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Dr. Sven Oliver Müller

The Bielefeld Historian Sven Oliver Müller will be in Munich from mid November 2009 until mid February 2010. He is working on the subject "The Music of Society. The Opera and Concert Audience in Berlin, Munich and Vienna 1815 - 1914".

In the 19th century, opera houses and concert halls, according to Müller, were central social meeting points and places of public discussion. The presentation and self-presentation of the bourgeois classes and the aristocracy, who constituted the audiences of these performances, were reflections not only of social differences or cultural behavioral patterns, but indeed of a more fundamental phenomenon. According to Müller, the regular and regulated performances contributed to the shaping of the social order in the first place. Musical performances thus simultaneously represented and generated social status, cultural behavior patterns and political inequality.

Sven Oliver Müller completed his doctoral thesis under Hans-Ulrich Wehler on the topic of Nationalism in Germany and Great Britain during the First World War, and following this worked on the newly designed Wehrmacht exhibition in Hamburg. Since then, he has been an academic staff member in Bielefeld and has taken up several invitations for guest sojourns, for example at the European University Institute in Florence and the Columbia University in New York. In Munich, he will work with the professors Eckhart Hellmuth and Hans-Michael Körner as part of his project and will make use of the extensive musicological inventory of the State Library.