Conservatory Cultures


The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies

Project type



The project aims to investigate how conservatoire music education shapes belonging in terms of nation and gender, during times of growing nationalism and anti-gender movements, in Estonia, Finland and Hungary.

Classical music has been understood as an artform displaying and constructing ideas about both nation and gender and is a cultural practice of symbolic importance. Further, access to classical music education is regulated by unequal gender structures, while patriotism and nationalism are evident in classical music education.

Questions asked are: How does policy construct the institution, teacher and student as gendered and situated in a national context? What are the main modes of teaching promoted in the institutions, and how does didactics interplay with nation and gender? How does the embodiment of a musical repertoire display nation and gender in performances?

Three institutions (Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, University of the Arts in Helsinki: The Sibelius Academy, The Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music) will be studied.

The main researchers work with one local researcher at each conservatory in two rounds of field work. Interviews with students, teachers and decision makers, policy documents and exam concerts will be analyzed. Methods are combined to grasp relations between institutions, discourses, and the students’ embodiment of musical education and provide knowledge on how nation and gender play out in an area of great symbolic cultural relevance in Baltic and Eastern Europe: classical music.

Research area / geographic area

Culture and Education Gender Studies Education Critical and Cultural Theory Studies in the Educational Sciences Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe Eastern Europe

Contract ID


Project time

2021 — 2024


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