top of page


(All times in BST / UTC +1)

Friday, April 1


12:45pm - 1:00pm: Welcome

Barbora Vacková (University of Huddersfield), Marta Beszterda (McGill University) 


1:00pm - 2:15pm: Keynote lecture

Chair: Barbora Vacková (University of Huddersfield)

Prof. Dr. Nina Noeske (Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg): “Gender Relations in the Musical Life of the Eastern Bloc: GDR (for Example)”


2:30pm - 4:00pm

Panel 1: Gender, Art, and Propaganda

Chair: Tereza Havelková (Charles University)


Elizaveta Willert (Paderborn University): “Soviet ‘eye-ear’? On the politics of female sound in the mass genre of musical radio theater in the light of socialist propaganda”


Joanna Bullivant (University of Oxford): “No(t much) sex please we’re communists: Alan Bush’s East German operas, women, and postwar moral panic”


Johanna Yunker (University of Massachusetts Amherst): “The Impact of Socialism and Feminism in the Works and Reception of the GDR’s Leading Female Composer Ruth Zechlin”

4:30pm - 5:30pm

Panel 2: Music, Gender, and Identity in Late Soviet / Early Post-Soviet Era

Chair: Robert Adlington (University of Huddersfield)


Sam Riley (University of Birmingham): “‘Changing the Music Itself’: Valentina Goncharova and Late Soviet Subjectivity”


Phoebe Robertson (Manhattan School of Music): “Sofia Gubaidulina’s 'Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion': A Study in Androgyny”

6:00pm - 7:00pm

Researching Women and Gender in Art Music of the Eastern Bloc: Panel Discussion and Q&A

Chair: Marta Beszterda (McGill University)

Guest speakers: Elaine Kelly (Edinburgh College of Art), Joanna Kwapień (Glissando Magazine, University of Wrocław), Nina Noeske (Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg)


This panel of music researchers will discuss their experience with researching gender culture and musical activities of Central and Eastern European women-identifying figures under state socialism. Special attention will be paid to particular challenges, both methodological and practical, that might be encountered in this area of study, as well as to reflections on the current state of research and directions for the future. The Q&A will provide an opportunity for all conference attendees to ask questions pertinent to their research, as well as to share their own perspectives and experience.

We look forward to having an open, relaxed discussion in an informal environment – feel free to join in with snacks and/or a drink of your choice!

About the panelists:

Elaine Kelly is senior lecturer in music at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on music and politics in the GDR and East Germany. She has published in journals such as the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Twentieth-Century Music, and Opera Quarterly, and she is author of Composing the Canon in the German Democratic Republic: Narratives of Nineteenth-Century Music (OUP, 2014). She is currently a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow and is writing a monograph on musical relations between the GDR and the postcolonial world.

Joanna Kwapień is a PhD student at the Institute of Musicology of the University of Wrocław. She completed her studies in Musicology, Ethnology, and Cultural Anthropology. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on musical representations of femininity in 21st-century Poland. Her work has been published in academic journals such as Muzyka and Res Facta Nova. Currently, she works as an editor at the Glissando magazine, and she is a former Vice Editor-in-Chief of MEAKULTURA. Her academic interests include feminist musicology, gender studies, film music, ethnomusicology, and music anthropology. As a journalist, she writes about music phenomena within broader cultural contexts.

Nina Noeske studied musicology and philosophy in Bonn, Weimar and Jena. Master's degree 2001, doctorate 2005 (thesis: Musical Deconstruction. New Instrumental Music in the GDR, published at Böhlau 2007), habilitation 2014 (Liszt's "Faust": Aesthetics - Politics - Discourse, published at Böhlau 2017). After professional episodes at the HfM Weimar, the HMTM Hannover, the HfMT Hamburg and the University of Salzburg, she was appointed professor for musicology at the University of Music and Drama Hamburg in 2014. Her research interests focus on the music and cultural history of the late 18th to 21st centuries from various perspectives.


