Cappella Clausura

Personal Summary / Bio

Cappella Clausura was founded by Amelia LeClair in 2004 to research, study and perform the music of women composers. Our twin goals are to bring engaging performances of this music to today’s audiences, and to help bring women composers into the classical canon.  Our repertoire extends from the earliest known music by women, written in the middle ages, to the music of our own time.  The core of the vocal ensemble is a group of eight-to-twelve singers who perform a cappella, with continuo, and with chamber orchestra, as the repertoire requires. Our singers are accomplished professionals who perform widely as soloists and ensemble musicians in Greater Boston and beyond; likewise, our instrumentalists are drawn from Boston’s superb pool of freelancers. We utilize classical and baroque period instruments when appropriate to the repertoire.

Cappella Clausura’s name honors the extraordinary body of music written by cloistered nuns of 17th century Italy who, in the language of the time, were said to be “in clausura:”  covered, hidden away, segregated from public life. These gifted and musically educated individuals—such as Raffaella Aleotti, Chiara Cozzolani, Bianca Maria Meda, Caterina Assandra and Sulpitia Cesis—became our first historical community of recognized women composers. Cappella Clausura has performed and recorded their music with dedication, and will continue to do so. And we take the name “Clausura” as a metaphor for the cultural obstacles faced by women composers throughout history.

Over the last ten years, Cappella Clausura has performed an ever-widening repertoire for enthusiastic audiences in concert halls, churches and academic settings. This repertoire includes music by medieval composers Hildegard von Bingen, Kassia, and the anonymous Trobairitz/Trouvères (troubadours); Renaissance composers Vittoria Aleotti and Sulpitia Cesis; Baroque composers named above as well Isabella Leonarda, Barbara Strozzi and Elizaberth Jacquet de la Guerre; Classical composers Mariana von Martines (whom we have dubbed “the female Mozart”); Romantic composer-performers Clara Wieck Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel; and the 20th-21st century’s Rebecca Clarke, Erna Woll, Patricia Van Ness, Abbie Betinis, Sinta Wuller, Emma Lou Diemer, and Hilary Tann.

Program highlights through the years have included our acclaimed production of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum, which we consider the first opera by a woman composer; Passionately UnConventional: works by women of the Italian Baroque; and A Renaissance Christmas Pageant with music spanning four centuries, ornamented by modern dance and puppetry.

Upcoming highlights of the 2013-14 season are the March release of our premier recording of the complete Ghirlanda di Madrigali, eighteen madrigals by the Renaissance teenaged prodigy Vittoria Aleotti; the October 5-6 program Rebecca Clarke and her Circle:Vaughan Williams, Britten, and Palestrina, which includes Clarke’s complete a cappella output in the context of music by her colleagues and influences; and Illuminations, a performance-installation piece featuring a day in the life of a 16th century Belgian convent, its music, food, costumes, scribes, and its recently discovered illuminated ceremonial antiphonal.



Professional Performer or Semi-Pro Performer, Early Music Administrator (agent, presenter, director), Publisher/Editor/Writer, Ensemble

My Music

TitleComposerPerformer/EnsembleUpload DateLengthPlayDownload
Magnificat Op 19Isabella LeonardaCappella ClausuraMar 30 20128:19
Begli Occhi live 5/2010Barbara StrozziCappella Clausura, Kimberly Sizer, sop:Laura Betinis, mezzo: Catherine Liddell, guitarJan 28 20124:19
Quis Dabit Mihi - live 5/2010Barbara StrozziCappella ClausuraJan 28 20126:59
Hor che la vagaVittoria AleottiCappella ClausuraFeb 13 20082:14