MusicaFemina International Symposium Budapest

8-9 January 2020 

MusicaFemina International Symposium is a forum for researchers, music professionals and local communities in Central and East Europe to explore relations of gender and musical practice in four interrelated programs. Gender and Creativity in Music Worlds is a two-day conference including lectures, panel discussions and roundtable discussions. The panels focus on the role of gender in music education, the relations between gender and music in the Central and East European region, and issues of gender within the music industry. At the roundtable discussions, performers, composers and managers will address issues of creativity from a gender perspective. For the first afternoon of the symposium, we invite experts from the Hungarian music world (composers, performers, journalists and music historians) to a series of roundtable discussions in order to talk about the issue of gender in the Hungarian music scene (entitled Hang-nem-váltás?/Changing Tonality?). The discussions will be followed by a special edition of Ladyfest Budapest, an underground event, in Három Holló Café, with all-female bands from Germany, Poland and Hungary performing. The final event of the symposium will be the opening concert of the Transparent Sound New Music Festival, preceded by a brief discussion.
Please register until 2 January, 2020.

Gender and Creativity in Music Worlds

Day 1

8. Jan – Central European University (Nádor utca 9., 1051 Budapest)

12:00 – 13:00


13:00 – 13:30

Opening of the MusicaFemina International Symposium 

Hashtag Ensemble: Sovietica

Three photographs by the outstanding Polish photographer Zofia Rydet will be read as musical scores by three members of Hashtag Ensemble cooperative: Marta Grzywacz (voice), Ania Karpowicz (flute) and Aleksandra Kaca (live electronics). Zofia Rydet’s unique perception and interpretation of women’s role in East-European societies of the 20th century will be the inspiration for three instant pieces of the improvised set. 

Welcome addresses by Francisca de Haan PhD, Professor and Head of Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Zsuzsanna Szálka, Lecturer at the Cultural Heritage Studies Program, Central European University and Project Manager MusicaFemina Hungary, Budapest, Hungary and Gergely Fazekas PhD, Associate Professor of Musicology at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest, Hungary

13:30 – 14:15

Keynote speech

Christa Brüstle, PhD, Professor of Musicology and Gender Studies, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria

Women in Music – Roles and Identities

The roles of women in music have long been ignored in music historiography, although it can be assumed that there have been singers and instrumentalists at all times. The creative, art-creating roles, in particular, were usually reserved for the male ‘geniuses’, even as female composers both throughout history and the present time are gradually being recognized. It is therefore interesting to see if and how the professional roles in music change when women and men are equally represented in all areas.

14:15 – 14:30

Coffee Break

14:30 – 15:45

Conference Session 1: Gender and the Music Industries I.

Julia Eckhardt, Musician and Curator, Founding Member and Artistic Director of Q-O2 workspace in Brussels, Belgium

The Second Sound – Otherness in Music

Martin K. Koszolko, PhD, Lead Teacher in Sound Production, Music Industry Melbourne Polytechnic (School of Creative Arts), Melbourne, Australia

Female Agency and Perspectives in the Communities of Mobile Musicians

Emília Barna, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Communication, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary

Women and Invisible Labour in the Hungarian Music Industries

Leyre Marinas, PhD Student, Doctoral Program in Journalism at the Faculty of Information Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

MeToo Through the Music: How the Metoo Movement Affected Women in Music

15:45 – 16:30

Conference Session 2: Gender and Music in Central and East Europe I.

Pavla Jonssonová PhD, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Anglo-American University, Prague, Czech Republic

Contemporary Czech Women Alternative Musicians

Anna Szemere, PhD, Independent Scholar, Editor, Bloomsbury Popular Music, Portland, USA and Budapest

2 F-Words: Freedom and Femininity in Bea Palya’s Musical World 

Hang-nem-váltás? (Changing Tonality?)

8. Jan – Három Holló/Drei Raben (Piarista köz 1., 1052 Budapest)

17:00 – 18:30

Gender Relations in the Musical Realm: series of roundtable discussions with eight participants of the Hungarian music world (in Hungarian, with simultaneous interpreting)

Does gender play a role in music? Do these categories even exist? Do women and men start their career in the music scene with equal opportunities? Does equality make us more productive? Is there a  transition currently undergoing in this field? Do we need any change at all?

We believe that answers to the above listed questions  can vary to a great extent. Our goal is to attain a clearer picture as well as understand the sometimes contradictory feelings and opinions as we attempt  to reach some form of agreement on how we approach these recurring questions.

We asked people from the very diverse Hungarian music world to gather, discuss and think together with all of us attending the event.

