Date of Award

Fall 11-28-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelors in Arts (B.A.)


Camilla Urso, Nineteenth-century musicians, Female violinists, American music

Organizational Units

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Lamont School of Music, Musicology and Ethnomusicology

First Advisor

Petra Meyer-Frazier

Second Advisor

Jack Sheinbaum

Third Advisor

Zoe Weiss


Camilla Urso (1840-1902) was the first nationally famous female violinist in the United States. Between 1852-1902, Urso gave over a thousand concerts in the United States, becoming a musical celebrity on par with the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. Through her public visibility, Urso transformed nineteenth-century American violin playing from a male-dominated field into an acceptable and even fashionable field for women. Despite her nineteenth-century fame, today Urso is mostly forgotten. Over the course of six chronological chapters, this thesis presents a contextual biography of Urso’s American concert career. Utilizing archival sources, digitized newspapers, and digital mapping methodologies, I argue Urso’s life and celebrity persona shifts expected geographical, cultural, and gendered narratives of nineteenth-century American musical culture.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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