The choir’s March 7-8 concerts also celebrate International Women’s Day and regional composers as well as Tindemans, a composer, teacher and musician.
One of Seattle’s most distinguished music ensembles, the 70-member choir Seattle Pro Musica, is celebrating International Women’s Day with a remarkable program of choral works spanning 900 years and written by women from the Pacific Northwest and around the world.
“Caritas: Sacred Music by Women,” Saturday and Sunday, includes music from the early Middle Ages to contemporary times. Much of the music in the program, regardless of age, is inspired by ancient prayer, pilgrimage, lauda (Italian sacred song) or hymn.
Seattle Pro Musica’s longtime conductor and music director Karen P. Thomas dedicates the concerts to Margriet Tindemans, the founder of Seattle’s Medieval Women’s Choir and the Northwest Center for Early Music Studies, who died Dec. 31, 2014. A major figure in the city’s early-music scene, Tindemans was a busy scholar on four continents and an in-demand, Grammy-nominated virtuoso on historical stringed instruments.
Tindemans looms over “Caritas” as inspiration and composer. Her “Venite adorare,” a prayer for peace based on late-Medieval lauda, with music written by Tindemans, is on the program, and her legacy is felt in the works of several others.
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Another important current in these concerts is Saint Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th-century German mystic who took her vows as a Benedictine nun in her mid-teens, then became abbess of her convent and a prolific writer and composer. She spent her last years preaching throughout Germany.
Three of Hildegard’s choral works are included in “Caritas,” and her influence on the sacred music of other composers is evident.
“Margriet’s spirit lives on in every musician that her life touched as performer, teacher, colleague, and dear friend. She left us all too soon in this life, and we seek to honor her memory with our performances this weekend,” wrote Thomas, in the weekend’s program.
Concerts are 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave., Seattle; $12-$35 (206-781-2766 or seattlepromusica.org).