Today I will be the keynote speaker at an international conference on music, the sacred, and the profane, organized by the musicological department of the university of Ljubljana. More info about the conference can be found on and


My presentation will deal with the topic what music as music can contribute to the current thoughts on spirituality, on the spiritual discourse, and, more specifically, on the definitions of spirituality in which a clear distinction is presented between the spiritual, the rational, and the corporeal. Point of departure is the thesis that music does not simply represent certain ideas on spirituality but that it actively contributes toward giving shape to those ideas. Through music, spirituality becomes articulated; music is one medium through which the spiritual is presented, through which the spiritual can manifest itself. In other words, spirituality is not only put into words (including all the problems that this entails), spirituality also (or, perhaps, in the first place) appears outside the discursive domain, for example in, through, or together with musical sounds. What interests me here is to investigate the possibility that, through music, through music as music – that is, through the active perception of music as a sonic event – certain thoughts concerning spirituality can be questioned, brought up for discussion, and submitted to reconsiderations. More specifically, I would like to address the question whether the opposition between the spiritual and the corporeal can be deconstructed through music as music, thereby opening a space to present another spirituality, a material spirituality.