Deborah Howard: Architecture and Music in Renaissance Venice

Evening lecture

This lecture describes the results of a three-year research project which culminated in the visit of the celebrated choir of St John's College Cambridge to Venice at Easter 2007 to perform choral experiments in various Renaissance churches. This initiative set out to explore the hypothesis: that the subtleties of acoustics were well understood by Venetian architects more than 300 years ago. Venice is full of contrasting building designs: there are mosaic domes, gothic vaults, flat painted ceilings and carved wooden choir stalls, all of them with different acoustic properties. But what does that mean about how music was performed and what it sounded like?

Deborah Howard is Professor of Architectural History in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art, University of Cambridge (England), where she will resume the post of Head of the Department of History of Art in October 2007 after a period of sabbatical leave. In addition she is a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. Most of her research is concerned with the architecture of Venice and the Veneto.

Her principal research interests are the art and architecture of Venice and the Veneto; music and architecture in the Renaissance; and the relationship between Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Her books include Jacopo Sansovino: Architecture and Patronage in Renaissance Venice, Yale UP, 1975, 1987; The Architectural History of Venice, Batsford, London, 1980, 1987, revised enlarged edition Yale UP 2002; and Venice and the East: the Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture 1100-1500, Yale UP, 2000. With Laura Moretti she edited Architettura e Musica nella Venezia del Rinascimento, Mondadori, 2006.

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