Microhistorical Perspectives on Female Involvement in Restaurant Music in the Late Nineteenth Century in Europe

The research project examines female musicians.


In her post-doc project, Nuppu Koivisto studies female musicians who have remained on the margins of music history. Music professionals in cafés, restaurants, and variety theatre will be heard in the project entitled “Nimettömät, näkymättömät, unohdetut: mikrohistoriallisia näkökulmia naisten ravintolamusiikkitoimintaan 1800-luvun lopun Euroopassa” (‘Anonymous, invisible, forgotten: microhistorical perspectives of women’s restaurant music in late nineteenth century Europe).

The project covers the personal histories of female-dominated salon orchestras, female vocal groups, and soloists at a grassroots level. Although the focus of the research is on the Grand Duchy of Finland, the perspective is fundamentally transnational as, in the late nineteenth century, restaurant performers moved effortlessly across state, language, and cultural borders. By looking at their touring activities, it is possible to visualise the multidimensional network of entertainment culture around the Baltic Sea region.

In connection with her post-doc project, Koivisto researches female composers in nineteenth century Finland in cooperation with Doctor Susanna Välimäki PhD. Within the project entitled “Sävelten tyttäret” (‘The daughters of music’), they will publish, among other things, book, blog posts, and scholarly and popular articles. Another goal is to make music that has been composed by women more visible to the general public, music professionals, and researchers alike.