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Article TitleCecilia's Circle visits
Author(s)Laurie Dion
SourceThe Manitou Messenger (1916-2014),  No. 13,  Vol.115, March  01, 2002, page(s): 14
  • Section B
  • Arts
Place of PublicationNorthfield, United States
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Cecilia's Circle visits

Author: Laurie Dion

Cecilia's Circle, a four-woman musical ensemble, will soon arrive at St. Olaf for a week-long salute to female composers from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque eras.

Beginning on March 4, Cecilia's circle will both perform and instruct the St. Olaf community about centuries-old compositions seldom acknowledged today.

Five days of lectures, workshops, master classes, rehearsals and recitals have been slated during the ensemble's visit to Manitou Heights. Cecilia's circle programs aim to reveal the beauty in the work by composers such as Barbara Strozzi and Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre.

The group--composed of Janet Youngdahl, soprano; Julie Andrijeski, Baroque violin; Julie Elhard, viola de gamba; and Vivian Montgomery, harpsichord--was founded ten years ago and named after St. Cecilia, the eighth-century patron saint of Music.

Youngdahl and Montgomery launched the endeavor in the effort to connect female musicians to musical history. Both have a strong interest in the portrayal of women in music as well as musical backgrounds as a whole.

Montgomery taught at Luther College and has been doing residencies for all ten years of the group's existence. She said residencies give everyone a chance to deeply explore historical context and the lives of specific composers whose work they perform.

Youngdahl teaches part-time at the University of Calgary and has conducted both the Calgary Bach Society choir and orchestra. Youngdahl also directed the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church youth choirs in St. Paul.

Elhard has been a member of Cecilia's circle for the past for years, but recently left the group to spend time with her 20-month-old son. She plays the viola de gamba -- a Renaissance and Baroque instrument - and teaches it at Carleton.

Andrijeski specializes in historical performances of music in dance from 1550 to 1800. She has taught at many schools including the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Clayton State College and Kent State.

Cecilia's circle performs 15 concerts and travels to numerous colleges and universities to conduct residencies every year.

The group's residency at St. Olaf constitutes this year's Leraas Lecture Series. It has been timed to coincide with the college's celebration of National Women's History Month.

"Contributions of women artists, writers and musicians traditionally were ignored because they were not considered part of the canon--the tradition of great works central to the discipline--or they were not even known," says Professor of Music History Gerald Hoekstra. "This new scholarship exploring the role of women in history and the arts has caused to reassess our views of the past."

Cecilia's Circle Schedule of Events:

Monday, March 4

-- "Women as Musicians during the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque Eras" Lecture and Performance 7:00 p.m., Urness Recital Hall

Tuesday, March 5

-- Master class: Julie Andrijeski, Baroque violin 4:30 - 6:00 p.m., Urness Recital Hall

-- Workshop in Baroque Dance: Julie Andrijeski 7:30 - 9:00 p.m., Dittman Center - Studio 1

Wednesday, March 6

-- "Portraits of Women in English and American Poetry and Song, 1650 -1850" Lecture and Performance 11:50 a.m., Urness Recital Hall

-- Master class: Janet Youngdahl, Voice 1:00 - 3:00 p.m., Urness Recital Hall

Thursday, March 7

-- "Hildegard of Bingen: Living Light and Viridity" Lecture, Professor of English Karen Cherewatuk 11:45 a.m., Rolvaag Library 515

-- "The Harpsichord and its Music" Lecture and Performance, Vivian Montgomery 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Urness Recital Hall

-- "The Lily and the Rose: Music of Barbara Strozzi and Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre" Concert 8:15 p.m., Urness Recital Hall

Friday, March 8

-- "Music and Poetry of Hildegard of Bingen" Chapel Service, St. Olaf Early Music Singers and Cecilia's Circle 10:10 a.m., Boe Memorial Chapel

By Laurie Dion Staff Writer

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