Saturday, April 2


12:00pm - 1:30pm

Panel 3: Retrieving Forgotten Figures

Chair: Linda Jankowska (Leeds Conservatoire)


Ana Popović (Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek): “Dita Kovač, ‘the sister of Leo Mirski’”

Kristiāna Vaickovska (Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music / Latvian Music Information Centre): “Lūcija Garūta (1902–1977): one of the first professional female composers in Latvia“


Maryna Tokarenko (The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences): “The Life and Works of Gaziza Zhubanova, Kazakh’s National Treasure”

2:00pm - 3:30pm

Panel 4: Gender Roles and Stereotypes Under State Socialism

Chair: Joanna Bullivant (University of Oxford)


Martina Bratić (University of Graz): “Ivana Lang (1912-1982) or about freedom of choice”


Natia Beraia, Lika Khorbaladze (Tbilisi State Conservatoire): “Two musical realities of Soviet Georgia - Meri Davitashvili and Natela Svanidze”


Allison Brooks-Conrad (University of Pennsylvania): “‘What is Talent without Character?’: Soviet Femininity, Labor, and Music in Rabotnitsa, 1970-1991”


4:00pm - 5:00pm

Panel 5: Between East and West

Chair: Zachary Milliman (McGill University)


Szabolcs Laszlo (Indiana University): “Ambassadors of the Kodály-method: The International Promotional Activities of Hungarian Women Music Educators during the Cold War”


Luciana Manca (Tor Vergata University of Rome): “The act of singing for a migrant Moldovan caregiver”

5:15pm - 6:45pm

Panel 6: Women in Polish Music

Chair: Christine Fischer (Universität Wien)


Monika Woźniak (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań): “Inner perspective of the female world presented by the compositions of Elżbieta Sikora, Hanna Kulenty, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil and Weronika Ratusińska”


Magdalena Bąk (The Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz University of Music in Łódź): “Harpsichord in the Eastern Bloc - the female instrument?”


Martyna Krymska (Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław): “Eugenia Umińska's life and work in the state socialist era”

6:45pm - 7:00pm: Closing Remarks

Barbora Vacková (University of Huddersfield), Marta Beszterda (McGill University) 


Panel 1: Gender, Art, and Propaganda

Elizaveta Willert (Paderborn University)

“Soviet ‘eye-ear’? On the politics of female sound in the mass genre of musical radio theater in the light of socialist propaganda”

My PhD-project focuses on the musical radio theatre for children in the Soviet Union between the 1940s and 1980s. After researching several Russian archives, I found that both in the 1940s, when the first radio operas were broadcast, and later in the 1960s-70s, many women were active as musical editors, singers, and composers. In the 1940s, the radio opera genre was formed from various musical directions and musical genres (including folk song, jazz, and Russian urban song). In my paper, I will concentrate on the problem of the female voice composition and discuss the extent to which the radiophonic sound of the voice can convey certain cultural stereotypes – e.g., the "good Pioneer”.

Focus will lay on the radio operas by two female composers – Natal'â Levi and Klara Kazman. Many well-known Russian actresses, such as Mariâ Babanova, Valentina Serova and others, participated in the production of these radio operas. Their voices were used for the illustrations of animals or dolls, as well as children's or young people's voices, and were very popular. This “disguise” of women in other roles, the separation of the “physical”, represents a special discourse in the current gender debate (sonic cross-dressing) and should be considered at this point. Important parameters in the analysis are sonic-acoustic (volume), musical (intonation, tempo), and sociological or psychological factors.

I will illustrate the research question using radio recordings, photo materials and written sources from the archives.

Joanna Bullivant (University of Oxford)

“No(t much) sex please we’re communists: Alan Bush’s East German operas, women, and postwar moral panic”

The British communist composer Alan Bush (1900-95) enjoyed a privileged career in the German Democratic Republic and wider Eastern Bloc with three opera commissions and eleven productions from 1953-1970. Nevertheless, like his friends in the upper echelons of GDR music bureaucracy, he had a growing anxiety about new forms of popular music in the 1950s and 60s. This anxiety was nothing if not gendered: he wrote in sometimes salacious detail of the physical, emotional and sexual abandonment of young women at rock concerts. Although Bush saw this as far more a capitalist than a communist problem, I shall argue in this paper that his later works featured attempts to construct models of communist gender to compete with those of rock n roll. In particular, I will examine three case studies: the operas The Sugar Reapers and Joe Hill, and the song-cycle Woman’s Life, which show respectively exoticism and gendered racial constructions; female sexuality; and women at work. While diverse and often cautious, each of these works represents forms of femininity more reliably communist than those of popular culture, while – especially in the operas – dabbling in some of the features that made that culture so appealing. Moreover, in parts, portrayals of women at work and female leadership show something of the breadth of communist images of femininity.

