Utrecht team



Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek ms. 16 H 34, fol. 4r (15th century, IJssel valley, Netherlands). This collection of small booklets is one of the most important song manuscripts from the Devotio moderna. On fol. 4r, the sequence O dulcissime Jesu opens the first booklet.

The Utrecht team studied the use of ‘archaic’ musical styles in the culture of the Devotio moderna, a 14th- and 15th-century reform movement centred in the former prince-bishopric of Utrecht, and the Amsterdam Beguinage before and after the Reformation.

Wishing to return to the foundations of Christendom, the Devotio moderna’s ‘simple’ style of community-based para-liturgical singing shows clear—and deliberate— links to the older Parisian practices studied by the Cambridge team.

Recent research conducted under Kügle’s supervision in an NWO-funded PhD project (‘Late medieval court culture in the northern Low Countries: Visualizing, interpreting, and contextualizing music fragments’, PhD student: Eliane Fankhauser, 2014-18) revealed that Utrecht, one of the epicentres of the movement, was home to a rich culture of contemporaneous musica figurata strongly influenced by French court practices. Further, Utrecht supported a lavish (and expensive) organ culture. This provides a strikingly new context for the musical choices made by Geert Groote and his followers who clearly perceived these musical practices as evidence for the corruption of the present-day Church.

PhD student Manon Louviot explored the effects of reforms carried out by the Windesheim Congregration, a group of reformed Augustinian houses strongly influenced by the ideals of the Devotio moderna, under the supervision of Kügle and Ulrike Hascher-Burger, today’s leading expert on the music of the Devotio.


Amsterdam Beguinage

Ulrike Hascher-Burger engaged with the music of the Amsterdam Beguines around 1600.

Strongly influenced by the Devotio, the music of the Beguines referenced the ‘past’ of this movement, while threading contemporary influences (music of the Dutch Republic) into that past.

Karl Kügle worked on a new set of music fragments he discovered in a book of sermons formerly owned by the Carmelite convent of Boppard on the Middle Rhine and currently housed in the Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz (Best. 701 Nr. 243). The fragments of music in styles cultivated in thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century France may have been used as binder’s waste in late fifteenth-century Cologne. What can we learn from this rejection of the musical past?

This confluence of research interests offered excellent comparative material within the Utrecht team in terms of different appropriations of the musical past in the northern Netherlands, the Rhineland and northern Germany from ca. 1400 to ca. 1600.

The Utrecht team’s research also complemented the Prague, Heidelberg, and Warsaw teams’ work, allowing our consortium to compare directly the musical habitus of the Devotio moderna with that of contemporaneous movements in Europe, e.g., in Bohemia (Prague team), and the uses of the past practiced by the Amsterdam Beguines with Lutheran practices in Germany (Heidelberg team) and Catholic practices in Italy and Silesia (Warsaw team).

Team members

Karl Kügle

Prof. Karl Kügle

Project leader of the HERA-financed international research project Sound Memories (2016-2019).

Karl Kügle studied:

  • piano at the Hochschule für Musik, Munich (1975-1981), the Hochschule für Musik Würzburg (1981-1982) and the Juilliard School (1982-1983)
  • musicology
  • theatre studies
  • Japanese at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (1976-1982)

He continued his studies at New York University, where he earned his PhD in 1993 with a study of the 14th-century manuscript Ivrea, Biblioteca capitolare 115 and its music. He subsequently held research positions at:

  • the University of Maryland, College Park
  • the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

In 1998, he joined the Department of Music at The University of Hong Kong where he taught until 2004. In autumn 2004, he was appointed Professor of Musicology at Utrecht University where he occupies the Chair in the History of Music prior to 1800.

Since 2016, he holds a contiguous appointment in the University of Oxford, where he is:

  • Senior Researcher in the Faculty of Music
  • Senior Research Fellow of Wadham College
  • Principal Investigator of the MALMECC project (→ www.malmecc.eu)

Kügle held visiting professorships at the Universities of Chicago (2002), Melbourne (2003), and Cambridge (2013), and was Christensen Visiting Fellow at St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford (Trinity term 2014) as well as Senior Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS, 2014-15). In 2019, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and a Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin.

He served as Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong (2004-2010), Head of the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University (2011-2013), and President of the Royal Society for Music History of The Netherlands (KVNM), the oldest musicological society in the world (2009-2014).

