“Brava to Cappella Clausura and its terrific and tireless conductor Amelia Le Clair... [for ]this delightful, often deeply moving music.” --Boston Musical Intelligencer
Amelia LeClair, Resident Scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory and Composition from UMass/Boston and her Master of Music in choral conducting from New England Conservatory, studying with Simon Carrington. She made her conducting debut in Boston’s Jordan Hall in March of 2002.
Her early interest in composition and conducting having been frustrated by the limited opportunities for women in these fields, Ms. LeClair was later inspired and motivated by the work of musicologists in the 1970s who dedicated themselves to researching the history of women in classical music, scholars such as Robert Kendrick, Craig Monson, Claire Fontijn, Candace Smith, Judith Tick, Jane Bowers, Liane Curtis, Ann Carruthers, and Laurie Monahan, to name just a few whose work had personal impact on LeClair. The work of these music historians and others led to the publication of the Grove Dictionary of Women Composers and dozens of other scholarly volumes and articles, and to the greater availability of source material and manuscripts.
With this impetus, in 2004, Amelia LeClair founded Cappella Clausura, an ensemble of voices and instruments specializing in music written by women from the 8th century to the present day. In addition to presenting many works by women of the medieval, renaissance, baroque and romantic eras, Cappella Clausura, under Ms. LeClair’s leadership, has presented and in many cases premiered music of our own time, from 20th century greats such as Rebecca Clarke to 21st century composers Hilary Tann, Patricia Van Ness, Abbie Betinis, Emma Lou Diemer, and many others.
In 2014, Ms. LeClair was appointed a Resident Scholar by the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center. Ms. LeClair has been interviewed by Robin Morgan for Women’s Media Center Live; Robin Young of WBUR's HereandNow, and other local radio and TV hosts. She presented a paper on Cappella Clausura's performance of Hildegard von Bingen's Ordo Virtutum at the annual Medieval Studies Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2013.
In addition to her work with Clausura, Ms. LeClair has conducted workshops for the Syracuse Schola Cantorum, Concord’s Ars & Amici, and Greater Boston Choral Consortium. As a Brandeis Visiting Scholar and later Resident Scholar, LeClair has presented lecture demonstrations at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center and at Regis College. Currently, she serves as director of choirs at the Church of St Andrew in Marblehead, and director of Vermilion, a quartet singing a unique Unitarian Vespers service she created for the First Unitarian Society in Newton.
She is former director of Schola Nocturna, a compline choir at the Episcopal Parish of the Messiah in Newton, of Coro Stella Maris, a renaissance a cappella choir in Gloucester, and of the children's choirs for First Unitarian Society in Newton.
Amelia LeClair lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband Garrow Throop, an artist and graphic designer. Her daughter Julia, an Asia specialist who lived in China for five years, works for American University in Washington, D.C. Her son Nick, a classical guitarist, banjo picker and singer, lives in Brooklyn, New York.