Date of Award

Fall 11-28-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors in Arts (B.A.)

Organizational Unit

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, Nineteenth-century musicians, Female violinists, American music


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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