for soprano and piano “Feminicity”

Session 1b, Black Box: Women in the music industry (90 min)

  • 11.30–12 Maria Athanasiou: Gender, class and power hierarchies in Rebetiko film
  • 12–12.30 Jörg Holzmann: Ellen Sandels and her Damernas musikblad: Europe’s first music magazine completely run by a woman
  • 12.30–13 Johanna Talasniemi: Beauty and the Beast in the North: Soprano on a Tour that Stayed in the Press

13–14.30 Lunch

14.30–16 Sessions 2a & 2b

Session 2a, Sonore: Folk music activism (85 min)

  • 14.30–15.10 Emmi Kujanpää: ”I’m Singing Like in a Female Army”: Gender, Voice and Activism in Transnational European Folk Singing
  • 15.10–15.15 Tech break
  • 15.15–15.55 Emilia Lajunen: The silent voices of the archives and female folk musicianship today

Session 2b, S3101: Classical music: communities and experiences (90 min)

  • 14.30–15 Iris Seesjärvi: Gendered experiences of shame in Finnish classical singers: observations from the research material
  • 15–15.30 Anna Ramstedt: “A Man is Practically the General Norm” – Whiteness, sexual harassment, emotional abuse, and gender inequality in classical music culture in Finland
  • 15.30–16 Jacob Caines: Transnational Learning from Queer Orchestras: classical music and celebrating Queer community

16–16.30 Coffee break (Lower Foyer)

16.30–17.30 Sessions 3a & 3b

Session 3a, Sonore: Wind instruments (60 min)

  • 16.30–17 David Gasche: Women and Wind Music in German-speaking Countries: Understanding the Clichés, Challenges and Transformation Processes
  • 17–17.30 Anne Piirainen and Stephanie Zelnick: Women and the Clarinet: Unraveling the Gender Gap in the Highest Ranked Positions

Session 3b, Auditorium: Early modern period (60 min)

  • 16.30–17 Kateryna Ielysieieva: Queen Christina of Sweden as the muse of opera in Rome
  • 17–17.30 Erin Petti: ‘Napis nad grobem zacny Krowlowej Polski: Combatting Witchcraft Accusations in a Post-mortem Vernacular Song for Queen Barbara Radziwiłł’

19-> Conference dinner: Helsinki City Reception, Empire Hall (free of charge)

Music performance by Emmi Kujanpää & Kukuvitsa choir

Programme on Tue 13 February

9–10.30 Sessions 4a & 4b

Session 4a, Sonore: Higher music education (90 min)

  • 9–9.30 Cecilia Fern Almqvist and Ann Werner: Female orientations through Western classical music conservatories towards musicianship in North, Eastern and Central Europe
  • 9.30–10 Tuire Kuusi and Ann Werner: Diversity in gender discourse. Examples from three Higher Music Education Institutions
  • 10–10.30 Sam deBoise: Music, Education, Instrument Uptake, Music Creation and Gender in Contemporary Sweden

Session 4b, Black Box: Initiatives in new & experimental music (90 min)

  • 9–9.30 Hanna Chorell: Feminist perspective on commissioning new music – a case study
  • 9.30–10 Paola Livorsi: Medusa: Voicing the Feminine
  • 10–10.30 Brandon Farnsworth: Unraveling the Complexities of DEI Initiatives, Arts for Social Impact, and their Interplay with the Borealis Experimental Music Festival in Norway

10.30–11 Coffee break (Upper Foyer)

11–12.50 Session 5, Sonore: Reforming and rethinking (feminist) canons (110 min)

  • 11–11.40 Marika Kivinen: Finding inspiration in Marian Anderson – working towards accountability in musicianship
  • 11.40–11.45 Tech break
  • 11.45–12.15 Verena Liu: Opera (s)heroes. Reinterpreting traditional opera canon with a feminist spin
  • 12.15–12.20 Tech break
  • 12.20–12.50 Inka Rantakallio: Feminist women artists in Finnish rap music: intersectionality, norms, and fluid identities

12.50–14.15 Lunch

14.15–16.15 Sessions 6a & 6b

Session 6a, Sonore: Piano works by women composers (120 min)

  • 14.15–14.55 Diāna Zandberga: Women Composers in Latvia: Historical and Stylistic Aspects of Piano Music
  • 14.55–15 Tech break
  • 15–15.30 Petteri Nieminen: The first performance in 1935 and the the dismissal of Helvi Leiviskä’s Piano concerto
  • 15.30–15.35 Tech break
  • 15.35–16.15 Outi Nieminen: Insight to Laura Netzel’s Suite op. 33

Session 6b, S3101: (Re)discovering historical composers (120 min)

  • 14.15–14.45 Natasha Loges (on Pauline Viardot, title TBA)
  • 14.45–15.15 Nicholas Ong: ‘Strange to imagine my petty figure next to him’: Valentina Serova, Widowhood, and the Emancipation of Creativity
  • 15.15–15.45 Barbora Vacková: “The Unfriendly and Envious Comrades”: Women Composers’ Activism and Feminism in State Socialist Czechoslovakia
  • 15.45–16.15 Diego Alonso: Karol Szymanowski’s homoerotic-orientalist compositions in context: A comparison with southern European trends
  • 16.30–17.30 Roundtable and closing remarks, Sonore
  • Panelists: Rūta Stanevičiūtė, Natasha Loges and Markus Virtanen


The organisers welcome everyone interested to join the conference.

Registration is open from 30 November, 2023 to 1 Februray, 2024. The registration includes participation in the full conference programme and coffees from Monday to Tuesday.

The conference dinner on Monday at Helsinki City Reception, Empire Hall (Old Court House, Aleksanterikatu 20, Helsinki) is free of charge, but pre-registration via the conference`s registration form is required. The salad buffet and refreshments  will be served.

