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Faculty of Music


This year's Cambridge Festival of Ideas includes a wide range of talks, lecture-concerts, and workshops, featuring members of the Faculty of Music.

On 15 October, in 'Dances, Dirges and Devotions: Old and New Music for Early Instruments', Francis Knights (Director of Studies in Music at Fitzwilliam College) and friends explore the ways in which composers continue, extend and challenge the musical legacy of the past through the sounds of viols, recorders and harpsichords. 

What did J. S. Bach’s music do to the bodies, minds and souls of his listeners? On 18 October, join Bettina Varwig, renowned Baroque violinist Margaret Faultless and a group of specialist musicians in the beautiful surroundings of Emmanuel College Chapel, to find out if they can recapture some of the transformative effects that this music allegedly inspired in its time.

Then on 19 October, in her talk 'Sounding (out) Italy', British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and Rising Star Dr Francesca Vella takes us on a tour of sonic objects and experiences beyond traditional aural markers of Italian-ness (for more on Dr Vella's research project, go to

On 25 October, the Centre for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College presents 'The Sound of Change', a concert exploring the transformative role of the performing arts in interdisciplinary realms. 

And on 26 October, take part in a two-part Gamelan music and dance workshop with visiting master musician Pak Bagus Baghaskoro Wisnu Murti – no previous experience necessary!

That evening, in a pre-concert talk ahead of Cambridge University Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Third Symphony, Professor Nicholas Marston will discuss how the 'Eroica' changed music forever. He will be joined by Judith Weir CBE to talk about Beethoven's influence on her piece Heroic Strokes of the Bow, which also features on the orchestra's programme.

And finally, as the Festival draws to a close on 27 October, award-winning Composer Richard Causton offers an insight into the compositional process, and tells the story behind his latest, highly acclaimed orchestral work, I say NOW. This talk takes place ahead of the East Anglian Young Composers Concert, in which the Marsyas Trio will showcase new compositions by the winners of the East Anglian Young Composers Competition.

All of the above events (with the exception of the Cambridge University Orchestra Concert) are free to attend. Booking for the Festival opens on Monday 23 September 2019. See the Cambridge Festival of Ideas website for more details.