Friday, March 24, 2017 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Gendebien Room, Skillman Library
Suzanne Westfall, Professor of Theater


Reconstructing Beowulf

A Conversation with Benjamin Bagby

Moderated by Professor Suzanne Westfall


Brown bag lunch provided, while supplies last – arrive early


Vocalist, harper, and scholar Benjamin Bagby has been an important figure in the field of medieval musical performance for more than 35 years. He is the founder of the acclaimed and innovative early music ensemble Sequentia, renowned for the performance and recording of Western European music prior to 1300.


Bagby became interested in Beowulf as a high school student in Chicago in the 1960s. He began researching the theoretical background for various possible modes of performance, along with the pronunciation and meter of Old English in the 1980s, and mounted his first performance of Beowulf at the Utrecht Early Music Festival (Netherlands) in 1990. While playing the medieval harp, without the use of musical notation, Bagby had the beginnings of a new oral tradition to reconstruct a lost oral tradition, imagining the practice of a medieval scop, or poet. Since then, as the project has evolved through continuous research, Bagby has been invited to present Beowulf: The Epic in Performance at the 1997 and 2006 Lincoln Center Festivals, and in nearly every corner of the globe.


Benjamin Bagby teaches in the graduate program for Medieval Music Performance Practice, which he helped found in 2005, at the Université de Paris – Sorbonne.


This talk accompanies:

Beowulf: The Epic in Performance

Friday March 24, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts


Benjamin Bagby will perform the 11th-century poem Beowulf, in song and narration, in the original Anglo Saxon (with modern English supertitles)

Sponsored by: 
Williams Center for the Arts