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East Meets West: Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum with SF Renaissance Voices

Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum
San Francisco Renaissance Voices
Deepak Ram, bansuri master
Diana Rowan, Celtic harper
Katherine McKee, Director

Date & Time: Saturday, August 19, 4 p.m.
Venue: 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco
Tickets: $20 General, $15 Seniors/Students   Buy tickets online


The mystic, Medieval nun Hildegard von Bingen would be remarkable in any century.  A skilled composer, physician, philosopher and theologian, and stateswoman, are just some of her many abilities that have been recorded.  Back by popular demand San Francisco Renaissance Voices brings back their acclaimed East-Indian infused staging of this, her musical magnum opus that will include a dance troupe bringing the dancing Hildegard included in this work to life.  Rarely performed, The Los Angeles Times said of the production that “Hildegard’s music rang out anew …”

Saint Hildegard (1098-1179) was the founder and first abbess of the Benedictine community in Bingen, Germany. The tenth child born into an aristocratic family, she was given to the Church at a young age, and lived a famously spiritual life. She was most famous during her lifetime as a visionary and a prophet, regularly receiving visions from the Holy Spirit (the “living Light”). Hildegard was aware that she was part of a social and religious elite, and was highly outspoken about her mission and her gifts, but she championed humility and charity above all virtues. She was exceedingly brave and unusual in her choice to become a female leader at this time—to her knowledge, she was the first female to begin writing in the name of God, and to travel to preach publicly. She also founded two nunneries despite the opposition of male superiors in the Church. Later medieval generations remembered Hildegard as prophet, and her unique spiritual contributions continue to inspire people today. She was a prolific writer and well-known composer, and among her surviving works are a Christian doctrine uniting ethics and metaphysics, an encyclopedia of herbal medicine and natural science, many letters to people from around Europe and from every societal class who sought her advice on every imaginable problem, mystical poetry, and a body of music including seventy liturgical songs and the Ordo Virtutum, the first known morality play.

deepakramDeepak Ram is a versatile artist who is well known for his evocative performances in traditional North Indian (Hindustani) classical music, his collaborations with musicians of other genres, his innovative compositions and for his excellence as a teacher, and is considered one of the great bansuri masters performing throughout the world today.

dianarowanAn award-winning musical artist performing worldwide, Diana Rowan’s playing and compositions have unusual power and beauty. She integrates global musical traditions with fluency and reverence. Born in Ireland and raised the child of an Irish diplomat, Diana has traveled, lived and performed on six continents. As a natural outgrowth of this inspiration, her music interweaves global music, art, spirituality and mythology.

McKee_Katherine_lowResKatherine McKee joined San Francisco Renaissance Voices in 2007 as Alto Section Lead and was quickly asked to take on the responsibilities of Assistant Music Director as well.  She became the group’s second Music Director starting for our 2014-15 Season. Ms. McKee holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree with honors in Choral Conducting from the New England Conservatory and has directed choirs, community orchestras and opera, and school groups since her college years.  In the Boston area she directed the children’s, youth and adult choirs at Hanscom Air Force Base’s Protestant Chapel. In New York she founded and directed the chamber group, Premier, and served as an assistant conductor for the Gregg Smith Singers and St. Bartholomew’s Church. In the San Francisco Bay Area she has served on the conducting faculty of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, as chorus master, prompter and music director for San Francisco Lyric Opera, and as music director of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Noe Valley.  Currently, she is director of music at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Menlo Park.

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