Call for Papers

Cultural Intermediaries in the Nineteenth-Century Music Market

Call For Papers

University of Bristol

June 23–24, 2023

Keynote Speaker: Katharine Ellis (University of Cambridge)

Organizers: Shaena Weitz (University of Bristol), Alessandra Palidda (Oxford Brookes University)

Programme Committee:

Shaena Weitz, Alessandra Palidda, Sarah Hibberd (University of Bristol), Genevieve Arkle (University of Bristol)

The Call is now closed, but will remain here for informational purposes.

We are pleased to announce our call for papers for a 2-day symposium to be held at the University of Bristol on June 23–24, 2023. We anticipate that the event will be in person.

This symposium seeks to illuminate the behind-the-scenes workings of the music market during the (very) long nineteenth century in its full spectrum. As recent and ongoing studies increasingly highlight, publishing was just one facet of the wider music-historical economic market that was enmeshed with the actions of other cultural intermediaries, including agents, claqueurs, impresarios, critics, and more. And while we know very little about their work, these individuals worked behind the scenes to manage music commerce, constructing value and mediating between economy and culture along the way.

While an interest in publishing has been a near-constant in musicological research, it has tended to focus on biography and documentation rather than the act of business itself. Amid a paradigm shift in our thinking about networks, historical agency, canon formation, the documents and objects that constitute musicological research, to name just a few, these gaps in our knowledge seem wider and more pressing. 

We intend the symposium to offer a forum for information exchange and a means of connecting disparate actions that together make up a broader whole. In so doing, we aim to develop a commercial logic of the nineteenth-century music industry. We welcome papers without any limitations on genres or geographic boundaries, and that blur the limits of the long nineteenth century.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to

We have a particular interest in negative actions, which have not been the typical focus of musicology, yet formed an integral part of constructing strategies and value. This might include, but is not limited to

We invite proposals for three formats aimed at fostering information exchange and discussion:


While we welcome case studies, we seek to build connections toward a broader nineteenth-century know-how, and therefore we will favour papers that explore hypotheses and seek connections, rather than offer only description.

The programme committee consists of Alessandra Palidda, Shaena Weitz, Sarah Hibberd, and Genevieve Arkle. The keynote speaker will be Katharine Ellis.

Please send abstracts of 250 words maximum, along with name, email, affiliation (if any), and proposal type to by March 15 March 24. Abstracts will be anonymized for review. Participants will be informed of the outcome by April 15.

We aim to keep the costs of registration low, and have a small number of bursaries available.

For more information, please visit