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Andy Lowings

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 253068


Presentations &


January 9th 2013

ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies

Oriental Institute, the University of Oxford.

The conference studiedtwo major civilizations of the northern Syro-Mesopotamian regions,
"the Amorites and the Hurrians".

Reception followed


December 13th 2012

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge

A reception for Near Eastern Archaeologists.

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, was the unusual venue for a conference reception, where the Gold Lyre formed the centrepiece for the period of relaxation after the days' lectures. It was not so much a performance, but more an exchange of ideas and comments, with a great deal of interest in the background to the making of the authentic replica. Many delegates wanted to have their photograph taken with the lyre, the gold bull being endlessly photogenic. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet some of academe's leading archaeologists: very many thanks to Dr John Macginnis for inviting us to this prestigious event.

Lyre music provided by Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy.


September 17th 2012


The College invited us to spend a whole day with some of their students. We began by giving some background, and a brief performance.



After that, the make-up and photography students had fun with trying on the jewellery and costume, and we hope to have some excellent pictures.





The music technology students were interested in working with the sounds of the lyre, so made some recordings and experimented. Their work is not yet finished, but it was felt to be a very successful day, and could well be repeated.

September 14th 2012

Agatha Christie Festival - Torquay Museum

Lyre of Ur Recital `

We were delighted to be invited to return to the Museum, and as Agatha Christie's second husband was Max Mallowan, an archaeologist who worked with Leonard Woolley in Ur, it seemed the link was already there.

As well as poems and stories from Sumerian times, we also used a poem written by Agatha herself, a piece of doggerel in the style of Lewis Carroll, about her relationship with Max, and her growing fascination with archaeology. A second piece about her experience with mice running over the bed and her face, also amused the audience.

We were almost upstaged by a guest appearance by Hercule Poirot, who came in for a short while at the beginning. He was clearly doing the rounds of all Festival events. Andy had been interviewed by BBC Radio Devon the previous evening, and this inspired even more people to attend this event.


September 12th 2012
Gold Lyre at Bronze Age Swordmakers' Meeting

The venue was one of the most interesting yet, namely a purpose-built Bronze Age roundhouse.

The only light was a circle of nightlights, making it difficult for Andy to see the strings of the lyre, and making Jennifer nervous about catching her dress on fire.

However, the spooky atmosphere was appropriate to the poems, and seemed to re-create the claustrophobic feeling of the mass grave in which the original lyre had been buried.

The children of Neil (as the swordmakers are known), were very appreciative, and being very well-informed on most things archaeological, asked some very penetrating questions.

The location of the meeting near St. Just in Cornwall is idyllic, and we would love to return next year.



28 July to 2 August 2012
5th International Lyre Congress, Überlingen

The 6 day conference was organised by the Lyre Forum of Germany, and was attended by around 230 delegates from 17 countries. Most participants had a connection with either a Waldorf School or a Camphill Community, both of which follow the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, and interestingly enough, incorporate the playing of a modern-day lyre into their curriculum.

We were invited to present 4 workshops, and a concert. The workshops traced the development of the Gold Lyre of Ur project firstly, and then looked at modern lyres in a different context, namely Africa, and there were practical sessions to learn a Kenyan tune. The interest in the Gold Lyre, the Ethiopian beganna, and a replica ancient Egyptian lyre, was intense. People were fascinated to learn about the origins of the instrument they themselves play today, and were amazed to learn of its ancient roots. We had taken our usual little pile of postcards and photos, and they simply flew out of our hands.

The school is fortunate to have a theatre which would be the envy of many a commercial enterprise, with excellent lighting, staging, dressing-rooms, and seating for 650 people. The performances were open to the general public as well as the conference delegates, and we had an audience of about 450. Our presentation was very different to anyone else's, in that it was in costume, and far more dramatic. We performed one of the poems, Bräutigam, (bridegroom), in German, as a tribute to our hosts, and this was a very popular move. The majority of people knew enough English to understand most of the other pieces, although there were 50 Japanese participants, who perhaps did not follow the intricacies of "The Home of the Fish."

Our heartfelt thanks must go to the organisers, in particular Gerhard Beilharz, Klaus Wein, Christian Giersch and Horst Nieder, who worked tirelessly to make it a stunning success. Everything worked well, and it was a delight to have the opportunity to meet so many dedicated, enthusiastic lyre players, open to the influence of both ancient and modern.

Andy presenting his class with modern day lyres


Horst Nieder with the Golden Lyre


Friday 8 June 2012


Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy were invited to talk to a group of performing arts and music technology students at Stamford New College.

