Afternoon lectures start at 14:30 and evening lectures at 19:00.

Lecture Venue

Lectures will be held at  The Freemasons’ Hall, 96 George Street, EH2 3DH, hopefully from November onwards. Our evening lectures are also live streamed online.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Toby Faber: The Genius of Antonio Stradivari

Nearly three hundred years after Antonio Stradivari’s death, his violins and cellos remain the most highly prized instruments in the world. Loved by great musicians and famously valuable, their tone and beauty are legendary.
Every subsequent violin-maker has tried to match them. Not one has succeeded. How can that be?
This lecture explores that central mystery by following some of Stradivari’s instruments from his workshop to the present day. It is a story that travels from the salons of Vienna to the concert halls of New York, and from the breakthroughs of Beethoven’s last quartets to the first phonographic recordings.
Toby Faber’s book Stradivarius: Five violins, one cello and a genius, was described in The New York Times as ‘more enthralling, earthy and illuminating than any fiction could be.’ The lecture is illustrated with pictures of violins and of key individuals and location, as well as with some short musical recordings.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Paul Roberts: Rome in Africa: Africa in Rome

This talk looks at the beautiful art and fascinating, complex society of Roman North Africa, the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Though different, then as now, in history and ethnicity these countries formed an important part of the Roman Empire, which fully exploited their incredible natural resources, from the fish of Morocco to the grain of Tunisia, the olive oil of Libya and the fabulous agricultural and mineral wealth of Egypt.
Roman influence spread through these provinces, in architecture: baths, theatres, temples – and in art: mosaics frescoes and sculpture; but in the other direction a flood of imports from North Africa: goods, ideas and people, were very influential in Rome’s religion, art and society.
Some Africans even became Emperor, including Septimius Severus, one of Rome’s greatest.