Benjamin Bagby is descended from a Germanic clan which emigrated from Jutland to northern England in ca. 630, from where 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 the Great Lakes, and twelve years later was captivated by Beowulf.
Several years after moving back to Europe in 1974 he founded – together with the late Barbara Thornton – the ensemble for medieval music, Sequentia, which was based in Cologne, Germany, for 25 years. Both Mr. Bagby and Sequentia are now based in Paris.
In addition to his activities as singer, harper and director of Sequentia, Benjamin Bagby writes about performance practice and teaches widely in Europe and North America. He is currently on the faculty of the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he teaches in the master’s program for medieval music performance practice.
In addition to his work with Beowulf, Mr. Bagby and Sequentia have produced two CDs of musical reconstructions from the medieval Icelandic Edda, one of which, ‘The Rheingold Curse’, was also staged by Ping Chong. The ensemble's most recent CD, ‘Fragments for the End of Time’, explores early medieval songs about the Apocalypse.
Benjamin Bagby performs with Sequentia on Friday, April 28, as part of the Howard Mayer Brown International Early Music Series.