The students were particularly interested in the making of the replica instrument, and were eager to hear what it sounded like. We performed one item, just to give a flavour of it.

They were keen to discuss the stringing and the tuning, and both the lecturers and the students could see that this project has potential for further investigation.

To that end, we hope to return for a longer session on September 18th.


Tuesday 20th March 2012

The Queens's School,Chester

The Lower School at Queen's had the theme of waves and water, so whilst introducing the lyre, we also looked at the Babylonian Flood Story.

The pupils were interested to hear that it has remarkable similarities with the story of Noah's Flood. We engendered some audience participation with girls waving blue and green streamers for the flood water, and Utu, the sun god bringing light and warmth.

They enjoyed sacrificing one of the sheep (a teacher) as thanks for being rescued.

There were some very perceptive questions at the end, and it is clear that this is a school with a great interest in all the arts, which is always good to hear.

In the evening, there was a presentation about the Gold Lyre of Ur Project.
Followed by a performance of poetry and lyre music.
Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy

See the School's report and pictures at :


Saturday 10th / Sunday 11th March 2012
National Museums Liverpool

Golden Lyre of Ur in Treasure House Theatre
A presentation about the Gold Lyre of Ur Project.
Followed by a performance of poetry and lyre music.
Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy

A weekend of "Historical Happenings"! We were delighted to be part of two days of events at the World Museum, Liverpool.

We performed three times daily in the Treasure House Theatre, each time with a diverse clientele. In order to be all things to all men, we tried to be as adaptable and flexible as possible, but in essence there was a brief introduction to the project, a performance of several poems, and then time for questions and photos.

The children wanted to pat the bull, the ladies wanted to admire the jewellery, and many wanted to know about the archaeological background to the discoveries in the graves at Ur.

We had fantastic support from the museum staff, in particular from Adam Gledhill, who was at our side all weekend to assist. The theatre is a little gem, very well equipped.

Very many thanks to all concerned with putting on this ambitious weekend project, we would love to return.


Monday 12th December 2011
Peterborough Civic Society, St Marks' Lincoln Road, Peterborough
A presentation about the Gold Lyre of Ur Project.
Andy Lowings

Friday 25th November 2011
South Devon Steiner School, Dartington, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 6AB
7.30pm in the Greenwood Hall
A performance of poetry and lyre music.
Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy

To perform to about 100 children aged 7-15 was a new venture for us, but proved to be extremely popular.

Education under the Steiner principles includes the study of Ancient Mesopotamia, so when we asked, who has heard of Mesopotamia, a forest of hands went up. Likewise, for the approximate age of the lyre: they were very accurate. Many of the pupils had in fact already made their own lyre, as it is introduced to the curriculum at an early stage. It was a delight to show them some slides about the making of the Gold Lyre, and to perform some poems.

We also experimented with an impromptu rendering of the killing of Humbaba by Enkidu and Gilgamesh.
We had 3 pupils for each part, and practised walking 300 miles in a day, with 9 foot legs.

The final piece, the Death of the Lyre Player, was listened to in total silence

Afterwards, everyone wanted to have their photo taken with the gold bull, and the enormous lyre.

In the evening, there was a performance for the parents and teachers.

Once again, there was a very attentive and well-informed audience, and it was a great pleasure to be there.

Very many thanks to Kate Howard in the Music Department for making this possible


Saturday 25th November 2011
2.00pm in the Torquay Museum (
A presentation about the Gold Lyre of Ur Project.
Followed by a performance of poetry and lyre music.
Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy

This is a very lively and forward-looking museum, with an extensive list of members and supporters, who turned out in force on a Saturday afternoon for a performance and presentation about the Gold Lyre.

We had very positive feedback, "your lecture and recital were exceptional and entrancing", and we very much hope that we may be able to return and present new material.

A member of the audience pointed out that Torquay was the home town of Agatha Christie, and that she and her husband, Max Mallowan, accompanied Leonard Woolley on his excavations in Ur.

Jennifer was wearing newly created jewellery: on the headdress there are now willow leaves, and medallions with lapis lazuli centres. Andy has attended jewellery classes, and these are recent creations.


Saturday 22nd October 2011
United Reform Church, High Street, Ashwell, Hertfordshire. SG7 5NP
A presentation about the Gold Lyre of Ur Project.
Followed by a performance of poetry and lyre music.
Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy

Very many thanks to Catherine Dunlop for organising this event for an intimate and extremely enthusiastic audience.

