ModernMedieval Spans Centuries



The music of the past is combined with the music of today with a performance by ModernMedieval, which kicks off the North Carolina NewMusic Initiative season of performances at East Carolina University.

“We bring in guest artists who are people at the top of their field,” said Dr. Edward Jacobs, professor at the School of Music and the founding director of the NewMusic Initiative.

ModernMedieval made their debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2016.
They are touring the eastern United States to perform a program called “Words of Love and Wisdom.”

“They are going to pair medieval music with music that is written in 2018,” said Jacobs. “They are going to sing something by Hildegard, this amazing woman from the medieval era. Then they will sing a piece written this year in response to that, so that is the modern medieval part.”

Not only was Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) a composer, but she was also was counsel to the popes, a poet and a mystic.

“The music she wrote was very medieval sort-of old,” said Jacobs. “It was very lyrical, very clear and concise, not many things going on and a kind of beauty that represented a medieval idea of beauty.”

Combined with high-level performances, and each composer’s unique style, Jacobs promised that there is something for everyone to enjoy at this concert.

“What our audiences always appreciate is they don’t know what they are going to hear. It’s going to be a little bit like a buffet table that is full of music with individual styles of each composer. I can almost guarantee that you are going to like something, and it is going to be done at a super high level. The performances are going to be amazing.”

After the performance, Jacobs encourages attendees to stay because the performers will talk with the audience and answer any questions they might have.

“What I hope people take away from this is that their curiosity is repaid [and say] ‘I just did not expect that. That was really cool. I want to hear the next concert and see what goes on,’” said Jacobs.

However, ModernMedival will not just be performing for students and the Greenville community. As part of the NewMusic Initiative, they will work with music students the day after their concert as well.

“The day after the concert will be a day where they just work with the student composers,” said Jacobs. “They sing to them, record everything, make comments and workshop ideas. They work with composers, and they work with singers.”

ModernMedieval will perform Thursday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m. in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall.

—By Michelle West, candidate for the BS in Communication