Registration fees

Early bird rates from 30 November 2023 to 15 January 2024:

  • 30 euros (audience, presenters)
  • 20 euros (doctoral researchers, students, and Uniarts Helsinki members)

Late rates from 16 January to 1 February 2024:

  • 40 euros (audience, presenters)
  • 30 euros (doctoral researchers, students, and Uniarts Helsinki members)

Note: The registration fees of Uniarts Helsinki members (presenters, staff, doctoral researchers and students) will be invoiced internally by the university’s Financial Services. Notice: it is not possible to make a registration payment with a Uniarts` credit card.

Cancellation policy: no refund after 1 February 2024. Cancellations via email to:


The organisers have negotiated discount rates for conference attendees in two hotels: Hotel Helka and Hotel Scandic Grand Central. Both hotels are situated in central Helsinki, within walking distance from the conference venue.

Hotel Helka offers a 10 % discount off room rates for our conference participants. Bookings can be made by using the code ”NORTHEAST24” via phone (+358 9 613580) or e-mail (

Hotel Scandic Grand Central offers the following room rates (February 11–14, 2024):

  • 152,70 euros / standard single room / night
  • 163,70 euros / standard double room / night

Both room rates include buffet breakfast and free WiFi. Bookings can be made until January 28, 2024 (or until the hotel is fully booked) online here or via phone (+358 9 6829 1700) / email ( by using the discount code BTAI110224.

For additional accommodation options, please see our conference map, which also includes recommendations for sights, museums, cafés, lunch restaurants and more. We look forward to meeting you in Helsinki!


The fastest and most economical way of reaching the city centre from the Helsinki-Vantaa airport is by commuter train. The I and P trains run regularly (mostly every 10–15 minutes) from the airport to the Helsinki Central Railway Station, and the journey takes about 30 minutes. A one-way ticket (ABC zones) costs 4,10 euros and can be purchased from an automat at the airport train station or from the HSL app. For more information on train schedules and fares, please see the HSL website.

Our conference venue is situated in central Helsinki, and the city centre can be thoroughly explored on foot. Helsinki does, however, have an extensive public transport system with buses, two metro lines, and commuter trains. The tram network is particularly useful for exploring the city centre in case of bad weather.

Call for papers

Geographical divides such as ‘North-South’ and ‘East-West’ have long been problematised in music scholarship both globally and in Europe, while more comprehensive perspectives such as transnationalism, cultural transfer, and translocality have gained foothold in music history-writing. Furthermore, academics specialised in feminist and decolonial music research have sought to question value-laden ideas of geographical or cultural ‘peripherality’ as well as cultural imperialism. In this symposium, we invite music researchers and musicians across genre-borders to engage in a conversation about gender and music-making in the specific context of ‘Northern’, ‘Eastern’, and ‘North-Eastern’ Europe – i.e., regions such as the Baltic Sea area, which have long served as important meeting points and travel route for (women) musicians, artists, and composers.

We hope to discuss issues regarding gender and music-making from a wide variety of perspectives and with an open and critical understanding of geographical and geopolitical categories. What do regions traditionally labelled ‘Northern’ and ‘Eastern’ Europe share in terms of gender and music – both historically and today? What kinds of local and cross-cultural networks of women musicians have existed or are currently working in these specific contexts, and why? Alongside gender, how do diverse linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and religious identities affect musicianship and music-making in these areas? How could we enhance meaningful and ethical feminist collaboration among scholars and musicians in these regions today?

The presentations and performances may focus on research projects and/or artistic practice across genre borders, and they may discuss problems of gender and (in)equality from a historical perspective or focus on the music industry today or in the future. Crucial themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender, power hierarchies, and institutions in music industry today and in the past
  • Music industry, publicity, and gender
  • Histori(ographi)es of gender, music-making, and composing
  • Feminist music research
  • Gendered canons in music pedagogy, performance, and research

We especially welcome papers/lecture-concerts discussing intersections of gender, class, and race. Early-career researchers are also specifically encouraged to submit proposals.

Proposals (max. 300 words) and short presenter bios (max. 150 words) can be sent online until June 10 2023 We invite proposals for both traditional conference papers and short lecture-concerts (20-minute presentation + 10-minute discussion / 30-minute recital + 10-minute discussion). We will inform all applicants on the committee’s decisions by June 15.

Everyone interested in the seminar topic is welcome to attend. Uniarts doctoral candidates have the chance to get extra credits for attending (for more information, please see the Sibelius Academy study guide).


Regarding funding opportunities for travel and accommodation: e.g., the Mariann Steegmann Foundation grants funding for research on women and music. Their next call will take place from August 18 till September 8, 2023.

For more information, visit the Mariann Steegmann Foundation website

We will do our best to provide travel assistance for Ukrainian scholars: if you are from Ukraine and planning to attend, kindly contact the board at

University of the Arts guidelines regarding the war in Ukraine

Visit our page containing general info on the impact of the war on Uniarts Helsinki

Organising committee

  • Nuppu Koivisto-Kaasik, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, University of the Arts History Forum (Chair)
  • Prof. Anne Kauppala, University of the Arts History Forum
  • DMus Päivi Järviö, Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki
  • DMus Anu Lampela, Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki
  • DMus Saijaleena Rantanen, Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki
  • Dr Anja Bunzel, Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  • Johanna Rauhaniemi, Coordinator, University of the Arts History Forum

More information

Nuppu Koivisto-Kaasik
PhD, postdoctoral researcher
University of the Arts History Forum, Helsinki
Tel. +358504779213


12.2.2024 – 13.2.2024


Helsinki Music Centre

Töölönlahdenkatu 16

00100 Helsinki

Location on map

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