The first half was a presentation about the history of the project, focusing on the search for authentic materials, and the enormous amount of international co-operation which made the completion of the lyre possible.

The second half was a performance of four items by Jennifer Sturdy and Andy Lowings, demonstrating that even ancient literature can be witty and amusing, such as the nonsense poem "Home of the Fish", which narrates how fish are lured into a trap.

The final item, "Death of the Lyre Player", is always a success, bringing together the story of the archaeological research and the burial of the musicians and their instruments. The sound of the re-created lyre is always a high point of the evening.

"A unique experience" was the reaction of one member of the audience. Ashwell is a vibrant community, with a keen interest in all things historical. We look forward to another opportunity to play there in the future, we felt most welcome.


Friday 14th October 2011
Oakham Methodist Church, Northgate, Oakham, Rutland. LE15 6QS
A presentation about the Gold Lyre of Ur Project.
Followed by a performance of poetry and lyre music.
Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy
Organised by the Oakham Art Group

The Rutland Three Arts Society was the venue for "the most unusual and interesting event which we have had". About 50 members of this society enjoyed Andy Lowings' presentation about the research and making of the Gold Lyre of Ur. They were particularly entranced by the amazing amount of voluntary contributions and effort made, in order to bring the project to its conclusion. They found the co-operation from around the world absolutely stunning.

This was followed by a performance of three numbers by Jennifer Sturdy and Andy Lowings (poetry speaker and lyre player) which brought to life the Sumerian literature, and the music, referred to in the presentation.

At the end, there were many searching questions, and it was clear that the members appreciated the diverse elements of the project: the archaeology, music, poetry, craftsmanship, authentic materials, international co-operation, and plans for the future.

Very many thanks to Joy Greggs for organising this event: we would be delighted to visit this vibrant group again.


Thursday 5th May 2011
Terrington Village Hall
North Yorkshire East Federation of Womens Institutes
International Day - devoted to Iran and Iraq

Terrington Village Hall on Thursday 5 May was the venue for an exciting and stimulating International Day, devoted to an introduction to Iran and Iraq. We were invited to take part, to give a historical perspective to the occasion.

In the morning, Andy Lowings gave an illustrated presentation on the making of the replica Gold Lyre of Ur, and in the afternoon he and Jennifer Sturdy gave a costumed performance of 5 poems dating from Sumerian times, concluding with the imagined account of the death of the last lyre player in Ur. Everyone was stunned by the amazing relevance of the issues outlined in the poems: girl meets boy clandestinely; fish are enticed into a trap; eat, drink and be merry; the audience was delighted and intrigued by what they saw.

We were privileged to share the day with other speakers, including the Reverend Bassi Mirzania of the Iranian Anglican Church, who described most movingly the plight of Christians in Iran, in particular the suppression of women. We are most grateful to the organisers of this day, and in particular to Christine Bradley for her hospitality. We look forward to another engagement with the WI, an enterprising and outward-looking organisation


Sunday 20 February 2011


The delightful theatre at the Delrow Camphill Trust, Hertfordshire, was the venue for a Sunday afternoon performance to around 80 members of the community there.

Andy Lowings gave a brief introduction to the Gold Lyre of Ur Project, outlining the origins of the idea to make a playable replica using authentic materials. Then he and Jennifer Sturdy performed several poems and dialogues, accompanied by the lyre, all of which were very well received, and engendered a lively discussion and many photos at the end of the performance. Lyres and harps are used in therapy at the Community, and many people had an informed interest in the instruments and the music they make.

The welcome we received was heart-warming and inspirational: our grateful thanks to Roxanne Leonard for the invitation and efficient organisation. We would love to return.


Friday 4 February 2011


On 4.February 2011, Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy were invited to take part in the Iraqi Society's evening entertainment, organised at Imperial College, the University of London, as part of their Iraqi Cultural Exhibition.

It was a very exciting and inspiring event, extremely well supported by the students and their friends and families. The performances were held in a lecture theatre, which was filled to capacity, about 150 people. Each performer had 15 minutes, so in that time we briefly explained about the lyre and the project, and then demonstrated the instrument's capabilities with two poems and the story of the death of the last lyre player.

As is so often the case, people rushed up at the end to have their photograph taken with the lyre, and then those who had lived in Baghdad reminisced about the time when the original was still exhibited in the Museum there. Several parents said they found it very moving that we had researched and made a replica of this iconic instrument.

Our thanks go to Zahra Kadom who organised this event, and we are proud to support the Iraqi Orphans' Fund, the designated charity of the Iraqi Society.


