Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Listening to geography: cultural situatedness in Nordic and British songs

A conversation-recital that explores music as cultural memory and performance of place.

Organiser: Annika Lindskog

About the project

"Sound is a crucial element in the world we construct for ourselves, and the world that others construct and impose on us" -  Connell & Gibson, 2003.

This is the starting point: that music plays an essential part in shaping how we understand the world around us, and, among other aspects, contributes to how we understand place(s), sites, and geographies. This project is interested in how music shapes both our collective and individual relationships to places and spaces by interpreting and articulating certain sites and geographies. To this end, it has two key aims:

Key aims

•    To critically reflect on ways in which music connects with and relates to geographies, as both concrete and culturally embedded entities.

•    To probe how certain music negotiates geographies and sites, thereby enhancing or developing our understanding of those sites.

To do this, the project aims to curate a conversation-recital with a programme of selected songs (both solo and choral), organised around a set of themes exploring the overall topic, and combined with conversations around the geographical and situated meanings the songs express, sound and construct. 

The event sees the return of the two highly accomplished musicians from last year, soprano Harriet Burns and pianist Ian Tindale. In addition, this year’s event also involves George Parris, a British conductor with a strong interest in and perceptiveness for both British and Nordic repertoire, as well as a select group from his professional choir of young singers, the Carice Singers. 

The programme will be curated by cultural historian and lecturer in Nordic studies, Annika Lindskog (SELCS/UCL), together with George Parris, who will also lead the conversation around the programme. The event is intended as a continued exploration of music as cultural memory and performance of place following on from last year’s event, ‘Singing cultural memories of places and spaces’. 

Preliminary date for public concert: Friday, 12th May 2023, lunchtime event, Haldane room (UCL).

About the musicians and organiser

George Parris was brought up in South Warwickshire where in 2011 he founded The Carice Singers. He read Music at the University of Cambridge followed by a Master’s in Musicology at the University of Oxford. In 2017 George began studying Choral Conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. During his time in Finland, he has become Artistic Director of award-winning choir Spira Ensemble and Choir Director at the Church of Olaus Petri. He is also a regular member of the Helsinki Chamber Choir and sings in many other project-based groups, and was Ex Cathedra’s Associate Conductor for Spring 2022.

George Parris

The Carice Singers group is emerging as one of the most distinctive vocal ensembles in the UK, defined by its unique sound and imaginative choice of repertoire. Visit their website.

Carice Singers

British soprano Harriet Burns is fast developing a reputation as a “polished, witty, expressive and sweet-toned” (The Times) performer both in recital and on stage. An acclaimed interpreter of song, Harriet has performed at many prestigious concert halls, as well as on the operatic stage, and is a laureate of numerous international competitions. 

Harriet Burns

British pianist Ian Tindale is increasingly in demand in song and chamber music and has performed across London, the UK and Europe. Ian read Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London; he graduated with distinction in 2013. In 2017 Ian was awarded the Pianist’s Prize in the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation Song Competition following performances with duo partner soprano Harriet Burns.He is a Britten Pears Young Artist and a Samling Artist, and he continues to work as a pianist and coach for Samling Academy. Ian is also Founder and Artistic Director of Shipston Song, a new song festival on the edge of the Cotswolds. 

Ian Tindale

Annika Lindskog stands beside a piano

Annika Lindskog is Lecturer in Swedish and Scandinavian Studies in the Department of Scandinavian Studies (SELCS) at UCL, where her teaching spans language, cultural studies and cultural history in the Nordic region and beyond. She has published on a variety of topics including landscape ideology, collective identity and representations of north, in particular focussing on classical music as a cultural expression in dialogue with its context. Recent publications include a co-edited volume, Introduction to Nordic Cultures, published by UCL Press (2020). She is also a professional language coach for singers and choirs in the UK taking on the Nordic repertoire.