Ensemble for Medieval Music. Benjamin Bagby, Director

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Sequentia celebrates its 40th anniversary in March 2017




Katja Zimmermann

(exclusive of Europe)

Seth Cooper
Seth Cooper Arts Inc.
4592 Hampton Ave.
Montréal, QC, Canada
Tel: 514-467-5052


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Lost Songs

In the mid-1980’s, Benjamin Bagby began his work on the reconstruction of the Beowulf epic, and since then he has been deeply involved with those European musical repertoires which have literally ‘vanished’, for which the surviving manuscripts do not provide enough information for a reliable transcription. Aided by musicologists and philologists (such as Sam Barrett and Peter Dronke of Cambridge University, Jan Ziolkowski of Harvard University, and Heimir Pálsson of Uppsala University), Bagby – often working together with his colleagues in Sequentia – has built on his work with Beowulf to reconstruct the music of other early sources: Anglo-Saxon texts (such as Deor and the Wanderer); the deep reservoir of stories found in the Icelandic Poetic Edda; the Old Saxon Heliand; the Old High German Muspilli, the Hildebrandslied and Otfrid von Weissenburg’s Evangelienbuch; the Latin and German lyrics found in the 11th century manuscript known as the Cambridge Songs. Many of these have been recorded (see below) and other projects are in preparation.

Programs and recordings

  • Frankish Phantoms (8th-10th centuries)
  • Fragments for the End of Time / Endzeitfragmente
    (Sequentia concert program since 2005; CD in 2008)
  • Beowulf
    (solo concert since 1990; DVD in 2007)
  • Lost Songs of a Rhineland Harper
    (Sequentia concert program 2000-2007; CD in 2004)
  • The Rheingold Curse: A Germanic Saga of Greed and Revenge from the Medieval Icelandic Edda
    (Sequentia music-theater project 2001-2; concert program since 2001; CD in 2001)
  • Music theater: Ping Chong’s staging of the ‘Rheingold Curse’
  • Edda: Myths from Medieval Iceland
    (Sequentia music-theater project 1995-7; CD in 1999)

Programs in preparation
[working titles]

  • The Unknown Carmina Burana (premiere in summer 2013)
  • Anglo-Saxon Elegies (7-8th century laments in Old English)
  • The Monk Sings the Pagan (classical authors set to music, 10-12 centuries)
  • Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (6th century Latin song)

Read Benjamin Bagby's article Searching for the Lost Voice of My Germanic Ancestors which appeared in Early Music America

Upcoming Concerts

22 August 2024
Brauweiler, Germany (Abteikirche St. Nikolaus Brauweiler), 7.30 pm
Musen der Sphären (World Premiere)

24 October 2024
Prague, University of Prague (Boethius 150th anniversary)
Boethius - Songs of Consolation (Quartet)

14 February 2025
Kulturzentrum Peterskirche, Kempen
Musen der Sphären

See full concert schedule



Benjamin Bagby's teaching activities in 2019

In March 2019, Benjamin will give two weekend courses on the solo songs of Philippe le Chancelier (d. 1236). The courses are being hosted by the Centre de Musique Médiévale de Paris. Dates: 9-10 and 30-31 March.
More information

After retiring from his teaching position at the University of Paris - Sorbonne, where he taught between 2005 and 2018 in the professional masters program, Benjamin Bagby continues to travel widely in 2019 to teach practical workshops for young professionals:

Folkwang Universität der Künste (Essen-Werden, Germany).
Benjamin has joined the faculty of this renowned masters program for liturgical chant performance and medieval music. The dates of his courses in 2019: 5-7 April; 26-28 April; 17-19 May; 30 May–01 June.
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For the second year in a row, Benjamin will teach an intensive course in the 8th International Course on Medieval Music Performance (Besalú, Spain): Songs of the troubadours (for singers and instrumentalists).
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Amherst Early Music Festival (Connecticut College, New London CT) 21-28 July:
An intensive course on the solo cansos of the Occitan troubadours, with a focus on songs from the great Milan songbook Bibl. Ambr. R71 sup. (for singers and instrumentalists).
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