Friday 12th - Sunday 14th November 2010
Greenwich International Early Music Festival & Exhibition
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich,
London, SE10 9LF

Golden Lyre of Ur
Friday 12 November
St Alfege Parish Church

The story of this unique instrument,
dating from 2,550 years BC, is told through narration and music

St. Alfege's Church in the centre of Greenwich was the delightful venue for a lunchtime concert on Friday 12 November. The performance was introduced by Andy Lowings, who gave a thumbnail sketch of the background of the project to make the replica Gold Lyre of Ur, and then Bill Taylor and Jennifer Sturdy entertained the audience of over 100 people with poetry from Sumerian times, accompanied by the lyre.

As is often the case, at the end, people came to talk about the making of the instrument, and to take photos, and to ask about the tuning, the music and the poetry. Subsequently we heard from someone who was unable to be there: "I heard about the performance from a friend who got to see it and was totally "blown away" by the whole experience. She recounted it all to me for about 15 minutes solid and I swear she did not take a breath!!"


Many thanks go to the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
who organised this year's concerts at the Festival.


Friday 10th - Sunday 12th September 2010

The amazing venue for this festival was the Gothic House in Burghessler, dating from 1493.

Thanks to the efforts of Nancy Thym and Thilo Viehrig, this has become a centre for performance in this area of vineyards and orchards.

The three day festival covered the history of the lyre in all shapes and forms, from the most ancient Gold Lyre of Ur, through to Anglo Saxon, medieval and the Welsh lyre, the crwth.

There were workshops, talks, and three concerts.

On Friday Bill Taylor and Jennifer Sturdy performed a selection of Sumerian poetry, in translation, with lyre accompaniment. This costumed presentation is always well received and engenders considerable interest in the project as a whole.

The following day Bill Taylor spoke about the construction of the replica Gold Lyre, with its attendant issues of tuning and playing.

Andy Lowings spoke about his visit to Africa, investigating present day African lyres, and considering if they are the legacy of the ancient Mesopotamian lyre.

It is always exciting and stimulating to meet fellow lyre players and makers, and the whole weekend was an enthusiastic sharing of ideas and experiences.

Many thanks to Nancy Thym for organising such a brilliant event.

Monday 19th July

Wass, in Yorkshire, is a very small village of about 100 inhabitants. Thanks to the efforts of story-teller Linda Hencher and her husband Tony Lacey, the village hall has been entirely rebuilt, and now provides an excellent venue for all kinds of events.
On Monday 19 July Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy were invited to give a presentation of the history of the making of the Gold Lyre, and then to perform some of the Sumerian poetry, accompanied by the lyre.
About 40 people attended the event, some travelling considerable distances in order to be there, a fact which was greatly appreciated. There was enormous interest, as always, in the actual story of the making of the lyre, with authentic materials and co-operation from around the world.
But the costumed performance also attracts plaudits, and it is hoped that we shall be invited to some similar venues in the area.
Very many thanks to Linda and Tony for all their efforts on our behalf.

Sunday 18th July
Durham University Oriental Museum
Golden Jubilee

The Gold Lyre of Ur Sunday 18th July, 2.30 pm, Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill

The Gold Lyre of Ur was the earliest stringed instrument ever found, dating from around 4,500 years ago. It was discovered together with other instruments and artefacts during excavations in 1929 by archaeologists from the British and Pennsylvania museums, in the so-called Royal Graves in the city of Ur, which is situated between Baghdad and Basra in Iraq.
The finest lyre was given to the Baghdad Museum and is known as the Gold Lyre of Ur, because of the incredible gold bull's head adorning the front of the instrument. In April 2003, the millennia old lyre was damaged by looters at the Baghdad Museum.
We are delighted that the authentically-made replica Gold Lyre of Ur will be part of our Golden Jubilee celebrations on 18th July.
Come along to the Oriental Museum galleries and hear an introduction to this beautiful instrument: the amazing story of how it was made, followed by a costumed performance of some ancient Sumerian poetry and stories, in translation, accompanied by the Lyre.
This event is suitable for all the family.

Extract from "Northern Echo" 19th July 2010

MUSIC played on a replica of the oldest stringed instrument ever found formed part of golden jubilee celebrations at a North-East museum. The Oriental Museum, on Elvet Hill, in Durham City, commemorated its 50th anniversary with performances on its copy of the Gold Lyre of Ur. Visitors were given a talk about how the original instrument, built 4,500 years ago, was made. They were then treated to a costumed performance of some ancient Sumerian poetry and stories accompanied by the lyre.