A Fellow of the Academia Europaea (2012), Kügle’s research interests are focused on:

  • the history of European music during the later Middle Ages (ca. 1250-1450)
  • late medieval and early modern court cultures in a transdisciplinary context
  • the epistemology of sound, hearing, and music during the later Middle Ages and from ca. 1800 to the present

→ Read more about his work, like his publications, on www.uu.nl

Ulrike Hascher-Burger (†)

Dr. Ulrike Hascher-Burger was a musicologist and medievalist. She studied at the universities of Tübingen and Basel:

  • musicology
  • manuscript studies
  • medieval history

Until her untimely death in spring 2020, she was affiliate researcher at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Utrecht University. Her research interests were focused on:

  • medieval music
  • music manuscripts, especially from the Netherlands and Northern Germany

She published several books in this field:

  • Gesungene Innigkeit, 2002;
  • Singen für die Seligkeit, 2007;
  • Verborgene Klänge, 2008;
  • Liturgie und Reform im Kloster Medingen, 2013, together with Henrike Lähnemann, German Studies

She built the → database ‘Musica devota’ on music manuscripts related to the late medieval religious movement Devotio moderna. Together with Dr. Martin van Schaik she was editor of the digital newsletter Klankbord. Newsletter for Ancient and Medieval Music.

From 2014-2019 she was President of the Royal Society for Music History of The Netherlands (KVNM).

Manon Louviot

Manon Louviot was a PhD student in the Utrecht team.

She studied musicology and Renaissance history at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon (2010-2013), at the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours (2013-2014), and at the Universität Regensburg (Erasmus+, 2014-2015).

Between 2016 and 2019, she worked at Utrecht University on her doctoral dissertation within the HERA Sound Memories project, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Karl Kügle and Dr. Ulrike Hascher-Burger. Through historical, liturgical, and musicological lines of inquiry, she investigated authority and power relationships between religious men and women, examined the use(s) of monastic space, and problematized the role of chanting and voices in the liturgical practices of Windesheim.

Her research interests include:

  • music of the long fourteenth century
  • polyphony in monastic context during the Renaissance
  • evolution of music notation
  • digital humanities as tool to disseminate research results

→ Read Manon’s thesis here

She is currently a Lecturer in Musicology at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris.

Ruxandra Marinescu

Ruxandra Marinescu is Assistant Professor in Musicology at Utrecht University. She completed her undergraduate studies at National University of Music Bucharest, Romania (2000-2005), followed by the Research MA in Medieval Studies at Utrecht University (2005-2007).

She obtained her PhD degree (cum laude) at Utrecht University in 2014 under the supervision of Prof. Karl Kügle with a dissertation on the political roles of the monophonic lais transmitted in the early fourteenth-century satire Roman de Fauvel (F-Pn fr. 146).

As part of the HERA project, she worked on an article about the patronage of Jean de Cherchemont, bishop of Amiens (1325-1373), and the mid-fourteenth-century readers of the Roman de Fauvel as transmitted in the manuscript Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale 525.

Her research interests include:

  • songs in medieval narratives
  • cultural patronage and book production in France in the fourteenth century
  • medieval music in its intellectual contexts
  • late medieval debate poetry

Frieda van der Heijden

Frieda was editorial assistant and part-time project administrator.

Frieda studied musicology at the University of Amsterdam (2007-2011), Utrecht University (2012-2014) and the University of Cambridge (ERASMUS, 2013-2014), focusing on early music and medieval manuscripts throughout her studies. She completed her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2018, for which she researched the early fourteenth-century manuscript Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 12786. She was supervised by Dr Helen Deeming (Music) and Prof. Ruth Harvey (French).

Her publications include an article on the unfinished nature of fr. 12786 in Pecia 18 (2015, special issue: Le Livre et L’Écrit), and an article on a newly-discovered sixteenth-century writing-master’s sheet in Quaerendo 46 (2016).

Van der Heijden’s research interests include:

  • Medieval secular song
  • Manuscript and book production
  • Historical readers of medieval books
  • Codicology and palaeography
  • Digital humanities

She currently is a Lecturer in Musicology at the Department of Media and Culture Studies of Utrecht University.

→ Read Frieda’s PhD thesis here (PDF, opens in a new tab).