Night at the museum for City book
12 cultural heritage
Byzantine chant hits the right notes A City academic is awarded a highly regarded fellowship to bring major research work on medieval chant to musicologists, art historians, theologians and the public.
octor Alexander Lingas (pictured) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana and a Fellow of the University of Oxford’s European Humanities Research Centre. His work embraces historical study, ethnography and performance. His awards include Fulbright and Onassis grants for musical studies with cantor Lycourgos Angelopoulos, fellowships at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and the St. Romanos the Melodist medallion of the National Forum for Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (USA). In 2009 the British Academy awarded Dr Lingas the Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowship to support his work on a new historical introduction to Byzantine chant for Yale University Press. The fellowship was one of eight awarded by the British Academy that year to provide established scholars with a year of leave to concentrate on bringing a major piece of research towards completion. Byzantine chant is the medieval Greek sibling of Gregorian chant. With historical and cultural roots in the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire
that was governed for a thousand years from Constantinople (modern Istanbul), it is the forebear of the music sung in worship today by hundreds of millions of Eastern Christians from Beirut to the Baltic Sea. Due for completion in 2013, Dr Lingas's study will be the first book-length introduction to the subject since Egon Wellesz’s landmark History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (1961. 2nd ed. Clarendon Press). This new introduction will serve not only a range of scholars including musicologists, art historians and theologians, but also those seeking to learn more about ancient forms of song that continue to inspire listeners in contemporary churches and concert halls. Dr Lingas is deeply committed to sharing the musical traditions of the Christian East with a wide range of audiences. In 2012 his American-based ensemble Cappella Romana (www.capellaromana.org) will release a CD of medieval chant from Mount Sinai (the group’s 14th disc) and offer a concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)’.
Dr Jenny Kidd is a lecturer in the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management. Her research interests include audiences, performance, community and digital media and museums. Her recent book, co-edited with Anthony Jackson, Emeritus Professor of Educational Theatre at the University of Manchester, Performing Heritage (2010. Manchester University Press), contemplates the sometimes controversial question of the place of heritage in today’s culturally complex societies. Launched in the imposing settings of the Theatre and Performance galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the book addresses the increasing use of performance in museums and at heritage sites that has been the subject of much comment and controversy within popular, professional and academic circles. ‘Living history’ and ‘museum theatre’ are often dismissed as ‘edutainment’ or seen as symptomatic of the ‘Disneyfication’ of culture, yet Performing Heritage aims to make a more critical and considered analysis of performance as a medium for learning, bringing together for the first time the range of voices (both professionals and audiences), debates and practices that constitute the field. Citing case studies from across the world, the book grapples with the many definitions of heritage and provides insights into the ways in which performance can engage with it in contrasting cultural and social settings.
Published on Mar 6, 2012