Johanna Yunker (University if Massachusetts Amherst)

"The Impact of Socialism and Feminism in the Works of the GDR's Leading Female Composer Ruth Zechlin"

Throughout her successful career, composer Ruth Zechlin (1926-2007) faced a fundamental question: how did her identity as both a female artist and an East German citizen impact her artistic output? She was required to adhere to the tenets of socialist realism and was expected to reject gender differences, in accordance with the gender-neutral worldview set forth by the GDR’s constitution. And yet, Zechlin was often upheld as the GDR's most (and, indeed, only) successful female composer and her work was received against the backdrop of the GDR’s burgeoning feminist movement in the arts (particularly literature). In this short presentation, I will explore the tensions and contradictions that existed for female artists in the GDR by focusing on Zechlin’s 1985 ballet _La Vita_, which, although conceived as an abstract work, was overlaid with a socialist meaning that in turn caused it to be received as a feminist one.

Panel 2: Music, Gender, and Identity in Late Soviet / Early Post-Soviet Era

Sam Riley (University of Birmingham)
“‘Changing the Music Itself’: Valentina Goncharova and Late Soviet Subjectivity”


Between 1987-1991, Valentina Goncharova recorded improvised experimental music at her seaside home in Tallinn, Estonia. Despite a graduate degree and active performance in the early-1980s avant-garde jazz and rock scene(s), the majority of Goncharova’s recorded music has only been released for the first time in the past 18 months. Two recent albums (Recordings Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) document the composer’s output, offering us a window into understanding the particularities of gendered musicking in the late-Soviet period. As an unofficial musician living far from the cultural centres of Russia, she was unable to easily perform with an ensemble. She turned instead to electronics: overdubbing violin and synthesisers on a modified reel-to-reel tape recorder, that (due to technological failure) lent itself to her characteristic drones and overlapping textures. Influenced in part by the music of Yoko Ono, Brian Eno and musique concrete, this ambient aesthetic also stemmed from Goncharova’s material conditions.


Looking to the conditions that influenced Goncharova’s musical creation (and widespread listening available only recently) prompts a methodological discussion regarding the status of Latour’s actor-network-theory in musicology. While on one hand, actor-network-theory resonates with feminist theory in stressing that technology and gender relations are not ‘separate spheres,’ but rather mutually constitutive. On the other, attending to this music reminds us of whether it is ‘sufficient to theorise the musical assemblage without reference to subjectivity’ (Born and Barry 2018). This paper, drawing from the ‘post-Foucauldian’ paradigms of late-Soviet subjectivity (Yurchak 2008) begins to understand what a post-Latourian approach might look like.

Phoebe Robertson (Manhattan School of Music)

“Sofia Gubaidulina’s 'Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion': A Study in Androgyny”

A large reason why Sofia Gubaidulina’s 'Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion' (1994) is so fascinating is that it deals with the metaphor of musical androgyny.


As with most of Gubaidulina’s music since the 1970s, we hear the influence of Nikolai Berdyaev’s philosophy. Berdyaev, who shared Gubaidulina’s Russian Orthodox faith, insisted that the image of God is most fully expressed in androgyny. Both philosopher and composer also believed that creative androgyny occurs at the intersection of the horizontal (symbolising masculinity) and the vertical (femininity). All creativity—Berdyaev and Gubaidulina agree—begins at this intersection.


Composed shortly after the dissolution of the USSR, this work shows Gubaidulina grappling with her own gender. During the 1980s, she stated: “when I write for films, I feel very different from a man; yet when I write my own music, there is no sense of gender involved.” Gubaidulina’s sense that her gender is immaterial in her concert music points to her own desire to both transcend and represent gender when she creates.


In this paper, I aim to show how the composer points to androgyny in 'Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion'. By examining the philosophical and spiritual importance of the androgynous midpoint, I will show just how deeply Gubaidulina’s contemplation of gender runs in her post-Soviet works. This paper also explores the technical parallels between musical horizontality and masculinity, and verticality and femininity. Doing so will, I hope, unveil the composer’s rich view of her own identity: both embracingly humanistic and deeply spiritual.