  1. Judit Varga (composer), Bea Palya (singer-songwriter), Anna Novotny (journalist), Moderator: Gergely Fazekas (musicologist)
  2. Gergely Vajda (composer), Márk Saiid Süveg (MC, producer), Ferenc László (journalist)

Moderator: Sisso Artner (journalist)

18:30 – 19:00

“SHE writes the song” – How Female Songwriters Emerge?Achieving Professional Acclaim in Hungary and Worldwide.

Why are role models essential in this field? What proportion of songs are written by women and in what musical genres? How can their songwriting careers be promoted? Figures, prizes and events demonstrating that women songwriters and composers do emerge and gain ground in greater numbers– not only around the globe but also in Hungary. 

Péter Benjamin Tóth (Chief Transformation Officer of the Hungarian CMO, Society Artisjus Hungarian Bureau for the Protection of Authors’ Rights)

19:00 – 20:30

Gender Relations in the Musical Realm: World Café (collective discussion)

In a series of structured  conversations, participants will explore the topic by discussing a set of questions. Each host moderates the three discussions, while all the other participants change tables and interact with different groups of participants. At the end of the three rounds the hosts summarize the main points addressed in the talks of each table. 

Facilitator: Zsuzsanna Szálka (Cultural Heritage Studies, Central European University and MusicaFemina Hungary)

Ladyfest Budapest Extra

8. Jan – Három Holló/Drei Raben (Piarista köz 1., 1052 Budapest)

20:30 – 23:30

Ladyfest Budapest Extra

Ladyfest Budapest came into existence to raise awareness of the inequalities and injustices women have to face, almost on a daily basis, when pursuing a career in the arts or in the music industry. Since 2016, Ladyfest Budapest has been providing a platform in the frames of an annual showcase festival, to help increase the visibility of underground female performers. Besides the introduction of bands and artists, our goal is to catalyze the discourse and build spaces of female solidarity.


Rosa Vertov (PL)

Rosa Vertov is a four-member all-female band from Warsaw, Poland. Originally starting as a high-school band, they released their debut EP in 2014 on Crunchy Human Children RecordsTheir first album came out in 2017, the dark shoegaze/dream-pop heavy who would have thought?, and their sound matured as they played numerous shows at tiny clubs in Warsaw, Poland’s biggest music festivals, as well as touring Ukraine, Germany and South Korea.

They are also part of the Polish music export organization Don’t Panic! We’re from Poland Showcase.

Doris (DE)

Doris is the solo project of Andreya Casablanca (Gurr), her guitar and her laptop. Using it as a direct outlet of emotional outbursts (about anxiety, boyfriends, self-therapy), some songs have never left the state of its demo iphone-recording, while others have dipped into the realms of cheesy pop lines and dramatic breaks. Just as one day you cry, one day you laugh, there will be nothing solid about this.

Musica Moralia (HU)

Musica Moralia’s (Eda Meggyeshazi) music bears a distinct atmosphere; a creation in the experimental, post-folk sphere. In her own words, she plays silent noise, sometimes on the dulcimer, sometimes on the piano. She started composing on a two-stringed guitar and on the piano, then later on she moved on to the cello. In the meantime she feels inexplicably drawn towards 80’s analogue synths. She has been in the music scene for more than ten years in Hungary, often in Germany and the Netherlands. In 2016 Normafa Records launched her debut LP with the title hell is coming home, which is an intimate and highly personal album consisting of songs written and performed on the dulcimer, piano, and electric-organ.

Gender and Creativity in Music Worlds

Day 2

9. Jan – Central European University (Nádor utca 9. 1051 Budapest)

09:30 – 10:15

Keynote speech:

Ann Werner PhD, Associate Professor, Gender Studies, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden

Feminism and Femininity in Music

Women and other non cis male gender subjects are underrepresented in music, and exposed to sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression. In relation to previous scholarship on feminism and music this presentation will ask how sexism is challenged in music today. And who the ‘we’ challenging it are? Further, ideas about ‘feminine music’ are both integral to and shun by those working to end sexism in music. The presentation will discuss if there could be a feminine music, and what potential or danger this line of thought would have for feminist strategies in music practice today.  

10:15 – 11:00

Conference session 3: Gender (Studies), Education and Pedagogies

Rosa Reitsamer, PhD, Professor of Music Sociology, mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria

Intersectional Perspective on Classical Music Education 

Christine Fischer, PhD, Senior Research Associate, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Department of Music, Lucerne, Switzerland

Ending Republican Gender Politics – Vítězslava Kaprálová’s Cantata Ilena, op.15 

11:00 – 11:15

Coffee Break

11:15 – 13:00

Conference session 4: Gender and the Music Industries II.