Andy Lowings plays the replica of the Gold Lyre of Ur watched by Jennifer Sturdy

4th and 5th November 2009

The Gold Lyre was recently part of the first QUEEN ELIZABETH SCHOLARSHIP TRUST`s exhibition in Chelsea. As part of harp maker Jon Letcher`s display, the Gold Lyre attracted much comment. To travel to London to be amongst such skilled and well-recognised UK based craftsmen was well worth getting up at 5am for.
Jon showed his work to large numbers of the public, from the Royal Equerry to the local police force !

October 2009

In October 2009, Andy Lowings visited the Royal Scottish Academy, and demonstrated the gold lyre to some of the music students there. He was introduced by Barnaby Brown, who plays the silver pipes of Ur: his performance with Bill Taylor playing the lyre can incidentally be seen on YouTube. The students were keen to see and touch the replica of this ancient instrument, and asked questions about the making of it, and also about how music is devised and played on it.


Sunday 30 August 2009

On Sunday 30 August Northborough Church was full, awaiting a varied programme of harp and lyre music. One of the items was a performance by Bill Taylor, playing the Gold Lyre of Ur, together with Jennifer Sturdy speaking the poems translated from ancient Sumerian. As usual, the performers were in costume, and the unusual music and poetry were well received. Andy Lowings lives in Northborough, and many local residents know about the project to rebuild the lyre, but this was their first opportunity to see it in the flesh, so to speak. They were very enthusiastic, and many wanted to take photos of it at the end of the concert.

June 25th - 26th 2009
The Lyre at Peterborough Cathedral

The Gold Lyre of Ur was exhibited at Peterborough Cathedral on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th June 2009.
In the evening of Friday 26th after the presentation and display, Jennifer Sturdy and Andy Lowings gave a performance
of music and poetry.
Before the exhibition, Andy was interviewed by BBC Look East
A clip may be seen at:

March 2009
The Golden Lyre of Ur travels to the USA

On 11 March 2009 t Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy set off from London Heathrow to Washington DC with the Gold Lyre of Ur with support and help from friends in Clifton, Virginia, and the sponsorship of Dr Hadi Al Khalili, the Iraqi Cultural Attaché.
There were two performances at the Rasmusson Theatre, in the American Indian Museum of the Smithsonian Institution on Saturday 14 March the audience was mainly delegates from an Iraqi-American conference, and on On Sunday 15 March with an invited audience from the Iraqi community in Washington DC and the immediate vicinity. Once again, there was an enthusiastic reception. Andy and Jennifer were also interviewed for Iraqi TV.

Talk at the Library of Congress Washington DC
Whilst in America we were contacted to tell the story of the Royal Lyres of Ur at the Library of Congress itself so on March 17th, St. Patrick's day, we climbed the steps opposite the US Congress building itself and it was fantastic to see our project up on the announcement board at the entrance.

Vermont University talk to the students
Following on from an invitation from Assistant. Professor of Classics John Franklin of Vermont University, Andy flew up to Burlington in Vermont and talked to a packed-out lecture theatre on the subject of the Lyre.


See the full report

February 2009
Friday 27th February,
Babylon Late

As part of the British Museum's exhibition "Babylon: Myth and Reality", we were invited to take part in an event entitled "Babylon Late" on Friday 27 February 2009. Bill Taylor playing the Gold Lyre of Ur, and Jennifer Sturdy reciting the translated Sumerian poetry soon drew an interested crowd in the Great Court. It was a very informal occasion, with various simultaneous events, all related to the theme of Babylon, with the result that people tended to stop for a while, listen, ask questions, and then move on. But in this way it meant that the lyre was exposed to a large number of visitors. There were predictably a large number of people of Iraqi origin, who immediately recognised the lyre from the iconic instrument they had once seen in the museum in Baghdad. It is always a pleasure to talk to an interested audience and it was exciting to play in the dramatic environment of the British Museum's Great Court, although it was far from being a conventional performance venue.

