Symposium: John Dowland’s Activities on the Continent

John Dowland’s Activities on the Continent

Internationales Symposium — 22.-24. April 2022, Hochschule für Künste Bremen

John Dowland is one of the most important composers of the Renaissance. Being born in 1563 in England we do not know anything about his life until he entered the Services of Sir Henry Cobham, Ambassador of England in Paris. With him he stayed for three years in France. His first visit to the Continental Europe was combined with a change of his religion – he became catholic. After his return to England the informations stay scarce and we hear from him in 1594 when John Johnson, the kings lutenist, died and Dowland wanted eagerly the job, but he failed. That led to some travels abroad which started in Germany for the courts of Heinrich Julius in Braunschweig and Moritz Landgrave of Hessen in Kassel. After the relatively short stay in Germany Dowland went to Italy to meet Giovanni Croce in Venice. His main aim to meet Luca Marenzio in Rome did not happen because Dowland came into a group of papists who planned an Attentat on Elizabeth I., He rushed back to England and soon latter in 1598 we find him at the court of Christian IV. In Denmark. He stayed there until 1606 when he went finally back to England and in 1612 he got a position at court which was certainly one of the main goals in his personal life.

The Symposium wants to bring some light and new questions to his stays outside England. We still do know too little what happened there, how it influenced his compositions, which lute players he might have met. We are very much forward welcoming important researchers on these fields in Bremen. Andreas Schlegel (CH) will talk on traces for the stay in France. Composers like Julien Perrichon, Jakub Polak and Guillaume Vaumesnil between others will play a role. For the time in Italy Franco Pavan (I) will talk on the musical situation in Venice, Ferrara and other northern italian cities Dowland has visited. Are there new sources which help understanding his music better? Composers like Alessandro Piccinini, Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, Giovanni Terzi and others were around in that time. Concerning the german time Dr. Sigrid Wirth will concentrate in her talk on the circumstances at the courts of Braunschweig and Kassel with Composers like Gregori Huwet and Tobias Kühne. Quite fascinating will be an other view on Dowlands time in Denmark. Not only as a musician he was highly regarded there but eventually also as a spy. Here we find elements of a crime novel.

Together with concerts of Paul O´Dette, Julian Behr, Jakob Lindberg and myself which will shed some lights of compositions from Italy, Germany, Denmark and France. At the beginning of the Symposium, on the 21st of April, we will have a Masterclass with Paul O´Dette thus completing the approach with practical work. (Introduction
by Joachim Held

Welcome to Bremen!

Talks, Concerts, Masterclasses

by Paul O‘Dette (US), Jakob Lindberg (GB), Joachim Held (D), Julian Behr (CH), Franco Pavan (I), Andreas Schlegl (CH), Peter Hauge (DK), Sigrid Wirth (D), Christoph Prendl (CH)


75€ normal price
30€ students
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Schedule (The concerts are not open to the public)

Friday 22nd of April 2022

  • 17:00 Joachim Held // John Dowland, general introduction
  • 18:00 Dinner
  • 20:00 Joachim Held // Concert: France, compositions by Vaumesnil, Perrichon and Jakub
  • 20:45 Paul O'Dette // Concert: Italy, compositions by Dowland, Molinaro, Terzi

Saturday 23rd of April 2022

  • 10:00 Andreas Schlegel // Dowland and France – searching for traces
  • 11:00 Sigrid Wirth // 'Excellent masters, and most honorable Patrons of musicke'. John Dowland at the Courts of Braunschweig-Lüneburg and Hessen-Kassel / 
  • 12:00 Franco Pavan // Dowland in Italy, new sources?
  • 13:00-15:00 Lunch Break
  • 15:00 Peter Hauge // "Dowland's obligations as an exceptional court employee: composer, lutenist, teacher, consultant and informant"
  • 16:00 Christoph Prendl // „Nature, Reason, and Use“ – John Dowland’s translation of Andreas Ornithoparcus‘s „Musice Active Micrologus“
  • 17:00 Paul O'Dette: Dowland: Influences and Craft – The surprising sources of Dowland’s inspiration
  • 18:15 Dinner
  • 20:00 Jakob Lindberg // Concert: Danmark, compositions by Brade, Robinson, Dowland
  • 20:45 Julian Behr // Concert: Germany, compositions by Howet, Kühn, Dowland

Sunday 24th of April 2022

  • 10:00 Julian Behr // “ ...and written with his GRACES owne hand. Tracing a pavane by Landgrave Moritz of Hessen, printed in Robert Dowland's Variety of lute lessons, 1610.”
  • 11:30 Roundtable Discussion

Symposium: John Dowland’s Activities on the Continent

Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Dechanatstr. 13-15

22. April 2022