Spring Athenaeum Series 2011: An Imagined Pilgrimage

In the next presentation of the Spring 2011 Athenaeum series, Kent library will host Dr. Kathryne Beebe, professor of history, with “An Imagined Pilgrimage,” a multimedia concert based on Felix Fabri’s Sionpilger.

When the 15th century Dominican Friar, Felix Fabri, left Ulm in what is now southern Germany to make his two pilgrimages to the Holy Land, he strove to fulfill the promise he had made to the brethren of the Dominican Convent of Ulm to keep an exact record of all that he saw and befell him.  Later, the nuns of Medingen and Medlingen copied his ‘virtual’ pilgrimage text for themselves.  By reading it out loud, day by day, they became spiritual travelers.  Interlaced with prayers and hymns, Fabri’s Sionpilger formed a spiritual guide – a means by which the nuns could, while still confined to their convents, make a mental and spiritual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

To create “An Imagined Pilgrimage,” Dr. Beebe collaborated with Dr. Jonathan Williams.  Williams has worked on a diverse array of musical projects from the opera La bohème to the original soundtrack for the movie Troy. He regularly works at Abbey Road Studios, conducting London’s top performers in large-scale choral/orchestral soundtracks for some the world’s biggest video game titles.  Together, Drs. Beebe and Williams combined images, selections of Fabri’s text, and contemporary medieval music mentioned in the Sionpilger to create a multimedia concert based on Dr. Beebe’s research and designed to take contemporary listeners on the same journey.

Dr. Beebe comes to Southeast from the University of Oxford.  Her research interests include medieval pilgrimage, the history of the book, women’s history and the cultural history of spirituality.


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