Taidepiste: Female composers sidelined by history

What did we lose when a large portion of gifted composers were excluded from classical music canon?

What did we lose when a large portion of gifted composers were excluded from classical music canon? How can we fill the gap of female composers in the history and future of music?

These topics will be discussed at Taidepiste on 27 September 2021 by conductor Susanna Mälkki, researcher Nuppu Koivisto-Kaasik and doctoral researcher and music journalist Markus Virtanen. The discussion will be moderated by journalist Maria Pettersson. The conversation will be in Finnish but the event recording will be subtitled in English afterwards.

The event will also feature live performances of music by composer Laura Netzel (1839–1927) and contemporary composer Vilma Rautiainen. Performers include soprano Meeri Pulakka, violinist Mirka Malmi, cellist Iida Sinivalo, pianist Tiina Karakorpi and percussionist Touko Leinonen.

The event will take place in the Main Foyer of the Helsinki Music Centre, and it will be live-streamed on Uniarts Helsinki’s YouTube channel. High-quality recordings of the Taidepiste events are also available for later viewing on YouTube.

Taidepiste is Uniarts Helsinki’s event series, which explores social phenomena through multidisciplinary discussions and art experiences that are free and open to the public. Taidepiste events are organised once a month in the Main Foyer of the Helsinki Music Centre and live streamed on Uniarts Helsinki’s YouTube channel. The event series is sponsored by the Louise and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation. Read more about the Taidepiste event series.

More information about the evening’s guests

Nuppu Koivisto-Kaasik (PhD) is a researcher at Uniarts Helsinki’s History Forum, and her field of expertise is female composers from the 19th and 20th centuries. She is currently working on a book about female composers in the history of Finnish music with associate professor Susanna Välimäki from the University of Helsinki. Koivisto-Kaasiki’s research interests include cultural and social histories of the Baltic Sea region and the Russian Empire, in particular.

Susanna Mälkki is one of the most internationally renowned Finnish conductors. She is the chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mälkki has conducted the best orchestras in the world, including all of the Big Five orchestras of the United States, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. Mälkki has an integral role in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s History’s Unheard Orchestral Music project, which sheds light on overlooked composers and their compositions and brings them to orchestra stages.

Maria Pettersson is the chief editor of the Journalisti magazine, and her debut book Historian jännät naiset (Extraordinary Women in History) was the second best-selling Finnish non-fiction book last year. Pettersson has previously served as the chief editor of the Ylioppilaslehti and City magazines, worked for e.g. the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper and for the European Parliament and hosted a radio show and a podcast for Yle.

Markus Virtanen is a Helsinki-based doctoral researcher, music journalist and composer. In his doctoral research titled Säveltävänä naisena maailmassa: säveltäjä Ann-Elise Hannikainen aikakautensa peilinä, Virtanen examines the world of Finnish classical music as well as its values and ideals from the perspective of Ann-Elise Hannikainen’s career as a composer. 


27.9.2021 at 17:30 – 19:00


Helsinki Music Centre’s Main Foyer

Mannerheimintie 13a

00100 Helsinki


The Taidepiste events are free to attend and open to everyone

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