PAST SEASONS

Text reading "2021-2022" with graphics of the four programs from that season.
 

TROUBADOURS 2021: LIVE IN CONCERT

November, 2021

 

Riveting, world premiere commissions presented spanning a unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, classical European, and more.

HERSTORY

March, 2022

 

Featuring a cappella pieces by a diverse array of contemporary and ancient female composers. Presented by Guest Conductor Dr. Ellen Gilson Voth and featuring genre-bending Guest Artists Burcu Güleç and George Lernis.

PSALMS & REQUIEMS

May, 2022

 

This outstanding program features a 14-piece string orchestra performing the works of Lili Boulanger, Elena Ruehr, and Amelia LeClair alongside our core ensemble of vocalists. With rarely performed works on an epic scale, this program provided an epic ending to our season

IPHIGENIA AMONG THE TAURIANS

June, 2022

 

Our second-ever partnership with Newton Theatre Company. This production explored Euripides' tragicomedy about the youngest members of the House of Atreus. Featuring a five-women chorus performing arrangements of Kassia's chant, set to Rachel Hadas' text by Amelia LeClair, we were proud to put the music back into Greek tragedy.

Text reading "2020-2021" with graphics of the four programs from that season.

Donna Chiara Margarita Cozzolani's MAGNIFICAT A OTTO VOCE
October, 2020

Spectacular work by one of the most talented nuns of the Italian Baroque period, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani (1602-c.1678), Abbess of Santa Radegonda in Milan and composer of the Vespers of 1650, motets, and many concerti sacri for solo, duo, trio and more. Recorded by each individual musician, using the conductor's video together with the continuo (theorbo) player's video. Video by Christopher Pitts. Audio Engineering by James Zaner.

CONCERTS IN EPISODES
Winter, 2020 | Edited by Kathy Wittman of Ball Square FilmsAudio Engineering by Antonio Oliart

While we weren't able to sing live, Cappella Clausura presented pieces one at a time, originally intended to be performed around a dinner table.  In addition to our singers and players in the ubiquitous squares, we provided images of each composer and her life: her residence, her town, her scores, her surroundings, and more.

MARY STUART
June, 2021 | Co-produced by Newton Theatre Company

Two queens; one throne. Two women pitted against each other in a Renaissance-style game of thrones in a sharp new adaptation of Schiller's drama. Featuring music by Lady Mary Dering, Miss Harriet Abram, and Anne Boleyn, with CC's Frank Campofelice, tenor, Barbara Hill, mezzo, and Charles Iner, lute.

TROUBADOURS: 2021

July, 2021

 

A recorded collection of commissioned works honoring female troubadours of the 12th-14th century. Based on the writings of ancient songwriters, each piece in "Troubadours 2021" was given new life by an eclectic group of modern day composers specializing in everything from jazz and hip hop to medieval, classical, and Bengali music.

 
Text reading "2019-2020" with graphics of the two programs from that season.

ILLUMINATIONS

October, 2019

We invited audiences into the pages of a book:  The Salzinnes Antiphonal of 1554. They sat amidst the nuns intoning the liturgical Hours, meditated, and were transported. They watched the calligrapher at her work, read the displayed pages, and took in the complex symbolism in each gesture. Curator Judith Dietz, who discovered this ancient manuscript, told its story. With tactile elements from the period, our audiences became absorbed in ancient and universally moving chant.

 Hildegard von Bingen's ORDO VIRTUTUM 

February, 2020

Hildegard von Bingen: abbess, composer, singer, poet, herbalist, nutritionist, spiritual advisor, traveling con- sultant to popes, emperors, seer, prophet, Sybil of the Rhine, ultimate visionary, New Age darling. Her music is played in such a variety of venues, sacred, spiritual, meditative, even spooky. A close look at her notation would suggest it is not for the faint of heart, even to those unfamiliar with it. When one looks at the manuscript,  the notation itself suggests activity, movement, even agitation. Hildegard, no shy flower, meant to provoke her singers as well as her listeners into alertness and vigilance. She believed the Devil was working all around us...

 
Text reading "2018-2019" with graphics of the three programs from that season.

#FIRSTLADIES

November, 2018

In these seismic times, even the notoriously white and male and conservative classical world has had to accommodate the reality of women composing music, as we like to say, from (at least) the 9th century to the present day...

PREMIERE PERFORMANCE OF CHOLERA CANTATA

March, 2019

When Lea Mendelssohn first caught sight of her newborn daughter Fanny, she exclaimed, “Bach fugue fingers!” Fanny did not disappoint, showing prodigious talent in music, only to be overshadowed by her gifted younger brother...

RESOUND IN THE CONVENT

January, 2019

Women composers are emerging from their studios. So we thought it was time to return to the repertoire of baroque Italian cloistered nuns - women in clausura - who gave us our beginnings and our name 15 years ago...

