Roundtable with Benjamin Bagby on Beowulf

January 26, 2023 (Thursday) — 5:15 pm to 7:00 pm

Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, 6th Floor
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
3420 Walnut St.
University of Pennsylvania
Open to the Public; Registration is Required (link)

Join Penn Live Arts, the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and the Penn Departments of English and Music for a special conversation with Benjamin Bagby, whose Penn Live Arts performance of Beowulf takes place Jan 27.

Bagby is a founder of the medieval music ensemble Sequentia and has been performing Beowulf around the globe since the 1990s. Penn faculty members Caroline Batten (English), Emily Steiner (English), Mary Channen Caldwell (Music) and David Wallace (English) will discuss with Bagby his process of bringing Beowulf from the page to performance. Come early to view a display of Beowulf editions and related materials in the Henry Charles Lea Library.



Benjamin Bagby is descended from a Germanic clan that emigrated from Jutland to northern England in ca. 630, where they remained until his branch of the family emigrated to the colony of Virginia almost a millennium later. Following 321 years of subsequent family wanderings, he was born on the shores of Lake Michigan, and 12 years later, was captivated by Beowulf. Several years after returning to Europe in 1974, he founded, together with the late Barbara Thornton, the ensemble for medieval music Sequentia, based in Cologne, Germany, for 25 years. Both Bagby and Sequentia are now based in Paris.


Bagby will be performing his musical reconstruction of the poem the following evening as a Penn Live Arts concert at the Harold Prince Theatre. Purchase tickets for the Penn Live Arts performance.


Featured image: Benjamin Bagby performing Beowulf