Panel 3: Retrieving Forgotten Figures

Ana Popović (Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek)

“Dita Kovač, ‘the sister of Leo Mirski’”


Dita Kovač (Zagreb, July 12, 1891 - Qiryat Gat, September 12, 1976) was a soprano and music pedagogue who played a big role in music life of Osijek, Croatia where she worked and lived from 1917 to 1949. She was a regular guest performer in Croatian National Theater in Osijek until 1939 and 1945-46 accompanist at the Opera. She worked as professor of singing at the City Music School 1930–40 and in the period from 1945 to 1949 was even the principal of the school. Many of her operatic performances were noted as very successful; she also frequently performed in various concert occasions (with the city philharmonics, or in solo recitals). On the other hand, her résumé in Croatian biographical lexicon (2009) states the fact that she was the sister of the conductor Leo Mirski, as the first relevant fact right after her birth and death data. In the same time, in Lav Mirski’s résumé it is not stated that he had a sister that was also a musician. This phenomenon of emphasizing family connection when talking about female members of the family is not rare, and there are many examples of very successful women in music who were labeled as “sisters” of male musicians. This paper will explore Dita Kovač's contribution to the musical life of the city of Osijek in order to determine whether she was really "only" Leo Mirski's sister.

Kristiāna Vaickovska (Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music / Latvian Music Information Centre)

“Lūcija Garūta (1902–1977): one of the first professional female composers in Latvia“

Latvia regained its independence in 1991. Since then women have actively participated in the field of music as composers, artists. This stands in stark contrast with the Soviet period when very few women practiced music and were actually “visible” in the field of music. In my paper I am going to look at one of the few Soviet times female composers, also pianist-accompanist and music theoretician Lūcija Garūta (1902–1977). Already in the study years, critics took notice of her compositional technique and very open demonstrations of emotion. However, during the Soviet period, she was criticized because of her individualism and pessimism. Her choral music has been ignored and has never been sung at any Soviet song festival. Anyway, Lūcija Garūta is the only female composer whose work has found a place (has been included) in the official canon of Latvian music (Latvian Cultural Canon: Music 2009).

Maryna Tokarenko (The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences)

“The Life and Works of Gaziza Zhubanova, Kazakh’s National Treasure”


The article was created out of the desire to discover important female figures in the history of music, active in the areas of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The main goal of this text is to present the biography and work of the Kazakh and Soviet composer Gaziza Zhubanova (1927-1993). In recent years, her music has been rediscovered in Kazakhstan, but is still little known in Western countries.

Zhubanova, professor and later rector of the Kurmangazy State Conservatory of Kazakhstan, is one of the most important representatives of the composition school of Kazakhstan. In addition to a significant number of internationally known pupils, she has left behind a considerable amount of works that cover the most important European genres mixed with the folk music of Kazakhstan. Many of these works represent the first examples of Western genres in the history of this country's music.

In addition to writing musical compositions, Zhubanova did a large number of researches, presenting her publications also outside the borders of the USSR, and from 1962 she was chairman of the Union of Composers of Kazakhstan and the USSR. What’s more, she was a board member of the Committee of Soviet Women.

The article focuses on the beginnings and development of the composer's career, the meaning of her work, and on a brief description of Zhubanova's compositional style. The works of researchers from Kazakhstan were mainly used to write this article; they discussed both the life and work of Gaziza Zhubanova.



Panel 4: Gender Roles and Stereotypes Under State Socialism


Martina Bratić (University of Graz)

“Ivana Lang (1912-1982) or about freedom of choice”


To what we mean by contemporary female composition in Croatia, Croatian music history has added only two female representatives-predecessors, as two bearers of what one national music history implies. And yet, despite such a small number, and even more so – despite the musical treasure that each of them undoubtedly brings about – their scientific, curricular, canonical, repertoire and historical-cultural treatment is almost diametrically opposed.

Dora Pejačević (1885-1923), symbolically crowned the “national musical princess” (Rožić 2008), with time had received tremendous national but also international success, while the other authorial trajectory, that of Ivana Lang (1912-1982), conveys a story that has yet to be told. To this day, Lang is talked about sporadically, to an anniversary occasion (Jurkić Sviben 2012), with concise lexicological mentions in texts that try to recreate the female musical history of Croatia (Bratić 2018), or in efforts to secure a place for the female voice in the great historical narrative of Croatian music (Rožić 2008; 2019).

This presentation provides an insight into the first attempt to review the private legacy of Ivana Lang, which includes a review of the hitherto unpublished contents of her diary entries, that composer wrote in a fascinating 30-year span: from 1951 to 1980. The analytical focus will be on the time-space contextualization of state socialism, in which Ivana Lang worked as a composer and piano teacher, with gender roles and gender divisions of work in her case being equally reflected, both privately and professionally.


