In approaching the 2020s, we can no longer tolerate gender discrimination in concert programming, pedagogical practices or the writing of history.
The series of articles for FMQ by Susanna Välimäki and Nuppu Koivisto, derived from their book project titled Sävelten tyttäret: Säveltävät naiset Suomen historiassa 1700-luvun lopulta 1900-luvun alkuun [Daughters of music: Finnish Women Composers, from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries], discusses the lives and music of historical women composers in Finland.
The first article is an introduction and also showcases a concert series given by violinist Mirka Malmi to give voice to forgotten music. The following articles in the series will shed light on the life and music of selected composers.
Here we present briefly some of the composers and interesting projects on women, music and equality.
Selected composers from the history of Finnish music
These women born in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries are known to have composed music and are being researched by Susanna Välimäki and Nuppu Koivisto for their book project. The project is in its early days, and the list is only a rough draft.
Charlotte Lithander-Carlbom (1784–1858)
Henriette Nyberg (1830–1911)
Lilli (Hilma Rosaura) Thuneberg (Leinberg) (1836–1922)
Fanny Mannsén (1834–1856)
Laura Netzel (1839–1927)
Anna Catharina Blomqvist (1840–1925)
Ida Basilier (1846–1928)
Minna von Knorring (1846–1918)
Sofie Lithenius (1847–1926)
Maria Josefine Woldstedt (1848–1913)
Vendla Forsström (1858–?)
Agnes Tschetschulin (1859–1942)
Ida Moberg (1859–1947)
Betzy Holmberg (1860–1900)
Aina Korhonen (?–?)
Hanna Hällström (1864–1942)
Hulda Kronqvist (1864–1934)
Alexandra Zheleznova-Armfelt (1866–1933)
Edith Sohlström (1870–1934)
Alma Wikeström (1870–1952)
Jenny (Erlevi) Elfving (1871–1932)
Alice Hornborg (Helsingius) (1875–1963)
Lullu (Julia) Woldstedt-Buch (1883–1965)
Lilly Kajanus-Blenner (1885–1963)
Greta Dahlström (1887–1978)
Ruth Forsström (Vaaranen) (1889–1974)
Gertrud (Marau) Ollus (1890–1951)
Anne-Marie Mechelin (1892–1929)
Elisabeth von Tiesenhausen-Forstén (1896-1963)
Helvi Leiviskä (1902–1982)
Aili Auer (1902–1968)
Heidi Sundblad-Halme (1903–1973)
Maili Välisalo-Wright (1908–?)
Maija Korkeakoski-Haupt (1909–1983)
Composing, women and equality - projects and materials
Kokonainen Music Festival
Promoting Women in Music.
The Research Association Suoni ry
Promoting Societally Activist Music Research.
Equity in Composing Project (Yhdenvertaisesti säveltäen)
The purpose of this research and development project, being launched in spring 2019, is to alleviate gender bias in occupational selection in the field and to dismantle stereotypical notions about composing music. (website in Finnish)
Encouraging festivals to sign up to a 50:50 gender balance pledge by 2022.
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
Featured photo: The Helsinki Women’s Orchestra in the 1950s. The conductor is the founder of the orchestra, composer Heidi Sundblad-Halme (1903–1973) (front row, sixth from the left).