Pirkko Moisala
Humanist of the day

Pirkko Moisala

Professor Pirkko Moisala is equally familiar with Himalayan village music as contemporary western art. She has examined music from cultural, historical, cognitive and gender perspectives. She is interested in the people who create music and the kind of life music makes possible for individuals and communities. Moisala believes that musicology can be a form of social activism.

Pirkko Moisala

Pirkko Marjatta Moisala
Born November 14 1953, Taivalkoski

Masters in Philosophy 1982, Musicology, University of Helsinki
Licentiate in Philosophy 1988, Musicology, University of Helsinki
Doctor of Philosophy 1991, Musicology, University of Turku

Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, University of Helsinki 2008-
Professor of Musicology, University of Turku, 1997 (acting) and 2007-2008; Professor of Musicology, Åbo Akademi University, 1998-2007
Associate Professor, University of Turku, 1990-1997
Researcher, Academy of Finland, 1987-1990
Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Sibelius Academy, 1984-1987
Acting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of Helsinki, 1983-1984

Research interests
Socially aware methodology of music research; indigenous peoples, well-being, and music; constructing ethnicity and belonging through music; music examined from the point of view of gender and feminism

Current Research Projects
Deleuzian Music Research (Academy of Finland), 2012–2016
Indigenous Musics and Well-being (Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki), 2011-

Previous Research Projects
Finland Swedishness Constructed Through Music (Swedish Literary Society in Finland), 2007–2011
Feminist Music Research (Academy of Finland), 1998–2002
Finnishness Constructed Through Music (Academy of Finland), 1993–1997

Awards and Special Accomplishments
Silver Medal, World Didac Foundation, 1988
Honorary dedication, Music Museum of Nepal, 2014

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Pirkko Moisala

Music research shapes our understanding of music and the world. Since the research conclusions are always arrived at following a certain methodology, Professor Pirkko Moisala has sought to renew the perspectives and methods of music research. The research also draws attention and prestige to its subject.

Read more

Professor Pirkko Moisala has served as the president for such academic organisations and research teams as the Finnish Society of Ethnomusicology and the ”Music and Gender” research team for the International Council for Traditional Music, which she also founded.

Read more

Musical conventions participate in creating gender, and, in turn, the gender structure conditions music. Many of the works by Pirkko Moisala deal with the relationships between culture, gender and music. Moisala has written about women classical music composers in order to fill out the gaps in music history. She has also authored a book on the career of Kaija Saariaho, including the reception of her music, her compositional processes and her development as a composer.

Read more

The research project Indigenous Musics and Well-Being, led by Professor Pirkko Moisala, studies music as a tool for ethnic empowerment, social cohesion, and cultural sustainability: “The well-being of both the community and the individual is built on mental, physical, social and economic factors, which can be influenced by musical practices.”

Read more
  • ‘Deleuzian Music Research’ project, led by Pirkko Moisala website
  • Pirkko Moisala's video interview on her Indigenous Musics and Well-Being research project, which studies the musical conventions of the Sámi people, the Nepalese, the indigenous Canadians and Bolivian Cholitas, as promoters of well-being in the community. Humanistinen tutkimus vaikuttaa ('Humanities research…
Read more