Celebrating the legacy of the composer Sir John Tavener and exploring the relationship between spirituality and music, with particular reference to the great faiths.

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About us

The Tavener Centre for the Study of Music and Spirituality was conceived after the death of the composer Sir John Tavener. It came about through collaborative meetings between the Dean of Winchester Cathedral, the Reverend Professor June Boyce-Tillman of the University of Winchester, Andrew Lumsden, Organist and Choirmaster at the Cathedral, and Lady Tavener. The Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Alan Titchmarsh and Prof. Joy Carter respectively, enabled the formation of the Tavener Centre as a research unit, based within the Faculty of Arts.

Sir John Tavener seated at the piano

Sir John Tavener’s creative relationship with the Cathedral and its choir was established in the 1970s and continues to this day. His link with the University of Winchester was established in 2007 with the award of an Honorary Doctorate. His Orthodox funeral was held in Winchester Cathedral in 2013, and a memorial was commissioned for 2016.

Meet the Convenor

​Reverend Professor June Boyce-Tillman, Professor of Applied Music

Centre aims

  • To explore the relationship between spirituality and music, with particular reference to the great faiths
  • To mount a festival of Sir John Tavener’s music every three years
  • To organise academic conferences linked with the festival
  • To disseminate Sir John’s understanding of the relationship between music and spirituality

Centre research

Music and Spirituality series

Edited by Rev’d Prof. June Boyce-Tillman, Tavener Centre Director, Music and Spirituality explores the relationships between spirituality and music in a variety of traditions and contexts including those in which human beings have performed music with spiritual intention or effect. It addresses the plurality of modern society in the areas of musical style and philosophical and religious beliefs, and gives respect to different positions regarding the place of music both in worship and in wider society.

The series includes historical, anthropological, musicological, ethno-musicological, theological and philosophical dimensions and encourages multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary contributions. It looks for well-researched studies with new and open approaches to spirituality and music and encourages interesting innovative case-studies. Books within the series are subject to peer review and will include single- and co-authored monographs as well as edited collections, including conference proceedings. The use of musical material in either written or recorded form as part of submissions is welcome.

Several of the books in this series have been compiled from papers presented at the Tavener Centre’s annual Study Day in November. For further details on the series and available titles, visit the publisher’s website.

Forthcoming titles

Freedom Song: Faith, Abuse, Music and Spirituality. A Lived Experience of Celebration. Publishing date TBA.

Proposed future titles

Enlivening Faith: Music, Spirituality and Christian Theology. Under review.

The Spirituality of the Music of John Tavener. CALL FOR PAPERS NOW OPEN, download the The Spirituality of John Tavener Volume Call for Papers.

Music, Spirituality and WellbeingCALL FOR PAPERS NOW OPEN, download the Music, Spirituality and Wellbeing Volume Call for Papers.

Centre events

Friday 16 November 2018: Tavener Centre International Study Day: Music, Spirituality and Wellbeing

The Study Day aims to examine the place of music in this complex world, especially its role in wellbeing, through the insights of musicologists, composers, listeners, teachers, therapists and performers. One example, highlighting the value of lived experience, might be a piece by Sir John Tavener through the eyes of a particular person. Further details forthcoming.

Find out more and book your place

Download the Call for Papers here: Tavener Centre Study Day Nov 2018 CfP

For any queries, contact the Tavener Centre Administrator, Holly Pye

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