Musica Domina: The Presence of Women in Musical Texts and Compositions

Historical compositions by women continue to be considered a so-called “minor” musical genre. Throughout history, however, a large number of women composed music, though their work remains buried in archives and libraries and has never benefited from adequate dissemination.

During the Middle Ages, nonetheless, both male and female troubadours composed successfully, and in many convents music was not limited to the traditional Gregorian repertoire.

Women composers nearer to us in time have not fared much differently, and the Chorus offers its audiences texts that range widely across historical periods.

Occasionally, during the second half of the concert, the Chorus performs pieces that focus on female protagonists, especially those dedicated to the Madonna. Without question, the image of Mary has inspired vast numbers of musicians over time. In some cases, their compositions are extremely well known; in others, they are a revelation for the audience.


Composers: Kassia, Contessa di Dia, Hildegard von Bingen, Maddalena Casulana, and Fanny Mendelssohn.


Selected Performances


“L’In-Audita Presenza” (The Un-Heard Presence), University of Milan, October 3, 1992


Provaglio d’Iseo, September 4, 1994


Verona, February 24, 1995


Como, Villa Olmo, March 16, 1997