En samhällelig angelägenhet: Framväxten av en symfoniorkester och ett konserthus i Stockholm, cirka 1890–1926

  • Date:
  • Location: Geijersalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H, 751 20, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Löwengart, Mia
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Historiska institutionen
  • Contact person: Löwengart, Mia
  • Disputation

This dissertation studies the processes which lead to the creation of the necessary preconditions for establishing institutions of high culture in Stockholm, between 1890-1926.

How and Why these specific processes resulted in Stockholm establishing a permanent symphony orchestra and a purpose-built concert hall are the primary objects of this study.

My theoretical framework was shaped by Paul DiMaggio’s model for the creation of high culture. In this model DiMaggio identifies three concurrent but analytically distinct processes, which he argues must act in unison in order for institutions for high culture to be realized.  Utilizing this model the main developments in Stockholm are sketched out, by the examination of four fields, the categories for the analysis:

1) Music; 2) The performance, external conditions and venues; 3) Audiences;  4) Cultural entrepreneurship and institution-building.

The primary sources used are principally concert reviews, concert programmes, and the records of board meetings and other primary materials in the archive of Konsertföreningen i Stockholm.

This study shows that, around 1917, a distinction had been made between “art” and “entertainment” in Stockholm’s concert life and a symphony orchestra had been established capable of performing key works from the international standard repertoire. Public attitudes towards music had been ritualized, with musical education and an aesthetic perspective providing the rituals´ ideological basis. Symphony concerts’ audiences, regardless of their social composition, now followed the code of conduct specified in the concert programmes available.

In this regard, Stockholm´s development was distinct from many other cities. For Stockholm to finally acquire a permanent symphony orchestra and a purpose-built concert hall, appreciation of serious (or classical) music had to evolve from being a matter of concern only for the bourgeoisie to becoming a matter of social urgency. In addition, a manifested desire to provide musical education to the lower-classes, alongside the on-going process of democratization, led the state to legitimate symphony music. In a spirit of understanding between politicians and the business elite concert institutions were established, and symphony concerts became accessible to a socially broader audience. Crucially, these factors coincided with both prosperous times and a supportive social climate.