Zsófia Hózsa, PhD Student in Musicology, Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, Hungary

Women as Products of Women on Broadway 

Chiharu Chujo, PhD, Lecturer, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 / IETT, Lyon, France

Idolising with Intent…: The Fetishisation of Femininity in the J-Pop Scene 

Marie Buscatto, Professor of Sociology at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, researcher at IDHE.S (Paris 1 – CNRS), Paris, France Women Music Women Theme – Reflection on Working with Women Composers 

“Women’s access to professional jazz playing. From limiting processes to levers for transgression”

Helena Lopes Braga, PhD Candidate in Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Francine Benoît: gendered readings of a woman composer in mid-20th century Portugal

13:00 – 14:15

Lunch Break

14:15 – 15:15

Conference session 5: Gender and Music in Central and East Europe II.

Yvetta Kajanová, Phd, Professor of Musicology, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia

Slovakian Female Composers: Status, Success and Perspectives 

Barbara Rose Lange, PhD, Professor of Ethnomusicology, Moores School of Music, University of Houston, Texas, USA

Modes of Femininity and Power in Hungarian World Music 

Katarzyna Kułakowska, PhD, Assistant Professor, Institute of Art at the Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Poland 

“My name is Uncertainty.” The Female Experience in Autoethnographic Texts of Magdalena Sowul, Leader of the Ugla Quartet 

15:15 – 16:00

Gender, Inspiration and the Creative Process – Roundtable discussion

Andrea Szigetvári (composer), Anna D’Errico (Ensemble Interface), Ania Karpowicz ( #Ensemble), Dániel Péter Biró (composer)

Moderator: Irene Suchy,  Musicologist and Editor of Music Programs of the Austrian Radio (Ö1)

Active composers and performers are discussing the practice of creation, rehearsal, performance, issues of inspiration in new music from a gender-perspective. 

16:00 – 16:45

Increasing the Visibility of Female Artists – Roundtable discussion and best practice presentation

Mirca Lotz, [fwd: like waves], Music Women* Germany
Tatjana Nikolic, Femix, Serbia
Sophie Ransby, Southbank Centre, UK
Flóra Petneházy, Valley of Arts Festival, Hungary
Bettina Wackernagel, Heroines of Sound Festival, Germany

Moderator: Teja Reba, City of Women, Slovenia

Making a contribution towards gender balance awareness in society has been an important mission of leading arts institutions Europe-wide. Programs offering increased visibility, helping young female artists with creative expression by personal and professional development programs are among the few initiatives. Some of the performing arts institutions have united their forces to accelerate change and create a better and more inclusive music industry for present and future generations in the frame of Key Change European cooperation project. At the roundtable, the panelists will present some of the best practices in increasing the visibility of female artists and discuss the possible next steps that could contribute to the gender equality of European music life.


Closing words


Coffee Break

Transparent Sound New Music Festival

9. Jan – Zeneakadémia (Solti Terem, Liszt Ferenc tér 8. 1061 Budapest )


Transparent Sound New Music Festival

Festival opening discussion and workshop on the program and focus of festival and the pieces of the opening concert. 

Judit Varga (composer), Ensemble Interface, Samu Gryllus (curator), Gergely Fazekas (musicologist)


Opening concert of the festival (Ensemble Interface, Frankfurt)

Academic Committee:

Emília Barna, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Communication, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
Samu Gryllus, composer and artistic director of MusicaFemina Hungary and Transparent Sound New Music Festival
Mary Ellen Kitchen, musicologist, conductor, Archiv Frau und Musik
Anna Szemere, Independent Scholar, Editor, Bloomsbury Popular Music, Portland, USA and Budapest
Tamás Tófalvy, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Communication, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary



Zsuzsanna Szálka, Fruzsi Feigl, Katalin György-Dóczy, Karolin Benkő


Máté András Balogh, Vera Budai, Karen Culver, Julia Fedoszov, Orsolya Kaincz, Enikő Nagy, Gergely Nagy, Réka Paksi

This symposium is part of MusicaFemina – Women-made Music Creative Europe Cooperation Project funded by the European Union and co-organised by the Austrian Cultural Forum, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Central European University, City of Women, Embassy of Sweden Budapest, Goethe-Institut, Heroines of Sound Festival, Hungarian Artisjus Society, Ladyfest Budapest, Mariann Steegmann Foundation,, and WOMEX.