December 2008
Concert at the Old Synagogue, Canterbury 6 Dec 2008

In association with "Music for Change", the King's School, Canterbury, provided a venue for the Gold Lyre at their concert hall: the fascinating Old Synagogue.
Using our new lighting-system, with the backdrop of Egyptian-style architecture of the hall we tried out a "question and answer session" to help put into context the history and story of the early times of Mesopotamia, and the Royal Graves at Ur.
Thank you to Canterbury school and especially to Helen Natrass who organised the event for us. Helen is a geotechnical geologist who consulted on the Channel Tunnel project and other major civil engineering projects. She is a talented musician besides, playing a number of instruments.
The evening began with a question and answer session, Helen interviewing Andy Lowings, Bill Taylor and Jennifer Sturdy about the origins of the project, how the lyre was built, with what support, and what type of research had taken place.
The audience was also invited to put questions. This format seemed to work well, and stimulated a lively discussion.
After the interval Bill and Jennifer performed 5 Sumerian poems, and concluded with the death of the lyre player anecdote.
The reaction was that it was a most unusual and stimulating evening, and that the audience would be delighted to hear more


December 2008
Concert at the Bolivar Hall, London 5 Dec 2008

In association with the conference "Music in Sumer and after" held at the British Museum, the Gold Lyre of Ur took part in a concert together with other replica ancient instruments. There was an eclectic mixture of music, from Greek music played on the aulos by Stefan Hagel, Roman music played on pipes and drum by Susanna Rühling and Jutta Knur, to music composed for the lyre by Bill Taylor.
The evening was introduced by Andy Lowings, chairman of the Gold Lyre of Ur Project, who encouraged the audience to sit back and enjoy the poetry and music from ancient times.
The performance began with a short extract from "Gilgamesh", spoken by Jennifer Sturdy and accompanied by Bill Taylor on the Gold Lyre. This was followed by other poems from Sumerian times. Susanna Rühling and Jutta Knur sang the Hurrian hymn to lyre music, and also danced. They wore traditional Roman robes:
Jennifer Sturdy and Bill Taylor wore Sumerian costume. During the interval the instruments and players were surrounded by an enthusiastic and curious audience, who wanted to know about the origins of these amazing artefacts.
The evening concluded with an imaginary account of the last lyre player going to her death in the royal grave at Ur.

November 20th 2008
Jennifer Sturdy gave a talk about the Gold Lyre Project to the Sixth Form Archaeological Society at St Mary's School, Ascot.
Great interest was shown in Leonard Woolley's original excavations, and the research from 2003 onwards into the best way of re-creating the lyre using authentic materials and methods.
Many photos of the progress of making the replica were shown. The story of how we came by the wood and bitumen from Iraq, the generous donation of gold from South Africa and how volunteers had donated their time and effort to make the project possible was especially well received.
The talk concluded with an excerpt from the DVD to show what it is like in performance

November 14th - 16th 2008
Early Music Festival

The Gold Lyre of Ur was exhibited at the Early Music Festival for four days.
It had pride of place in the Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich as shown and attracted huge interest from everyone who attended."

" Stunningly beautiful !"
" Quite astonishingly unusual !"

Interview on British Satellite News
During the Greenwich Early Music Festival, a team from British Satellite News, conducted interviews with some participants at this prestigious event. The eye-catching position of the Gold Lyre of Ur in the centre of the exhibition clearly attracted their attention. Jennifer Sturdy was interviewed at some length about the origins and the making of the Gold Lyre of Ur. The TV camera focused on each part of the lyre in turn as it was being described. There some excellent close-up shots of the bull's head and the elaborate stone ornamentation. This programme is available for a limited period of time on the internet, but is also syndicated to other broadcasting companies around the world. It is interesting to note that sometimes reaction to a broadcast feeds back much later, indicating that it has been re-broadcast elsewhere.

Watch the British Satellite TV interview at Greenwich

Catalan Radio

One of the visitors to the Greenwich Early Music Festival was Xavier Romero, a journalist working for Catalan Radio. He presents a weekly programme on musical events in London, and decided to focus on the Gold Lyre of Ur, as he had been so entranced by the story of its origins, the making of the replica, and the current performance schedule. The broadcast was in December 2008, and although we heard it, being in Catalan, the subtleties of it were somewhat lost on us! However, it is gratifying to note that there is international interest in the work which we do.

September 2008
In September the Lyre Project travelled to Berlin where we gave a performance, this time with Bill Taylor, Jennifer Sturdy and also including Diana Conti our dancer from Covent Garden. Despite some technical difficulties we played well and showed what inspiration could be found in old texts and modern classical dance interpretation.
We played at the Ethnological Museum and the next day visited the Berlin Museum to view the very same original texts, on show there, as part of their Babylon Exhibition.
This will come to UK in November


September 2008
In September the Lyre Project travelled to Berlin where Andy Lowings gave a paper on the contemporary use of Lyres and their similarities to ancient Lyres from Mesopotamia asking the question "Are they connected at all"?

Our last year`s paper can be found in the newly published findings of the International Study Group for Musical Archaeology 2007 (Vol 6).

