Musical Women in Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century

Join us for a conference focusing on female composers, performers, pedagogues, patrons and music publishers who were prominent in the musical life of Europe in the nineteenth century.

Location: Manchester (UK), Royal Northern College of Music

Dates: 24-26 February 2020

Keynote Speaker

Professor Sylvia Kahan (The Graduate Center and College of Staten Island, City University of New York)

Programme Committee

  • Barbara Kelly (RNCM)
  • Denis Herlin (IReMus, RNCM)
  • Katharine Ellis (University of Cambridge)
  • Natasha Loges (RCM)
  • Clair Rowden (University of Cardiff)
  • Maria Stratigou (RNCM)

About the Conference

Over the last few decades attention has been drawn to women who enjoyed success during their lives but have now been neglected. We’ll highlight women composers, performers, pedagogues, patrons and music publishers, not necessarily of European nationality, who were prominent in the musical life of Europe during the long nineteenth century.

Apart from Clara Schumann and Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, who are undoubtedly nowadays the most celebrated among women composers of the nineteenth century, there have been other musical women who deserve comparable recognition, such as Louise Farrenc, Cécile Chaminade, Ethel Smyth and Winnaretta Singer-Polignac, just to name a few. Several of Louise Farrenc’s Études for piano will be featured in the opening lunchtime concert of the conference.

The Programme Committee welcomes proposals for paper presentations (20 minutes), lecture-recitals (30 minutes), panel discussions (60 minutes), in the field of musicology, analysis and historically informed performance.

All presentations will be followed by 10 minutes for questions, apart from panel discussions which will be followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers. Presentations may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Analysis of women composers’ works: their importance and their distinctiveness.
  • Historically informed practice in women’s compositions, performances, early recordings, students, etc.
  • Performing women’s compositions then and now.
  • Musical women in their social context.
  • Musical women as immigrants.
  • Musical women flourishing alongside men; reception and criticism.

The official language of the conference is English.

Conference Programme

Find the full programme for the conference here.

Register for the Conference

To attend, please download the registration form, complete it and return to [email protected]


For any further information please email [email protected]


Organised in association with the RMA.
Supported by the RMA and the AHRC through the NWCDTP Cohort Development Fund.