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

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


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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

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



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.

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