September 19th 2008
The Lyre Project included in a BBC4 broadcast of the History of the Harp.

April 2008
A radio documentary, broadcast on Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) about the
Golden Lyre of Ur.

April 2008
Film: "The Harp"

In 2007 a film company decided to produce a TV film entitled "The Harp", to be introduced and narrated by the Royal Harpist, Catrin Finch.

As part of the hour-long film, Andy Lowings was interviewed and pictured with the Gold Lyre of Ur, being the earliest known form of a harp-type instrument. In 2008 the film finally got an airing on BBC4, and it is stunning to hear how many people saw it, noticed our presence on it, and subsequently contacted us.

The final accolade is that the film can now be watched on YouTube, and so must now be reaching an even wider audience!

March 2008
After the performance in Liverpool Cathedral, the following day,we gave a talk to 150 of the general public at the invitation of the Cathedral authorities
The Liverpool Echo described it as "A piece of musical history".
It was terrific to bring the idea of the project to ordinary people who were very interested.
They had run the story a week earlier.


One lady said " I wouldn't have missed this for anything….I took two buses to get here".
We hope to visit other cathedrals around the country in the future.

March 2008
The Lyre Project performed at the Classical Association's annual conference in Liverpool Cathedral. There in the one of the largest Cathedral in Britain, a new short dialogue was recited, one made out of Sumerian proverbs, for the first time.
Pieces of lyre repertoire were included and set in the amazingly grand venue to an audience of 350. It was a great moment to play for experts in Greek and Latin but probably who were not aware of the wealth of Mesopotamian literature.


March 2008
Jennifer Sturdy and Bill Taylor presented a concert at the Instrument Museum of Brussels, Belgium.
With excerpts from Gilgamesh, ancient texts and modern works it was a great moment to play a full concert in a spectacular venue.
The concert was performed in full costume with jewellery and make up.

Thanks to Geraldine for creating Bill Taylor's costume.

March 2008
Andy Lowings gave a talk on the story of the Lyre of Ur at the Royal Museum Brussels where their exhibition of Sumerian artifacts has just been extended.
Accompanied by contemporary extracts of world lyre music, the idea that even modern playing might be related to the far distant past, was suggested as worthy of investigation.

January 2008
Keith Jobling gave a presentation on the history of theLyre Project at a two-day international conference at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem in collaboration with The Department of Musicology and the Jewish Music Research Centre, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, entitled
"Sounds from the Past: Music in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean Worlds". Organised by Carolyn Budow Ben-David - Conference Administrator

The conference was held in conjunction with the exhibition Sounds of Ancient Music organised by Dr. Joan Goodnick Westenholz, Chief Curator, BLMJ

Eminent speakers included many of the Lyre Project supporters, in particular:
Prof. Anne Kilmer, Emeritus Professor of Assyriology,University of California, Berkeley,USA
Dr. Dahlia Shehata
, Institute für Orientalistik, University of Wien, Austria
Prof. John C. Franklin, Dept. of Classics, University of Vermont, USA

Presentation PowerPoint Show

        Dr Joan Westenholz,
       & Prof Anne Kilmer 

November 2007
Jennifer Sturdy was invited to speak to the Sixth Form at the Brigidine School, Windsor, as part of their liberal studies programme. She gave an illustrated talk about the making of the lyre, including the amazing stories of acquiring the material from as far afield as South Africa and Iraq. The students were very interested to hear about the archaeological excavations by Sir Leonard Woolley, and found the description of the bodies found in Queen Pu-Abi's grave particularly moving.

August 2007
On Monday August 13 2007, Alan Sener, Professor DEO, Department of Dance The University of Iowa, presented a ballet Dance for a Golden Lyre based on the story of the Last Lyre Player.

In the first, we see the dancer as the embodiment of the golden lyre itself, brought back to life, revived, living again through the words and rhythmic expression of the poem "A Lyre in the Eye of the Sun" by
Leila Giorgius. In the second, we see an attendant of the queen, one of the court, the lyre player perhaps, facing eternity, her final moments.

The Dancers, Claire Livingstone and Leigha Mena performed the ballet. A video of the performance was made which be seen on:

Click here to see stills from the ballet

The ballet is danced to "Prelude 4 from Birds In Winter", music contributed to the project by the composer Michael Mauldin from Alberquerque New Mexico.

The Arabic poetry by Leila Giorgius a poet / writer in Montreal.
The poem,
"A Lyre in the Eye of the Sun", is the old Lyre of Ur speaking about itself and of the gardens, history and life in the land of the two rivers, Mesopotamia, and that it remains still to be played.

