The Composers of Renaissance Women

Across western choral music history there are hundreds of under-performed - literally "unsung" - women composers. Get to know the extraordinary women we will highlight in our June 5 performance of Renaissance Women.

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Kassia (Greece 805 or 810 - between 867 and 890)

Kassia was a Byzantine-Greek composer, hymnographer and poet. She holds a unique place in music history as the only known woman whose music appears in the modern Byzantine liturgy, and one of only two women of her time who composed under their own names. 

 

We will perform Kassia’s music in an exploration of chant styles that will include Gregorian chant and works by Hildegard von Bingen.

Find out more here.

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Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)

Hildegard von Bingen was a Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, and polymath proficient in philosophy, musical composition, herbology, medieval literature, cosmology, medicine, biology, theology, and natural history. While with her body of work is impressive, she is best known today for her ethereal musical compositions.

We will perform Hildegard’s music in an exploration of chant that will include Gregorian chant and works by Kassia.

Find out more here.

Caterina Assandra (Italy 1590 - after 1618)

Caterina Assandra  was an Italian organist, composer and Benedictine nun whose motets were among the first of the Roman style to be published in Milan. Unlike many other women who wrote music at that time, her work was known beyond the boundaries of her home country, and may have influenced some of the most famous male composers of her era.

We will perform Caterina’ Assandra’s work in a set with music by her contemporary Claudio Monteverdi.

Find out more here.


 

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Marianne Martines (Vienna 1744-1812)

Marianna Martines was a prolific composer who studied with Pietro Metastasio and Joseph Haydn and played piano duets with Mozart at her successful and influential musical salons.

We will perform Marianna’s music in a set with music by her contemporary W. A. Mozart.


Find out more here.


 

Lili Boulanger (France 1893 -1918)

A child prodigy whose brilliance was recognized by Gabriel Fauré at the age of 2, Lili Boulanger became the first woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome composition prize at the age of 19. Her music is noted for its colourful harmony, instrumentation and skillful text setting.

We will perform Lili Boulanger’s music in a set with music by her teacher and family friend Gabriel Fauré.


Find out more here.

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Imogen Holst (England 1907-1984)

Imogen Holst was an accomplished English musician and composer. The daughter of composer Gustav Holst, she studied with Herbert Howells and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and spent several decades as the music assistant to Benjamin Britten.  Her music has been described as  “potently expressive and generous, reminiscent but never maudlin…” (The Guardian)


We will perform Imogen Holst’s music in a set with the music of her contemporary Benjamin Britten.

Find out more here.