Women’s Voices Uplifted

This season’s Sunday Afternoon concert series at the California Jazz Conservatory resumes on January 20 with Vajra Voices (Phoebe Jevtovic Rosquist , Allison Zelles Lloyd, Amy Stuart Hunn, Celeste Winant, and Karen R. Clark, Director) with Shira Kammen, medieval harp & vielle, performing Women’s Voices Uplifted: Explorations in Medieval & Renaissance Song, from Hildegard von Bingen to Leonore d’Este.

 Vajra Voices, known for their “heartfelt elegance and spiritual fervor” (San Francisco Chronicle), present a program of medieval and Renaissance music created by and for women. Highlights of this journey into women’s song include music and poetry created by the 12th-century mystic and abbess, Hildegard von Bingen; and, span into the intricate 16th-century polyphony attributed (recently) to Leonore d’Este.

Featured on the program are solo monody, 2-part sequences,and 3-part polyphonic conductus found in the Codex Las Huegas de Burgos (circa1300). It is thought that the music in Las Huelgas (Northern Spain) was for performance by the 100 women who resided there.

The CJC offers a casual and intimate environment where the audience can enjoy a light meal and sip a glass of wine or a cup of coffee while enjoying the concert. The concert starts at 4:30 pm at the California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley. Tickets are $20 (general admission) and go on sale for each concert approximately one month in advance.Online tickets are available at https://cjc.edu/concerts/?eid=31508.

Two days earlier, on Friday, January 18, at 7:30 p.m., Vajra Voices will participate in a special event they are co-hosting along with the Grace Cathedral/Ghiberti Center for Culture. Collaborators for this performance will include not only Kammen and Wong but the vocal ensemble Kitka. The concert takes place in in the soaring nave of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. The program will feature both medieval and modern songs on the divine feminine, including works of Hildegard, Georgian folk songs, and Theresa Wong’s setting of poetry by the12th century Taoist immortal, Sun Bu’er.

Finding one’s voice and letting it be heard are important,says Clark. But how can our feelings be transformed into constructive, more peaceful resonances? Well, in song. That’s why I wanted to present a concert in Grace Cathedral on the eve of the 2019 San Francisco Women’s March” (taking place the following day).

Singing is central to my life as an artist,” she says. “I embarked upon this effort to honor the 2019 Women’s March by bringing community members together around this spiritually nourishing music. Each and all of us involved in this project are inspired by the strength and wisdom inherent in mysticism, and by women’s music and vocal traditions distilled over centuries.”

More information is at Vajra Voices Kickstarter page, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1270240623/the-eve-of-the-march

Leave a reply
Written by Jonathan Harris
San Francisco Early Music Society