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Monday, 14 January 2019, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

Sacred Listening: The Voices and Music of the Gods

Professor Tom Service, Paul Devereux, David Toop


What happens when we listen to music that incarnates a divine presence? From our early ancestors, whose listening in the caves of Europe 40 millennia ago opened up gateways to other worlds, sacred places have developed special acoustics for spiritual encounters across religious traditions from Buddhism to Christianity. That means special modes of listening, and unique musical repertoires: simultaneously directed outwards, towards the heavens, and inwards, sounding out the spaces that are sometimes called souls.

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Tom Service is the Gresham Professor of Music as well as a renowned music journalist and television and radio presenter. He has written regularly for The Guardian since 1999. His book titles include Music as Alchemy: Journeys with Great Conductors and their Orchestras and Thomas Adès: Full of Noises.

Professor Service joined BBC Radio 3 in 2001 presenting Hear and Now and later Music Matters. He has been a contributor and presenter across BBC Radio and Television since. In 2011 he joined the BBC Proms team, presenting the world’s largest annual classical music festival. Professor Service is also the creator of several successful documentaries on classical music, including the highly acclaimed The Joy of Mozart.

He is Chairman of Contemporary Music for All (CoMA) and a Council member of the Royal Philharmonic Society. He is one of the co-creators of the National Festival of Contemporary Music for All, which aims to enable musicians of all abilities to participate actively in contemporary music.

He has given lectures at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and York, including the Cantor Modern Art Lecture in York in 2009. From 2002 to 2004 he was Lecturer on the MA course at Trinity College of Music in London.

Professor Service has spoken about classical music to audiences around the world, including at the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Ensemble Modern, Barbican Centre, South Bank Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Royal Philharmonic Society, and the Stockholm International Composer Festival.

In 2016 he began presenting The Listening Service on BBC Radio 3. The programme creates connections across music genres to reveal a whole world of music, engaging audiences in new ways with its mix of speech and music, so that Miley Cyrus and Mozart, Herbie Hancock and Franz Schubert appear in the same programme. In 2017 The Listening Service won Special Commendation prizes at the Prix Europa and the Prix Italia.

In his first lecture series as Gresham Professor of Music, Tom Service will focus on the history of listening.

All of Tom's Gresham Lectures can be accessed here

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He is the co-founding managing editor of the academic Routledge publication, Time & Mind – The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture (www.tandfonline.com/rtam). Earlier, in the 1990s, he was for several years a Senior Research Scholar with the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL) group (www.icrl.org), then at Princeton University, an interdisciplinary team studying mind, consciousness, from many angles – anthropology, physics, biophysics, neurophysiology, etc. He is Director of the Dragon Project Trust (www.dragonprojecttrust.org) and a Research Affiliate with the Royal College of Art.

His main research interests include archaeoacoustics (the study of sound at ancient sites), the ancient mind (including shamanism), ancient sites and landscapes, geophysical anomalies, and general consciousness studies (including lucid dreaming).

A prolific book author, with 27 mainstream books published, some of them international titles. Among many others, titles have included Secrets of Ancient and Sacred Places, Re-Visioning the Earth, The Sacred Place, The Long Trip, Sacred Geography and Lucid Dreaming. His Amazon Author page link is: https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Devereux/e/B001HD1M42 , which includes blog articles, photos, and further information.

Along with academic papers, he has also published a great many articles for popular publications, including Readers Digest, Time-Life, New Scientist, Focus, Financial Times, Prediction, etc. He is a correspondent for Fortean Times with his bi-monthly popular archaeology column.

Devereux has lectured in the UK, North America, Russia, Germany, Portugal, Holland, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. He has addressed all kinds of audiences from general public to academic, and is effective in media interviews. He originated and featured in two major television documentaries for UK’s Channel 4/ National Geographic Europe, as well as appearing in numerous popular TV programmes.

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David is an English musician, author, and professor and chair of audio culture and improvisation at the London College of Communication.

He is a regular contributor to a British music magazine The Wire and the British magazine The Face. He was a member of the Flying Lizards.

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