Susan Boynton and Brother John Glasenapp are both musicologists who specialize in medieval music. They were in Bloomington recently for a conference on liturgical manuscripts, sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities.
Susan Boynton is a professor at Columbia University, and she’s published seven books about music of the middle ages. She joined the Columbia faculty in 2000, and her research interests include liturgy and music in medieval Western monasticism, particularly the abbey of Cluny; manuscript studies; music in the Iberian peninsula; and music and childhood. Boynton is a recipient of Columbia’s Distinguished Faculty Award, and she is currently Project Leader of a digital humanities and musical iconography exchange with the Sorbonne.
Brother John Glasenapp is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology at Columbia–he’s one of Susan’s students–and he’s also a Benedictine monk of St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. His doctoral dissertation will examine the liturgical life, monastic identity, and status of religious women from the Thirteenth Century to the French Revolution.
Manuscripts like the ones Boynton and Glasenapp study contain words and music for religious rites that took place in monasteries, parish churches and cathedrals throughout Medieval Europe. But many historians and literature scholars tend to ignore them.
While they were in town, Susan and Brother John spoke with Profiles host Aaron Cain about how much can be learned from these musical artifacts.