Sequentia

Ensemble for Medieval Music. Benjamin Bagby, Director

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Sequentia celebrates its 40th anniversary in March 2017
 
 

Contact

E-mail: info@sequentia.org

Representation
(Europe)

Katja Zimmermann
VCzimmermann@gmx.net

Representation
(exclusive of Europe)

Seth Cooper
Seth Cooper Arts Inc.
4592 Hampton Ave.
Montréal, QC, Canada
www.sethcooperarts.com
sethcooper.arts@gmail.com
Tel: 514-467-5052

In association for
Season 2016-2017 with:

Jon Aaron
Aaron Concert Artists 
220 West 148th St. 4J
New York City 10039, NY / USA
Tel: 212-665-0313
jon@aaronconcert.com

 

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The Ensemble

Sequentia is one of the world’s most respected and innovative ensembles for medieval music. It is an international group of singers and instrumentalists – united in Paris under the direction of the legendary performer and teacher Benjamin Bagby – dedicated to the performance and recording of Western European music from the period before 1300. The size and disposition of the ensemble is determined by the repertoire being performed, and ranges between an instrumental/vocal duo to a large vocal ensemble. Based on meticulous and original research, intensive rehearsal and long gestation, Sequentia’s virtuosic performances are compelling, surprising in their immediacy, and strike the listener with a timeless emotional connection to our own past musical cultures. More

35 YEARS IN THE MAKING!

The Complete Works of Hildegard von Bingen, recorded by Sequentia and newly-released on 9 CDs by Sony in 2017.

In September 2017, just in time for her feast-day on 17 September, Sony released a 9-CD deluxe box set containing the complete Sequentia recordings of Hildegard von Bingen's musical works, the Symphonia and the drama Ordo Virtutum, together with all the booklets from the original CDs (in English, French and German) in a newly-designed book format.

The sung texts, in the original Latin and with translations into English, French and German, are available as a free PDF on the Sequentia website.

This monumental recording project, which began in Cologne in 1982 (with WDR Köln and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi) culminated in the final recording released by Sony in 2013. On nine CDs containing almost twelve hours of music, the musicians of Sequentia can be heard, under the direction of Barbara Thornton and Benjamin Bagby, in these legendary recordings. Over the course of 31 years, almost 60 vocalists and instrumentalists participated in this project. Read more about it here.

SEMINAR

Roman de Fauvel

Music and Corruption in Paris at the Court of Philip the Fair (1300-1315)

The Seminar, directed by Pedro Memelsdorff, will consist in master-classes, lectures and workshops by three of the main experts in the field: Benjamin Bagby, founder and director of the ensemble Sequentia, Margaret Bent and Anna Zayaruznaya (eminent musicologists at the Universities of Oxford and Yale).

Venice (IT), Fondazione Cini, 09 to 13 October 2017

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Excerpts from Sequentia's first demo recordings (1978-79)

By Benjamim Bagby

For the ensemble's 40th anniversary in 2017, my colleague Norbert Rodenkirchen encouraged me to rummage in the Sequentia tape archive in Cologne and see what old recordings were lying around. I found two of our oldest demos, on reel-to-reel tapes. Norbert took the fragile tapes to the renowned Topaz Studio in Cologne, where sound engineer Reinhard Kobialka was able to save most of the deteriorated sounds. Still, one hears the hand of time in these old recordings. Norbert had the idea to use the old label of the demo as an image. The list was written on our old mechanical typewriter, and the lettering done by hand, with Letraset (considered very hightech in pre-computer times). More

SCHWEIZER MUSIKZEITUNG

Lost Voices from the Middle Ages

Review by Anja Wernicke of the Sequentia concert in Basel, Switzerland, where the REMA Early Music Artist Award for 2016 has been presented to Benjamin Bagby. Read it here (in German).

SWISS RADIO (SRF)

Benjamin Bagby receives REMA award

The REMA Early Music Artist Award for 2016 has been presented to Benjamin Bagby during a ceremony in Basel, Switzerland, on 17 March 2017. On this occasion the Swiss Radio SRF 2 Kultur aired a feature program authored by Jenny Berg. You can listen to it here (in German).

CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF SEQUENTIA

Schola Cantorum Basiliensis

Benjamin Bagby writes about the origins of the ensemble at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. Read it here (PDF).

GERMAN RADIO WDR

Sequentia featured in radio tribute

Benjamin Bagby and Sequentia will be the focus of the program WDR 3 Vesper on 11 March, 2017. The show will feature interviews made with Bagby over the years, and a selection of Sequentia’s recording for the WDR (with whom the ensemble has had a working relationship since its beginnings in Köln in the late 1970’s).

PROFESSEUR DISTINGUÉ

Sorbonne honors Bagby

Benjamin Bagby honored as a ‘professeur distingué’ by the University of Paris - Sorbonne, in recognition of his recent REMA award. He has been on the faculty of the Sorbonne since 2005, where he teaches performance practice in the master’s program for medieval music.

REMA AWARD 2016

Benjamin Bagby to receive prestigious award

Sequentia’s co-founder and artistic director Benjamin Bagby has been awarded the REMA Early Music Artist Award for 2016. It will be presented to him during a ceremony in Basel, Switzerland, on 17 March 2017 (the same day as Sequentia’s performance of ‘Monks Singing Pagans’ for the Freunde Alte Musik Basel). REMA is the largest European early music network. See an interview with Benjamin here.

