A re-imagining of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum

Produced by Eden MacAdam-Somer

Tuesday, February 17 at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Also Takes Place February 17th in NEC’s JH118 from Noon – 8pm Scivias, A Sound/Art Installation Exploring von Bingen’s Visions on Life, Love, and Community through an interactive sonic and visual experience.

Scivias will be opened from noon– 8pm in NEC’s Jordan Hall building, room 118. Produced by Lautaro Mantilla and Daniel Pencer New England Conservatory’s internationally renowned Contemporary Improvisation Department presents Order of the Virtues, a re-imagining of Hildegard von Bingen’s 12th Virtutum at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17 at NEC’s Jordan Hall. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, log on to necmusic.edu/ or call 617-585-1122.

Contemporary Improvisation department students, faculty, and special guests present a concert of struggle and redemption through a reimagining of Hildegard von Bingen’s 12th-century drama Ordo Virtutum. Drawing on the original score and text, as well as works by Tom Waits, Sufi Zikr, Korean exorcism dance, American sacred harp hymns, and folk traditions from around the world, they tell the story of Anima, lost soul of all humanity, who struggles on the brink of damnation as she is courted by the Devil. In her greatest hour of need, she calls out to the Virtues, who sail in and bind the Devil hand and foot. Recognized as the earliest extant liturgical morality play, the Ordo Virtutum was originally written for and performed by a chorus of women, all members of the cloister established by Hildegard near Bingen on the Rhine. Its emotional imagery is vibrant and timeless, connecting poignantly with modern existence and our own battles between good and evil, expressed through the powerful story of the Virtues.

The event also includes a daytime installation entitled Scivias, produced by NEC student Lautaro Mantilla and alumnus Daniel Pencer, exploring von Bingen’s visionary understanding of life, love, and community through an interactive sonic and visual experience. Scivias will be opened from noon – 8pm in NEC’s Jordan Hall building, room 118.

Special guests include the internationally renowned fiddler Bruce Molsky and the CI Community Choir (an 80+ voice choir made up of adults and children from the greater Boston community, directed by Cristi Catt and Eden MacAdam-Somer). Also performing are the CI American Roots and Chamber Music Ensembles directed by Eden MacAdam-Somer; the Survivors Breakfast Ensemble directed by Anthony Coleman; the NEC Gospel Ensemble directed by Nedelka Prescod the West African Drum Ensemble directed by Jerry Leake; NEC faculty Cristi Catt with improvising choir; and CI student ensembles led by Burcu Gulec, Eliot Cardinaux, Dylan McKinstry, Jenny Herzog, Gabe Gladstein, Jacob Hiser, Wendy Eisenberg, Caroline Kuhn, Patrick M’Gonigle, and Davey Harrison.

Founded in 1972 by musical visionaries Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation program is “one of the most versatile in all of music education” (JazzEd). Now in its 42nd year, year, the program trains composer/performer/ improvisers to broaden their musical palettes and develop unique voices. It is unparalleled in its structured approach to ear training and its emphasis on singing, memorization, harmonic sophistication, aesthetic integrity, and stylistic openness. Under Blake’s inspired guidance for its first twenty-six years, the program grew considerably and has expanded its offerings under current chair Hankus Netsky and assistant chair Eden MacAdam-Somer. Alumni include Don Byron, John Medeski, Jacqueline Schwab, Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz; faculty include Carla Kihlstedt, Blake, Dominique Eade, and Anthony Coleman. “A thriving hub of musical exploration,” (Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe), the program currently has 53 undergrad and graduate students from 16 countries.