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MEDIA ALERT: Legendary Medieval music ensemble Sequentia returns to the BEMF concert stage with a program of music by Benedictine visionary Hildegard von Bingen on February 1, 2014

ARTIST: Sequentia (France)
Benjamin Bagby, director

Agnethe Christensen, Lydia Heather Knutson, Esther Labourdette, Sabine Lutzenberger, Christine Mothes, Elodie Mourot, Lena Susanne Norin, Sequentia Women’s Vocal Ensemble
Norbert Rodenkirchen, flutes; Benjamin Bagby, harp
WHEN: Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 8pm
St. Paul Church, Bow & Arrow Streets, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
PROGRAM:  Mystical Voices of Medieval Germany | Hildegard von Bingen: Celestial Hierarchy

Anonymous: Audite, o lucis filie (12th century)
Hildegard von Bingen: O splendidissima gemma
von Bingen: O dulcis electe
von Bingen: O speculum columbe
von Bingen: O spectabiles viri
von Bingen: O cohors militie floris
von Bingen: Omnis genus instrumentorum (arr. Rodenkirchen and Bagby)
von Bingen: O victoriosissimi triumphatores
von Bingen: Kyrieleison
von Bingen: O vos imitatores excelse
Anonymous: Sol oritur occasus nescius (12th century)
von Bingen: Angeli deo ministrantes (arr. Rodenkirchen and Bagby)
von Bingen: O gloriosissimi lux
von Bingen: O vos angeli
TICKETS: Tickets are priced at $19, $38, $49, and $66 each, and can be purchased at WWW.BEMF.ORG and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is offered by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription discounts of 10% are available with the purchase of three or more programs.

Perhaps the most innovative and revered ensemble performing Medieval music in the world, Sequentia returns to BEMF with a selection of some of the most exciting and expressive vocal music of the High Middle Ages in Germany. Benjamin Bagby leads an ensemble of nine singers and instrumentalists in a program featuring exquisite music by Benedictine visionary and composer Hildegard von Bingen, along with evocative works by the mystical poets of German courts, schools, and cloisters.

Elevated to the status of saint and doctor ecclesiae by the Vatican in 2012, Hildegard von Bingen was a truly unique Medieval personality: Benedictine abbess and mystic, a woman of noble birth not intimidated by the male hierarchy of the 12th century church, whose advice was sought by prelates, kings, queens, and emperors, and the creator of over 75 virtuosic spiritual songs of astonishing beauty and originality. This program explores her spiritual songs celebrating the celestial hierarchy of the saints, angels, prophets, apostles, and martyrs who populated the contemplative universe of Hildegard and her Benedictine sisters.

In 1982, Sequentia’s late Artistic Director Barbara Thornton (1950-1998)  began an enormous project to perform and record the music of Hildegard von Bingen, whose musical compositions are among the most astonishing and unique creations from the dynamic milieu of 12th-century Benedictine monasticism. This program celebrates the culmination of this enormous project, with the complete works of Hildegard’s now recorded by the ensemble across 8 CDs released between 1982 and 2013 with a box-set to be released in March.

Founded in 1977 by Benjamin Bagby and the Barbara Thornton, Sequentia is among world’s most respected and innovative ensembles for medieval music. Under the direction of Benjamin Bagby, Sequentia can look back on almost 37 years of international concert tours, a comprehensive discography spanning the entire Middle Ages, film and television productions of medieval music drama, and new generations of young performers trained in professional courses given by members of the ensemble.  Sequentia has performed throughout Western and Eastern Europe, the Americas, India, the Middle East, East Asia, Africa and Australia, and has received numerous prizes (including a Disque d’Or, several Diapasons d’Or, two Edison Prizes, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis and a Grammy nomination) for many of its thirty recordings. The work of the ensemble is divided between a small touring ensemble of vocal and instrumental soloists, and a larger ensemble of men's or women's voices for the performance of chant and polyphony. After many years based in Cologne, Germany, Sequentia’s home was re-established in Paris in 2003.

Vocalist, harper and medievalist Benjamin Bagby, who was captivated by medieval music as a boy, has been an important figure in the field of medieval musical performance for over 30 years. Since founding Sequentia at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in 1977, his time has been almost entirely devoted to the research, performance and recording work of the ensemble. Apart from this, Benjamin is deeply involved with the solo performance of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic oral poetry. In 2010 he received the Howard Mayer Brown Lifetime Achievement Award from Early Music America. In addition to researching and creating over 70 programs for Sequentia, Benjamin has published widely, writing about medieval performance practice; as a guest lecturer and professor, he has taught courses and workshops all over Europe and North America. Since 2005 he is an associate professor at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, where he teaches medieval music performance practice.

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Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including three Grammy-nominated opera recordings, an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and a biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). The 18th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 7–14, 2015, and will be highlighted by Claudio Monteverdi’s trilogy of operas: Orfeo, Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria, and L'Incoronazione di Poppea. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, and Orchestra Director Robert Mealy.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email