Cappella Clausura promotes the performance of music created by women, which has often languished unheard. Our repertoire ranges from cloistered nuns of the 9th century to an increasingly diverse group of contemporary women composers.
What’s In a Name?
Cappella Clausura’s name was inspired by the many female composers imprisoned in the cloisters (“in clausura”) of 17th century Italy. During this period, roughly 56% of patrician daughters disappeared into convents. Our name continues to serve as a metaphor for the cultural obstacles faced by women composers throughout history, and still in the present day.
Photo: Sam Brewer
Photo: Sam Brewer
Cappella Clausura Today
Over the past seventeen years, Cappella Clausura has performed an ever-widening repertoire for enthusiastic audiences in concert halls and churches, as well as academic and virtual settings. Our concerts have included music by Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary composers. We have also been privileged to have had compositions written especially for us by a growing number of living composers. Click here to view a complete list of our repertoire.
In addition to releasing our own recordings, Cappella Clausura is a Parma artist, with two recordings now available on the Navona label: our 2016 recording of Hilary Tann's brilliant “Exultet Terra” and Patricia Van Ness's luminous “Birds of the Psalms”, released November 2017. You can experience segments of these pieces, as well as other performances, on our website or Youtube channel. You can also purchase our albums here.
The core of our ensemble is eight-to-sixteen singers who perform a cappella, as well as with instruments appropriate to the repertoire. Both our singers and players are drawn from Boston’s superb pool of freelancers; they are accomplished professionals who perform widely as soloists and ensemble musicians in Greater Boston and beyond.
Photo: Eric Antoniou
Photo by Eric Antinou
Amelia LeClair, Artistic Director
As a researcher, educator, and conductor, Amelia LeClair has dedicated her career to the study and performance of works by female composers. After receiving her Master of Music in choral conducting, Amelia founded Cappella Clausura in 2004 with the intention of enlightening audiences about female composers throughout history and bringing this music into the canon– where it belongs. She has been a champion for historical and contemporary composers alike, excavating works that haven’t been performed for centuries and commissioning music from a diverse array of living female composers.
Over the past two decades, Amelia has leveraged her wisdom and passion in the service of many local arts institutions, including Choral Arts New England, the Newton Cultural Council, the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, and more; she is also an Affiliated Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center. She has shared her expertise with Women’s Media Center Live, WBUR's HereandNow, and the Medieval Studies Institute, among others. Over the course of her career, Amelia has been celebrated not only for her dedication to this cause and mastery of her craft, but for her ability to lead this field with insight, creativity, and compassion.
Abby Lass, Executive Director
Abby Lass is a passionate and energetic arts administrator and educator. A Newton-native, Abby grew up participating in a variety of performing arts programs and credits these organizations with teaching her the importance of communication, collaboration, and empathy. Her diverse experiences working with a variety of local arts organizations (including New Repertory Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Newton Theatre Company, the Newton Mayor’s Office for Cultural Development, and more) have given her the training and flexibility necessary to support Cappella Clausura’s needs.
Abby believes strongly in the importance of accessibility within her field and is dedicated to providing young people with the opportunity to learn about themselves and the world around them through the performing arts. In addition to her work with Cappella Clausura, Abby also serves as the Director of Digital Outreach & Programs and Director of Education at Newton Theatre Company, where she is also an instructor for Newton Theatre Kids. As an undergraduate at Vassar College, Abby dedicated herself to studying the intersection of art and socioemotional wellness, completing an independent research project on the psychological benefits of theatre education for adolescents and presenting a TEDx talk about the intersection of arts education and scientific research. A multi-hyphenate artist, Abby works locally as a director, dramaturg, designer, and intimacy coordinator.
Photo by Blair Webber
Board of Directors
Robin Stein, President
Martha Bancroft, Vice-President
Urban Larson, Treasurer
Abby Rosenberg, Clerk
Shannon Larkin, Chorus Rep
Sam Brewer, Photographer
Garrow Throop, Graphic Design Consultant