A selection of Simon's available presentations

Here you can browse presentations embracing music history, ethnomusicology, and cultural anthropology. As well as lectures focusing on the Western classical canon, Simon is keen to demonstrate how this tradition has enriched the musics of other continents, in particular the traditions of Latin America. The above image from Bolivia is taken from his presentation Sugar, Silver and Silence.

All lectures are delivered by Keynote, with rich visual content and musical examples. Simon engages the listener by speaking without notes, drawing upon music, art, literature and architecture to explore the cultural history of our destinations, to enrich the audience and be as interactive as possible. 

Biography for Daily Programmes and Concert Programmes

Simon Dunbavand graduated in music from Cambridge University, where he was Organ Scholar of Peterhouse, and has recently completed a research project at the Music Department of The University of Sheffield, where he held the Charles Bryers Scholarship. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists, and an Associate of the Royal College of Music. Simon studied piano with Martin Roscoe and organ with Roger Fisher, and has given recitals and played for services in cathedrals such as Chester, Truro, Chichester, Guildford, Southwell, and Lincoln, and at St. John's College, Cambridge. As a performer, Visions of Eternity (Simon's cd of organ music composed on Gregorian chant and Lutheran chorale) explores the profound bond between liturgy and music. He performs throughout the UK, and has also given concerts in Denmark, Norway, and Hungary.

As a researcher, he examines the spiritual dimension to music and the strong links between music and theology, particularly with respect to the work of French composer Olivier Messiaen. His MMus thesis examines the theological symbolism of 'colour chords' throughout the compositions of Messiaen, presenting new research on links between the stained glass in the ambulatory at Bourges Cathedral, and his final work, Éclairs sur l'au-delà…. His performance consisted of a cd programme of organ music which surveys the composer's own musical development in the context of recurring theological messages and visual symbolism. This is also available as a concert incorporating Gregorian chant and congregational hymns. Simon's current research focuses on the music of Charles Tournemire, applying the approach and techniques of his work on Messiaen to reveal a profound spiritual symbolism in Tournemire's music, in which melodic and harmonic symbols underscore a theology of light. Simon has also edited a new edition of the composer's final work for organ, Deux Fresques Symphoniques sacrées, and is also developing concert programmes which present multiple aspects of Tournemire's Christian message. At Cambridge, Simon worked on the sketches of the first movement of Carl Nielsen's Sixth Symphony to reveal a complex compositional evolution underpinning a mobile and dynamic concept of tonality.

As a composer, Simon's works include a cantata based on the life and poetry of the Chilean Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral, and a choral suite of poems by Rabindranath Tagore. As a choral director and animateur, Simon has presented workshops devoted to Hispanic renaissance masterpieces in places such as Buckfast Abbey, and he frequently directs performances of Russian Orthodox music, which he researches and collects in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev. His other interest lies in the early Baroque music of Latin America, and he particularly enjoys researching the music of glorious colonial churches on visits to countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.