Project Isabella Leonarda, 1620-2020!

Suor Isabella Leonarda (6 September, 1620 – 25 February, 1704) was the most prolific of all women composers in the 17th century. She published no fewer than 20 collections of motets and other sacred music, nearly 200 compositions spanning virtually every genre of sacred music of her time, as well as the only complete collection of instrumental works by a Italian woman in the 1600s.

To celebrate her fourth centennial, Cappella Artemisia is planning a series of events, including concerts and a recording, and a VIRTUAL CHOIR of one of her works: a simple canon she composed in 1698, dedicated (as were all of her works) to the Virgin Mary.
We would like to invite anyone interested—musicians and not, women and men, singers and instrumentalists, soloists and ensembles—to contribute to our virtual choir by recording themselves performing this canon. We will then combine all these videos to make one glorious choir which we will unveil on Sept. 6, 2020.

On this page you can find the score and a clicktrack with the melody, as well as an English translation of the Italian text. You will need to listen to the clicktrack through headphones while you record yourself performing the piece. Then please send the video by the end of June (extended to mid-July!) via WeTransfer (free and easy to use) to our email: Please use “Leonarda” as your subject heading to avoid it going into spam, and use your name as you wish it to appear as the name of the video itself so that we can credit you in the finished product. And of course feel free to contact us with any questions.

We know that virtual choirs are flourishing in these terrible days of worldwide lockdown against the Coronavirus pandemic, though we were actually planning this before the contagion struck. Still, the parallels are so strong that this project seems simply destined to be. Living under quarantine closely resembles the life of cloistered nuns. Both they and we make music with our ears covered–they by their veils and we by our earbuds. But most of all, the name of this little piece by Isabella is called (and I kid you not!) … Canon Coronata!

Happy Birthday, Isabella!