RNS: Season Opening Pre-Concert Conversation: Music & Spirituality

Posted on Sep 17, 2022

Durham University musicologist Dr Katherine Hambridge convenes two pre-concert conversations for our first two events of the season: Season Opening Night on Saturday 17 September and Lindisfarne – Spiritual Sounds on Friday 23 September. This evening we explore relationships between music and spirituality, and the specificity and power of music (or otherwise!) as a medium of reflection, devotion, and ritual with Stu HerringRevd Dr Helen Savage and Jaswinder Singh.

The conversation will take place on the Concourse at 6.30pm and last approximately 30 minutes. It is free to attend and open to all, no ticket necessary.


Dr Katherine Hambridge is Associate Professor in Musicology at Durham University. She specializes in French and German musical life 1800-50, particularly music and politics, music theatre, song and singers, issues of genre and performance practice, and categories of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. She is a singer and choral conductor, and spent many years working as a church organist. Katherine is committed to bringing academic debates about music to a broader public, and has organised a number of lecture concerts on the theme of music and politics, including at the V&A, the British Museum, and at the Bowes Museum, as well as producing video content for the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Stu Herring is a North-East based visual artist who works in various mediums, most notably performance and live art. Herring’s work focuses on acts of abstinence, ritual, and spiritual rites of passage. Researching numerous religious and spiritual traditions he has developed his own visual language and practice of spirituality rooted in his own heritage which he identifies as Industrial Spiritualism. This practice allows the artist to explore ideas of enlightenment and spirituality through self-styled acts of ritualistic manual labour; these ceremonies utilise industrial materials, and instruments to create an ephemeral other-worldly experience for both the artist and viewer.

Revd Dr Helen Savage is Vicar of the Moorland Group of Parishes in the Diocese of Newcastle. She has a long-standing interest in the relationship between music and spirituality and in the role of music within Christian worship and formation. Her interest led her to co-edit an influential book of studies on the subject: Creative Chords, Studies in Music, Theology and Christian Formation (Gracewing, 2000). Her perspective is first and foremost that of a listener.

Jaswinder Singh is the Sikh Chaplain at the RVI, Northumbria University, and based at Newcastle Gurdwara.  He is a Director on the Council of Faiths, the North East Sikh Service and DiverCity Hub and combines these activities with his passion for music including Indian Classical, Qawwali and Gurbani Kirtan. He plays harmonium and dilruba (though not professionally).  Over the last 15 years he has hosted and organised Raagis (learned in the Sikh tradition of classical music) from India visiting Gurdwaras around the UK to sing Kirtan, as well as setting up a music academy in his home village of Punjab. 

RNS: Season Opening Pre-Concert Conversation: Music & Spirituality

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