Natia Beraia, Lika Khorbaladze (Tbilisi State Conservatoire)

“Two musical realities of Soviet Georgia - Meri Davitashvili and Natela Svanidze”


The report refers to two Georgian women composers, working in Soviet Georgia - Meri Davitashvili (1924-2014) and Natela Svanidze (1926-2017). They were radically different artists with contrasting worldviews, aesthetics and ideals. They lived and composed music in the face of the Iron Curtain, ideological pressure, and societal stereotypes about gender issues.


Meri Davitashvili often mentioned in interviews that at the beginning of her creative career she was "advised" to write children's music, because there was no better way for a woman to establish herself in such a masculine profession as composition. Much of her work was really devoted to incidental music. In the professional circles her large-format works were out of interest. Today, her music is virtually forgotten, despite the fact that it was widely performed during her life.


Natela Svanidze's creative path began with writing of Georgian Soviet music adapted to the ideology. Later, her worldview changed significantly – she rejected previously written music and became the first Georgian composer to use serial composition techniques in the 1970s. She was also a pioneer of Georgian electronic music. Although her music was completely neglected during the Soviet era, today it is gaining more and more attention and respect among performers and researchers.


The goal of the report is to introduce the music of Georgian female composers to the wider public and to show how different artists can be formed under the same ideology or stereotypical influences. The paper is the first attempt to consider the work of Georgian female composers in terms of gender and to make a comparative analysis of their work.


Allison Brooks-Conrad (University of Pennsylvania)

“‘What is Talent without Character?’: Soviet Femininity, Labor, and Music in Rabotnitsa, 1970-1991”

In accounts of the daily lives of Soviet women, among the most present conditions is the “double burden” of state-mandated employment and domestic labor that the Soviet system essentially necessitated of all women with families. The expectation that women complete a full shift of domestic labor in addition to their official employment was coupled with the idea that in order to achieve ideal Soviet character, they also needed to maintain a sense of femininity. This set of competing expectations is perhaps best illustrated by the Soviet women’s magazine Rabotnitsa, or Female Worker, its publication spanning the Soviet era. The magazine title alone foregrounded the importance of being a worker or laborer, while the articles included recipes, fashion advice, and tips for cultivating good Soviet feminine character. Interestingly, the magazine also regularly featured articles about musicians, concerts, and other discussions about musical culture. Despite the fact that women likely lacked the time to take part in informal musicking without neglecting the “double burden” of state-mandated employment and domestic labor, the inclusion of music-themed articles in Rabotnitsa indicates that there was a clear attempt to articulate how the cultivation of the ideal female laborer is informed by musical culture. This paper examines a collection of articles included in issues of Rabotnitsa spanning 1970-1991 and considers how the periodical integrated discussions of music in their guide for ideal Soviet femininity and all such a definition involved, offering a different view of how women might access musical culture through their gendered laboring.


Panel 5: Between East and West 

Szabolcs Laszlo (Indiana University)

“Ambassadors of the Kodály-method: The International Promotional Activities of Hungarian Women Music Educators during the Cold War”

My presentation will focus on the international promotion of the Kodály-method by a group of women music educators from Hungary during the 1960s-1970s. This professional community coalesced around the legacy of Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) and his conception of music pedagogy – implemented in the Hungarian educational system after 1945. I will demonstrate how music teachers like Erzsébet Szőnyi, Márta Nemesszeghy, and Klára Kokas devised an effective project of “bottom-up” musical diplomacy to win international adherents for the Kodály-method and to transfer their knowledge across borders during the Cold War. One of their strategies was to bring the world to the original source and showcase the Hungarian model in situ. Interested foreign music teachers were received by a tight-knit community of Kodály experts and directed towards carefully selected exemplary Hungarian educational displays and training sessions. Another practice was to bring the method to the world, by forging professional ties through the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and by participating in numerous international summer universities and workshops, especially in the U.S. and Canada. The outcome of these interactions was the emergence of a transnational professional network of music educators that cut across the Iron Curtain. This produced large-scale events, like the International Kodály Symposia (held since 1973), and an umbrella organization, the International Kodály Society (started in 1975). Collaborating with their foreign colleagues, Hungarian women music educators were able to turn the Kodály-method into a globally identifiable and popular cultural brand that has been adapted to various national contexts since the 1960s.