MESSE DE NOSTRE DAME & BIRDS OF THE PSALMS

November, 2017

 

On our journey from 14th century Reims to 21st century Maine, we met poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut and his 21st century counterpart Patricia Van Ness. Machaut, now considered the greatest poet-composer of his time, wrote one of the earliest known polyphonic (many voiced) settings of what came to be called the ordinary of the mass, a sequence of six unchanging daily prayers dating back to the early Common Era.

RE-SOUNDINGS

January, 2018

 

In our hyper-visual culture, the experience of pure listening is a rarity. For this, the fourth edition of our signature surround sound program, we invited audiences to sit inside the music and let our ensemble, in ever-changing constellations of voices, surround and delight you with pure melody and harmony...

THE DINNER PARTY

March, 2018

Barbara Strozzi would have been about thirteen in 1632 when Claudio Monteverdi, in his sixties, published Scherzi musicale, his final volume of diverse works which includes the baroque pop tune Zefiro Torno. Being Venetian, and the daughter of a member of the cognoscenti, she may even have met Monteverdi at some point.

EVE AND ADAM

May, 2018

 

When Artistic Director Amelia LeClair first heard Elena Ruehr’s Eve, as premiered by the Cantata Singers, she was captivated. She loved the beyond gorgeous harmonies and rhythms, and was transfixed by Ruehr’s redaction of Genesis: the work ends not with the banishment from the garden, but on the line just before the banishment: “And the eyes of them both were opened.”

Text reading "2017-2018" with graphics of the four programs from that season.

MUSIC FOR LOUIE Q

May, 2017

Song and dance from the court of Versailes, by Charpentier, Antonia Bembo, and the mysterious Mlle. Laurent. With renowned baroque dancers, Ken Pierce and Camilla Finlay.

Text reading "2016-2017" with graphics of the four programs from that season.

SPHERES

November, 2016

Music for 16 voices by Sulpitia Cesis, from her Motteti Spirituali, together with ethereal works by Arvo Pärt and John Tavener.

RESOUND

January, 2017

Sacred chants from medieval times through the present day: works by Hildegard von Bingen and Kassia; chant from the Salzinnes Mansuscript and the Florentine Laudario.

A CARAVAN OF SONG

March, 2017

From Behind the Caravan by Abbie Betinis with songs of the medieval French trouveres, all around a dinner table.

MUSIC FOR LOUIE Q

May, 2017

Song and dance from the court of Versailes, by Charpentier, Antonia Bembo, and the mysterious Mlle. Laurent. With renowned baroque dancers, Ken Pierce and Camilla Finlay.

CLARKE, COPLAND, & CASSANDRA

November, 2015

Choral works by England's pathbreaking Rebecca Clarke and  Aaron Copland. Elena Ruehr's stunning a cappella opera CASSANDRA, arranged for Cappella Clausura especially for these concerts.

RESOUNDINGS

January, 2016

Sacred chants from medieval times through the present day: works by Hildegard von Bingen and Arvo Pärt, the Renaissance music of Italian nun Raffaella Aleotti, and contemporary works by German composer Erna Woll.

MADRIGALIA

March, 2016

Featured the poetic, lyrical madrigals of Barbara Strozzi, who was active in the 1650s, as well as those of Madalena Casulana, credited with publishing the very first printed musical work by a woman in 1568.

Patricia Van Ness' BIRDS OF THE PSALMS

May, 2016

The incandescent Patricia Van Ness composed "Birds of the Psalms", for Cappella Clausura and Amelia LeClair, which premiered in these concerts. Also featured  Victoria, Weelkes, Tallis, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky; and the ancient Greek composer Kassia.

Text reading "2015-2016" with graphics of the four programs from that season.
Text reading "2014-2015" with graphics of the four programs from that season.

VESPERS

November, 2014

Two moving Baroque masterpieces. A generation, gender, and worlds apart but joined in spiritual passion. Featuring the Cappella Clausura vocal ensemble with guest artists Carol Lewis, gamba; Catherine Liddell & Olav Chris Henriksen, theorbos.

SOUNDINGS

February, 2015

A chance to sit inside the chant. Music by composers from Hildegard to Stravinsky. The singers and instrumentalists surrounded audiences in ever-changing constellations, immersing them in this exquisite music. Hildegard von Bingen, Igor Stravinsky Kassia, Francis Poulenc, Amelia LeClair, Raffaella Aleotti, Maurice Duruflé, and Patricia Van Ness.

BEAUTIFUL AS A DOVE

March, 2015

Allegri’s exquisite Miserere, settings from the Song of Songs by Tomás Luis de Victoria, Raffaella Aleotti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Giovanni da Palestrina, Clemens non Papa, and Francisco Guerrero.

