Singing Bindings

Signing Bindings

Join us for a performance of music hidden in plain sight. Musical manuscripts, re-purposed centuries ago as book bindings, will transport us back in time during this evening event devoted to their musicality.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, 6:30 pm ET
National Museum of American History
Nicholas F. and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music

Lilla Vekerdy, Head of Special Collections and curator for the Smithsonian Libraries, will contextualize the use of these precious manuscripts as binding material, helping a modern audience to understand why they exist as bindings today.

Professor Alexander Blachly, early music expert from the University of Notre Dame, will discuss Gregorian chants with world-renowned musician and Smithsonian curator Kenneth Slowik, weaving music from the bindings into the conversation.

Nisan Ak, composer and conductor of the Aiken Symphony, will premiere an original composition inspired by these fragments, which will be sung by The Undercroft vocal ensemble.

The books themselves, bound in fragments with Gregorian chant, will be on display for viewing. This uplifting musical event is a once-in-a-lifetime collaborative opportunity highlighting a hidden Smithsonian musical collection.


This event is free but RSVP is required. Reserve your seat now!

This program is sponsored by the Smithsonian Year of Music and the National Museum of American History Religion in America Initiative as part of the Sounds of Faith Series. Sounds of Faith programming is made possible by the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc.

Webcast/recording will not be available. To request accessiblity services, contact Erin Rushing (rushinge@si.edu) two weeks before event date.