Luciana Manca (Tor Vergata University of Rome)

“The act of singing for a migrant Moldovan caregiver”

Many migrants arrive in Italy illegally cross the Mediterranean Sea or from the Balkan route, forced to leave their families, living their lives far from their children. They must to work in Italy, in order to “become their relatives ATM” as one of them told me, during an interview. Usually men are forced to leave their countries in Africa, sending money there, but from Eastern Europe, it is mainly women who emigrate alone. The most widespread job for these women is the caregiving with elderly people. Often they work “in black” (IDOS 2021), living with the families where they are employed, with a 24 hours job. Someone speaks of the "Italy syndrome" in Eastern Europe (Vaccaro, Mistrello 2021), due to the common phenomenon of women, who return to their country, afflicted by depressive syndromes. It happens that their partners have a new family, while their own children, who have felt abandoned, reject their mothers.

Thus, some musical projects have been created for social inclusion: transnational choirs to counter this situation. One of them is the choir Voices from the World, which is born in 2008, in Venice, with some Moldavian caregivers. Today the choir collaborates with health institutions and creates humanitarian corridors, counting about 70 members from different parts of the world. I carried out my research with a Moldovan woman who started in the choir a path of social integration, combining it with the activity in the choir of an Orthodox Church of Venice.



Panel 6: Women in Polish Music


Monika Woźniak (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)

“Inner perspective of the female world presented by the compositions of Elżbieta Sikora, Hanna Kulenty, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil and Weronika Ratusińska”

George Uptown once said: “Women cannot compose music, because they cannot control emotions, they cannot deal with adversity”. For many years, musique critics were claiming that women composers are kind of a curiosity – they were astonished not by the level of their art but by the very fact that women are able to compose.

In the second half of the XXth century and at the beginning of the XXI century in Poland there were many great female composers not afraid to combine their inner-emotional sphere with the music they were creating.

A great exemplification of such a phenomenon was Elżbieta Sikora and her representation of a heroine struggling with problems such as the death of her beloved husband, a love-affair with a consequent social exclusion and doubts about her professional career. All that resonating beautifully in her "Madame Curie".

In turn, a feeling of longing and loneliness after children growing up and leaving the nest inspired Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil to compose the orchestral piece Fresco VI. She created the unique structure “the palindrome of loneliness” as the constructive element of the whole piece.

Hanna Kulenty has survived a dangerous car accident, but her daughter has not. This tragic history had a great impact on the composer in a desperate search for cure after all the trauma.

Music helped her significantly – she composed pieces “A cradle song I”, “A cradle song II” and “Sierra” as the form of therapy. Weronika Ratusińka in her “Nymphs” showed the portraits of mythical goddesses – their power and strength. Her piece “For Berenika” is dedicated to an unborn child and shows a diversity of the emotions of a pregnant woman.

They are all only few examples of the musical pieces showing the inner perspective of the female world. Their emotional sphere is by no means a disadvantage, but, more importantly, serves as a great inspiration for their invaluable art.

Magdalena Bąk (The Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz University of Music in Łódź)

“Harpsichord in the Eastern Bloc - the female instrument?”

The 20th century is the time of the harpsichord as a concert instrument. This process began with a woman - Wanda Landowska. She attracted a large group of pupils and at the same time a continuage of her works. The 20th century is also the time of increased women's activities as pedagogues, music propagator, performers, founders and composers. How did this process run in the Eastern Bloc countries? Who were these women and what difficulties met in their path? Would the harpsichord music would be the same without them?


The paper analyzes the impact of women in the Eastern Bloc countries on the development of harpsichord music. Is the harpsichord in this case a feminine instrument? I will analyze the silhouettes and the activities of the most important women, thanks to which the harpsichord has recently occurred in the consciousness of musicians and thanks to which a new repertoire for this instrument arises. We will take a look at women-identifying composers, performers, and pedagogues such as: Zuzana Růžičková, Elżbieta Stefańska, Elżbieta Chojnacka, Elżbieta Sikora, Anna Ignatowicz Glińska and many others.

Martyna Krymska (Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław)

“Eugenia Umińska's life and work in the state socialist era”


Eugenia Umińska (1910-1980), next to Grażyna Bacewicz, was one of the most outstanding Polish violinists of the 20th century. She gave concerts in Poland and abroad as a soloist and in chamber ensembles (ex. with another Polish virtuoso Irena Dubiska). Although she was not a composer herself she edited over 100 items of violin literature ex. by Karol Szymanowski and Mieczysław Karłowicz. The author of this paper would like to present the profile of this extraordinary woman - virtuoso, teacher, editor and jury member of numerous competitions.

bottom of page