EXULTET

May, 2015

Evocative music of Arvo Pärt, Eric Whitacre, Hildegard von Bingen and distinguished Welsh composer Hilary Tann. Featuring the New England premiere of Tann’s “Exultet Terra,” as recreated for Cappella Clausura for double choir and double reed quintet, featuring guest oboist Peggy Pearson. 

Text reading "Pre-2013" with graphics of programs from the earliest seasons of our company.

ILLUMINATIONS

May, 2014

A performance/ installation piece inviting audiences to immerse themselves in the world of a 1554 Belgian convent with chant from a recently discovered antiphonal, period costumes, period food, and full color banners of pages from the Salzinnes Antiphonal.

A GARLAND OF MADRIGALS

March, 2014

Sampling some of the delicious madrigals of Renaissance teenager Vittoria Aleotti (published 1593), plus songs and madrigals of the young Dowland (1597) and the young Gesualdo (1594).

GLORIA

December, 2013

Composers include Hildegard von Bingen, Sulpitia Cesis, Rafaella Aleotti, Chiara Cozzolani, and Patricia Van Ness.
The program is ornamented by dance and puppetry. Featuring Helena Froehlich's CREATIONDANCE 

REBECCA CLARKE AND HER CIRCLE

October, 2013

Composers include Hildegard von Bingen, Sulpitia Cesis, Rafaella Aleotti, Chiara Cozzolani, and Patricia Van Ness.
The program is ornamented by dance and puppetry. Featuring Helena Froehlich's CREATIONDANCE 

GLORIA

Annually in December, 2008-2013

Composers included Hildegard von Bingen, Sulpitia Cesis, Rafaella Aleotti, Chiara Cozzolani, and Patricia Van Ness.
The program was ornamented by dance and puppetry. Featuring Helena Froehlich's CREATIONDANCE.

OUTSIDE THE WALLS

May, 2012

Works by the maestre of early baroque composition: Chiara Cozzolani, Raffaella Aleotti, Bianca Maria Meda, Caterina Assandra, and Sulpitia Cesis, as they might have been performed outside of the convents.

MISTRESS

March, 2012

Music to celebrate the 400th birthday of Mistress Anne Bradstreet, America’s first poet, who arrived in Salem, MA on the Arbella in 1630. Music by Dorothy Crawford, and a premiere by Hilary Tann, plus works of Leonarda and Strozzi.

GHIRLANDA DE MADRIGALI

October, 2011

This Garland of Madrigals was written by 14 year old Aleotti and published in 1593. Aleotti was only the second woman to have printed a volume of music devoted exclusively to her compositions.

ELISABETH JACQUET DE LA GUERRE

April, 2011

Works for small instrumental ensemble and voices by the brilliant court composer to Louis XV, as well as a mini-opera by a certain Mlle Laurent.

GREAT MOTETS OF SULPITIA CESIS

February, 2011

We partnered with select members of Concord Women's Chorus and special guests Mack Ramsey and Tom Zajac on sackbut, to present all 18 motets by this remarkable sound engineer who played the lute and composed these stunningly beautiful pieces for double choir as well as smaller groupings.

Hildegard von Bingen's ORDO VIRTUTUM

November, 2010

The first opera ever written was by a woman of immense stature in her day. We performed it in a contemporary setting, with a female devil (CEO) who tempts the young Anima with worldly goods.

BARBARA STROZZI & ISABELLA LEONARDA

May, 2010

Highly ornamented works for voices (Strozzi) and violins (Leonarda) that pushed the boundaries of composition in the 17th century, and still today.

MESSA PASCHALE

March, 2010

A rarely heard Easter season mass for four voices and continuo instruments by Chiara Margarita Cozzolani. Included Hilary Tann's "Psalm 136" written especially for high voices. 

A CHANTAR: THE GREEK CONNECTION

November, 2009

Recently transcribed Byzantine chant by 9th century Greek nun Kassia juxtaposed with songs of love by medieval women trouveres and trobairitz. Featuring lute, harp, recorder, veille and percussion.

LA DONNA, LA DAME

May, 2009

Donna Caterina Assandra was one of the first Italian nuns to have an entire collection of music published. We joined her and Donna Chiara Cozzolani, Margaret of Austria and Elizabeth Jaquette de la Guerre for harmony and contrast.

FROM BINGEN TO SALZINNES

March, 2009

Musical traditions of 16th century Cistercians remained little changed since Hildegard von Bingen. With this program, we visited the music of the Salzinnes Antiphonal, juxtaposing this work with Hildegard's Symphonia, and ended with a new piece by Abbie Betinis based on the poetry of 14th c. Persion poet, Hafez.

Want to experience our past concerts for yourself?

Listen on our website or check out our Youtube channel.