Episode 18. The Spirit of Hagia Sophia – Bissera Pentcheva and Juan de Lara

The Hagia Sophia has featured in thousands of books and treatises throughout the centuries, many of which have praised the awe-inspiring spaces of this architectural feat. Yet recently, the building has made headlines for very different reasons, as politics and heritage become entangled. In this week’s podcast, Professor Bissera Pentcheva helps us to navigate the complex story of the Hagia Sophia, and brings to the fore the beauty and magnificence of a building that, through the use of sound and light, was meant to replicate Heaven on Earth.

This episode was recorded prior to the effective conversion of the building into a mosque on 17 July 2020.

The podcast features music from the interdisciplinary project Icons of Sound (2008–present), codirected by Bissera Pentcheva (Department of Art and Art History) and Jonathan Abel (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics [CCRMA]) at Stanford University and performed by Capella Romana. We are very grateful for their collaboration.

This podcast is part of Asia House Arts in Isolation Series and Converging Paths, an initiative organised in partnership with the Barakat Trust that promotes the arts and cultures of the Islamic World.


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