Musica Viva Launches The Hildegard Project


Musica Viva announces the launch of an exciting new initiative which aims to encourage more female composers in the Australian music landscape. It is named The Hildegard Project, after Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century German Benedictine abbess, writer and composer who is known for her literary, musical and scientific works, and for her religious and diplomatic activities. She is considered to be one of the earliest women composers whose work has survived. 

Today, only a quarter of living composers represented by the Australian Music Centre are women. This highlights a gender imbalance amongst the ranks of working composers that Musica Viva seeks to redress with this pioneering new programme.

Musica Viva’s Artistic Director, Carl Vine AO observes “There is never a simple panacea for gender imbalance, but my hope is that The Hildegard Project, by shining a spotlight on women composers, will bring to the fore, talented women who may have previously been overlooked.”

“Ultimately we hope that this will encourage more young women to consider a career in composition.” he adds. 

As leader in supporting Australian composition both in performance and in its education programmes, Musica Viva now extends this support specifically to female composers with this carefully crafted programme. Under its auspices, Musica Viva will commission more women to write chamber music of excellence. Participants will receive the support Musica Viva offers to all its composers, including significant publicity around performances, and opportunities to connect with the organisation’s network of performers, patrons and other composers.

The Hildegard Project was launched by Carl Vine, at the conclusion of the 2015 Musica Viva Festival, on the evening of Sunday 12 April at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The final concert of the festival included the world premiere of one of the first works commissioned under the Hildegard banner, a substantial string octet by Natalie Williams entitled Saudade, which was commissioned for Musica Viva by Linda Matthews and Robin Budden in honour of their mothers.

The overall project has its origins in a generous gift made by Katherine Grinberg in honour of the late Adrienne Nagy and her sister Yolanda (Nagy) Daniel. The Nagy sisters were passionate about making a difference in the music world, with particular interests in the areas of education and composition, and reaching those who were finding participation a challenge.

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