July 2007
In July 2007 there was a new development in the Gold Lyre of Ur Project.
For the first time the story of the lyre was used as the basis of a New Ballet devised for the Lyre of Ur Project by Italian dancer Diana Conti.

Ballerina Diana Conti danced her own poignant interpretation of the death scene in the grave at Ur.
Diana is a free-lance dancer who has performed in the opera ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and with the Kirov and Bolshoi ballet companies.

Danced on the stage of the STAHL THEATRE, Oundle, to "Prelude 4 from Birds In Winter", music contributed to the project by the composer Michael Mauldin from Alberquerque New Mexico, the whole performance was filmed by Mark Harmer.

We wish to thank Alison Dean and Alastair Boag of the Stahl Theatre for their wonderful support in this event.

Please contact us for more details

June 2007
Interview by Sue Dougan of Radio Cambridgeshire during a week of features on on the Middle East.

Listen to Andy Lowings telling Sue Dougan about the Gold Lyre of Ur and hear some of the music.

May 2007
The Gold Lyre of Ur Project was at the British Museum as part of "INANNA DAY".
Dr. Dominique Collon, a curator in the British Museum's Department of the Ancient Near East, spoke on the geography, history, art, religion, and culture of Sumer, with glimpses of Inanna's later development as Ishtar.
Dr. Irving Finkel (the Assistant Keeper in the Museum's Department of the Ancient Near East) spoke on the adventure and mystery of the discovering of the cuneiform texts and the importance of the Goddess Inanna in the texts.
Archaeomusicologist Richard Dumbrill gave a short demonstration on replicas of the Lyre of Ur and a lute from Uruk and spoke informally about the music's relationship to godship in Sumer and to Inanna.


April 2007
Andy Lowings, Jon Letcher and Jennifer Sturdy presented a "Lyre of Ur Cultural Session" at New Link in Peterborough for the new arrival community members.
To be introduced to the Lyre of Ur was a wonderful experience and its story was truly inspirational to those that attended the event. Community members from Somali, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Poland, Iraq, Kurdistan, Guinea-Bissau, Australia and the Caribbean were all amazed by the impact that the Lyre has had around the world and the peace that it has brought to many communities.

Community members enjoyed sharing their stories on the familiarity of the Lyre within their own cultures and were thrilled to be able to given the opportunity to play both the Lyre and the English Dulcimer, providing one of many highlights of the evening.

March 2007
Project member Mr Jon Letcher, the craftsman-instrument maker of the recreated lyre was given assistance by the UK Arts Council to attend the 1st Pharaonic Conference on Egyptian music in Cairo. As part of his professional development, he remained after the end of the conference to assist Professor Ricardo Eichmann of Berlin University with a practical instrument making course held there at the Helwan University Campus.


February 2007
The Gold Lyre of Ur Project was part the 3rd Great African Rift Valley "Earth Festival" held by the Gallmann Foundation in Laikipia Kenya. Played by Ayub Ogada, a local musician who also plays a similar instrument, the lyre attracted much attention.

January 8th 2007
A general meeting of the Lyre Project was held at Brownes Hospital Stamford, an ancient almshouse. Cuneiform expert Dr Dahlia Shehata of Vienna University attended for the event and recommended some texts which may be suitable for performance.

December 2006
The Gold Lyre of Ur Project went to Jordan to take part in the 1st Lyre Forum at Aqaba. Sponsored by UNESCO and the Jordanian Ministry of Culture our newly completed Lyre was transported over to Amman and then on to Aqaba where the four-day event took place.


November 2006
In November 2006 Barnaby Brown, Bill Taylor, Jon Letcher, Jennifer Sturdy and Mark Harmer gathered in Cambridgeshire UK to record ideas for presenting the Gold Lyre of Ur.
Without any fixed ideas, it was a tribute to the artists that several first class performance pieces were developed throughout the day. They were filmed by Mark Harmer and edited into samples which are shown here. Our thanks to Northborough Church for allowing us its use.

A detailed in-depth discussion about musical techniques and the latest position of ethno-musicological research into this field click here.

                               Barnaby Brown playing the                               Bill Taylor and Jennifer Sturdy
                                    Silver Pipes of Ur

September 2006
The Lyre of Ur Project participated in the
Ethno-Archaeological Congress in Berlin, Germany.

Four members of the group travelled there presented
a paper and also made a musical presentation at the Ethnographical Museum.

The paper is to be published by the forum.