FIRST PERFORMANCE IN 1,000 YEARS

Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy

After more than two decades of painstaking work on identifying the techniques used to set particular verse forms, research undertaken by Cambridge University’s Dr Sam Barrett has enabled him to reconstruct melodies from the rediscovered leaf of the 11th century ‘Cambridge Songs'. Sequentia (Benjamin Bagby, Hanna Marti and Norbert Rodenkirchen) presented the Boethian songs at a concert held in Cambridge on 23 April 2016, and again on 2 July, as part of a symposium on medieval Latin song. An informal rehearsal video made by the university became a YouTube sensation (see below), with over 500, 000 views so far.More

Reconstructing the Songs

A documentary charting the reconstruction of early medieval Latin song repertories and melodies for Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy with Sequentia and Dr Sam Barrett of the University of Cambridge.

NEW PROGRAM FOR 2016

Monks Singing Pagans

When we think of medieval monks and their musical lives, the first thing to come to mind is Gregorian chant, but a closer look at medieval monastic manuscripts from the 9th to 12th centuries shows that many monks were singing other songs as well, with texts which were sometimes anything but Christian. The medieval monastic and cathedral schools of medieval Europe were great centers of learning and focal points of intellectual life. For all monks and clerics, who were native speakers of European vernacular languages, it was essential to become bilingual, to speak, think, perhaps even to read and write in Latin, the language of their faith, the liturgy, the sciences, philosophy and literature. More

BENJAMIN BAGBY SOLO PERFORMANCE

The Voyager: Medieval Songs of Exile, Wandering and Travel

In January 2015 Benjamin Bagby premiered a new solo program at the Musée de Cluny in Paris: the theme was travel and the songs of travellers in the Middle Ages. The live concert was filmed by Laurent Hadrien and a short film has been produced, with excerpts from the performance and added commentary by Bagby.

BENJAMIN BAGBY'S BEOWULF

Beowulf at the Utrecht Early Music Festival

On 29-30 August, Benjamin Bagby celebrated the 25th anniversary of his first performance of Beowulf at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, performing again to sold-out houses in Utrecht's RASA Theatre. See the festival's promotional video in which Bagby appears to discuss his work:

Review in the Spanish daily El Paìs

CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Collected Stories: Hero

Bagby's Beowulf performed in Carnegie Hall, New York City

On 22 April Benjamin Bagby performed a version of Beowulf as part of a series of concerts curated by American composer David Lang.

New York Times review

This concert was listed among the 'Ten Best Classical Music Events of 2014' by the New York Times!

LATEST RELEASE

Hildegard von Bingen: Celestial Hierarchy

The final CD of Sequentia's Hildegard von Bingen complete works project was recorded for DHM/SONY in November 2012 in the church of Franc-Warêt, Belgium. It was released in May 2013 as a single CD. The completion of this enormous project, begun by Sequentia in 1982, represents the culmination of the life's work of the late Barbara Thornton and also celebrates Hildegard's elevation to sainthood and magistra ecclesiae in 2012. A multi-generational ensemble of women's voices plus the flautist Norbert Rodenkirchen was united under the direction of Benjamin Bagby for this unique recording whose title is 'Celestial Hierarchy'. More

Upcoming Concerts

05 October 2017
Paris (FR), Musée de Cluny
Monks Singing Pagans

09 to 13 October 2017
Venice (IT), Fondazione Cini
Seminar Roman de Fauvel

20 April 2018
Konstanz, D
Oswald in Konstanz

See full concert schedule

 

News

Benjamin Bagby's recent activities as teacher/lecturer, linked to his performances

At the invitation of the music department, Benjamin taught a performance workshop on the music of Hildegard von Bingen for students at Princeton University (29 March), where he also performed 'Beowulf' in a collaborative production with digital light designer Craig Winslow. Following this, at the invitation of the medieval studies program and the English department, he gave a lecture on his work with reconstructing the 'Beowulf' performance, at Yale University (3 April).

At the Université Paris – Sorbonne, where Benjamin is on the faculty, the yearly 'Entretiens de la musique ancienne' were held this year in honor of his life-long work with reconstructing 'lost songs'. The main event was his performance of 'Beowulf' (11 May), with French video titles, in the Amphithéâtre Richelieu of the Sorbonne, followed by two days of symposium at the university's Centre Clignancourt, sponsored by the historical music organization IREMUS and the musicology department of the university. During this symposium, Benjamin gave a lecture on his work with reconstructed harps and the kinds of clues they can provide ('Beowulf ': dans l'atelier d'un conteur d'histoires).

 

2017 Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship awarded by Early Music America to string-player Allison Monroe

This scholarship is given by EMA to “an outstanding and highly-motivated (and possibly unconventional) young performer of medieval music who seeks to widen his/her experience through more advanced study and/or auditions in Europe.”  The recipient is chosen by a jury of musicians who knew or worked with the great medieval music specialist and teacher, Barbara Thornton (1950-1998), who co-founded Sequentia together with Benjamin Bagby in 1977. Read more about Allison here.

More news