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International and Interdisciplinary Conference / Internationale und interdisziplinäre Tagung

Competitions in 19th-Century Music Culture / Wettbewerbe in der Musikkultur des 19. Jahrhunderts


28. Juni bis 29. Juni 2019

Flyer & Plakat

Musical competitions like the Eurovision Song Contest, the Grammy Awards or the Pulitzer Prize for Music are not just a focal phenomenon of contemporary musical life. As early as the 19th century, competitions in the musical field were a widespread practice and received increased attention by the public. A glimpse into this time period reveals a heterogeneous landscape of music-related competitions and similar rivalries, which may refer to compositions, performances, instrument-making, libretti, poetry, musicological writing, etc. Although competitions were omnipresent in 19th century musical life, they did not – with a few exceptions like the Prix de Rome – inscribe themselves into cultural memory, and they have likewise scarcely been of a scholarly focus. The conference intends to address the diverse aesthetic discourses, social settings, as well as the actors and their economic, ideological or social motives involved in music competitions. Its goal is to bring international musicologists, historians and sociologists and their research together and to encourage further studies. In addition to an initial overview on competitions in 19th century music culture, the phaenomenon will be theoretically examined and embedded into the interdisciplinary research discourse on questions concerning competitiveness.

The conference is open to the public. Participation is free of charge.


Dr. Carola Bebermeier (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien)

Clemens Kreutzfeldt (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien)

Christoph Müller-Oberhäuser (Universität zu Köln)

Dr. Jonas Traudes (Universität zu Köln)



Friday, 28.06.2019

9:30 am


Panel I: Conceptual Approaches

Chair: Wiebke Rademacher (Universität zu Köln)

9:45 am

Competition from the Perspective of Social and Cultural History: Questions and Prospects

Ralph Jessen (Universität zu Köln)

10:30 am

What’s Wrong with Ambition? – The Politics of Performance in Fin-de-Siècle Germany 

Nina Verheyen (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen)

11:30 am

Competition in the Arts. Sociological Remarks

Tobias Werron (Universität Bielefeld)

12:15 am

Introduction to the Database ‚Musikalische Preisausschreiben, 1820-1870‘

Carola Bebermeier, Clemens Kreutzfeldt (both Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien), Jonas Traudes, Aleksander Marcic (both Universität zu Köln)

Panel II: Institutional Forces

Chair: Andreas Domann (Universität zu Köln)

2:00 pm

Competition Cultures at the World Exhibitions of the Nineteenth Century           

Signe Rotter-Broman (Universität der Künste Berlin)

2:45 pm

Musical Competitions as Opportunities for Professionalization? Female Violinists at the Conservatory of the ‘Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde’ in Vienna   

Annkatrin Babbe (Sophie Drinker Institut Bremen)

4:00 pm

In Search of Italian Chamber Music. ‘Concorso-Basevi’ as a Promoter of National Music Culture

Carola Bebermeier (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien)

4:45 pm

Catch and Glee Club Prizes in the Long Nineteenth Century, and Nurturing a 'National Music'

Chris Price (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Lecture concert

8:00 pm (Trinitatiskirche, Filzengraben 4)

Vom »Sängerkrieg« der Männerchöre – Gesprächskonzert zur Geschichte der Chorwettbewerbe im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert

Ensemble Vocapella Limburg und Christoph Müller- Oberhäuser (Universität zu Köln)

Saturday, 29.06.2019

Panel III: Nationalism and Civil Society

Chair: Evelyn Buyken (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln)

9:30 am

Competing for the Nation: Competition as a Driving Force of Musical Culture and Civil Society in the Long Nineteenth Century

Krisztina Lajosi-Moore (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

10:15 am

Competing with the Entire Musical World: Ambitions, Policies, and Results in the Composition Contests of the Dutch Society for the Promotion of Music (1829-1879)

Jeroen van Gessel (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

11:15 am

’L’arte elevata al suo vero splendore’. Musical Competitions in Naples in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century and the Role of the Circolo Bonamici

Lucio Tufano (Università degli Studi di Palermo)

12:00 pm

Nineteenth-Century Musical Competitions 

Frank Hentschel (Universität zu Köln)

Panel IV: Criticism and Legitimation

Chair: Andreas Stynen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

2:00 pm

Musical Competitions in Antebellum New York City

Clemens Kreutzfeldt (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien)

2:45 pm

Musical Societies in Roubaix in the 1890s: Refusing Musical Competition, Promoting Social Revolution

Sophie-Anne Leterrier (Université d’Artois, Arras)

4:00 pm

Competitions and the State as a Topic in Nineteenth-Century French Musical Press

Jonas Traudes (Universität zu Köln)

4:45 pm

Round table