Medieval Vielle Player and Visiting Artist to Offer Concert and Workshops

April 05, 2018

April 12 and 14, 2018

Niccolo Seligmann, Grinnell College visiting artist and vielle player, will perform in concert and offer workshops on Thursday, April 12 and Saturday, April 14. Students who attend workshops are welcome to perform alongside Seligmann in concert on Saturday. All events are free and open to the public.

The concert, “Miracles, Treachery, and the Medieval Fiddle” will start at 7:30 p.m. in Sebring-Lewis hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. Seligmann will embark on a whirlwind musical tour of medieval Europe from miracle story-songs of dancing pork chops to cries for divine aid during the Black Death. This concert showcases the breadth and richness of medieval repertoires for the vielle, as well as the talents of Grinnell’s newest medieval improvisation students who attend his workshops.

In addition to performing in concert, Seligmann will host two workshops on medieval improvisation. The first, which will introduce students to the fundamentals of medieval music, will run from 7:30-9:30 p.m., Thursday, April 12 in Sebring-Lewis hall. Students will explore Pythagorean tuning, the unique characteristics of the eight medieval “church modes,” the power of intervals and how to improvise chant and descant. This workshop culminates with learning a song by ear, developing strategies to craft a musical narrative that fits the text and performing it alongside Seligmann in concert on Saturday, April 14. A limited number of medieval instruments will be available to try, but all voices and instruments are welcome to participate.

The second workshop, which will begin be held 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, will focus on European instrumental music written between 1000 and 1500. The workshop will take place in the Early Music Room, room 102 of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Students will learn the common medieval practice of turning a song into a dance tune, as well as explore in-depth the dance form known as the estampie by examining pre-existing estampies and by creating new estampies on the spot. All instruments are welcome to join.

Seligmann is an improviser, composer, arranger, producer, and educator with a special focus on performing historical music. He plays over twenty acoustic instruments from around the world and designs his own software instruments. He performed viola da gamba, vielle and more on the soundtracks of the PC game Civilization VI and 2017 feature film Papillon. Seligmann is a member of the medieval ensemble Alkemie, The Broken Consort, Hesperus and many others. He has toured across North America and Europe, including performances at the Kennedy Center, in a bustling plaza in Nogales, Mexico, and inside a 2,000-year-old Northern Californian redwood tree. He holds a degree in viola da gamba performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.