Music & Performance PhD Research

Academic Article: Religious Rituals as Festival Performances

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The end of 2013 saw the publication of the 29th edition of the Yearbook for Ritual and Liturgical Studies. This is a joint publication by the University of Groningen and Tilburg University. It features the papers presented at the expert meeting Performances of Religious Music in Medieval and Late Modern Culture organized at the end of 2012 with Prof. John Harper, which took place at Tilburg University.

During that expertmeeting I presented a paper titled: Religious Rituals as Festival Performances at Musica Sacra Maastricht. The abstract reads as follows:

“In the Dutch city of Maastricht one finds a bookstore in a former church building, a luxurious hotel in a former monastery, and a museum which contemporary architecture is inspired by the Florence Dome and carries the name of the monastery it was once housed in. It is the city in which once a year the church- es, convents, and chapels function as concert halls during the festival Musica sacra Maastricht. And it is the site of the PhD research ‘Festival Musica sacra Maastricht: discourses on sacrality’, of which a pilot study will be presented here. This article is an account of two rituals from different religious traditions, which were programmed as festival performances during the festival edition of 2012. The comparison between a Japanese Buddhist and a Roman Catholic ritual is an attempt to analyze how people relate to these different religious rituals in the non-liturgical context of the festival. First, the festival and the two performances will be introduced. Second, they will be analyzed on the characteristics of ritual and theater, relationality, and sacrality. Aspects that stood out during the fieldwork will be related to theoretical counterparts. In conclusion, the value of this pilot study will be estimated for providing insights into the ways sacrality is regarded and dealt with in contemporary culture.”

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To read the rest of the article, you can download the PDF of the article here!
Also, the table of contents of this edition of the yearbook can be found online.

Above: Kashôken performing Dai-hannya-tendoku’e in the St. John’s Church, Maas- tricht on September 6, 2012 [Photo: Sanne Willemsen / Kiet Duong]
: Schola Maastricht performing ritual elements of the Sacrum Triduum Paschale in the St. Martin’s Church, Maastricht on September 7, 2012 [Photo: Sanne Willemsen / Kiet Duong]


  1. Als je op de link naar de PDF klikt, kom je bij de samenvatting. Daaronder staat een linkje naar “Volledige tekst”, klik daar weer op PDF. Dan volgt er een pagina waar er een link staat “Dit PDF bestand downloaden”. Daarop klikken en dan heb je ‘t document. Beetje omslachtig, maar dit zou moeten lukken! X

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