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Singing Hildegard von Bingen

Scivias vision 13, image 35: the choirs of the blessed

Hildegard von Bingen was a firm believer in the power of music. She spoke of the harmony in our souls and believed that music reminds us of paradise. Now, some 850 years later, her magnificent melodies and vivid, imaginative texts can still touch us deeply.

This workshop is intended for singers who wish to better understand the musical language of Hildegard’s chants so as to be able to experience and transmit the full force of this rich repertoire. Through fun, creative exercises, you will be introduced to the 12th century manuscripts and Hildegard’s original notation. This will open up to you a wealth of information that, though largely lost in modern editions, is invaluable when bringing this music to life. We will explore tuning and resonance, and we will look at how you can best use your voice and body when singing this music.

I offer this workshop in a variety of different, tailor-made formats. It is suitable for both professional and amateur singers. If you are part of a group singing Hildegard together, the workshop can take the form of a coaching session for the group. Please contact me at penelope.turner(at) for more information.

Workshops are held in French, Dutch and English.

Previous Educative Projects

2016 – 2020

‘Médiations Culturels’ with the medieval vocal ensemble La Noeva for the Philharmonique de Namur, for example: Christmas concert for the staff of the Hénellux (Haute Ecole de Namur, Liège et Luxembourg) on December 19, 2019.

Workshops inspired by Hildegard von Bingen, for example: in collaboration with Mora Vocis at the Kapellen culturel centre, Kasattenhoven on December 14, 2019.


ReMuA : the Réseau de Musiciens Intervenants en Ateliers

Musique en Action

Concert at the BOZAR in April 2014. Preparing and leading a choir made up of two schools (one French-speaking, one Dutch-speaking) in a mostly classical programme. Supported by members of the Orchestre National de Belgique.

Choeurs à l’Ecole

Following on from Etoiles et Voix (mentioned below), Choeurs à l’Ecole is a project involving Brussels primary schools. The project is inclusive – all pupils attend the classes. It provides a wonderful experience for children whose musical education may otherwise be limited. As well as training the voice and musical ear, the children are exposed to a form of discipline and group-based work that is of great value in their general development. The classes are also good fun!

Concerts given within this project have been attended by Princess Mathilde and Queen Paola.


ReMuA : the Réseau de Musiciens Intervenants en Ateliers

Etoiles et Voix.

Throughout the school year 2007 – 2008 a team of five professional singers worked to strengthen music education in Brussels’ primary schools.

Etoiles et Voix was an ambitious and imaginative project that ran alongside the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Voice.  It involved 1738 pupils in 9 French-speaking primary schools in Brussels; I was the ‘adopted’ singer for Saint Henri, Woluwe, and Sainte-Marie St. Gilles.

A central idea behind Etoiles et Voix was to introduce primary school children to opera, and in particular to the repertory being sung during the Queen Elisabeth Competition.  Phase I of the project saw the children tackling works by composers such as Mozart, Bizet and Offenbach, in specially adapted arrangements.

In Phase II of the project we led one class of each school through the process of writing their own songs – a major creative effort which resulted in some excellent new works.

The project culminated in two concerts given in the Théâtre Marni, Ixelles, and the Maison du Peuple, St Gilles, in April and May.

Etoiles et Voix was a huge undertaking for everyone involved and demanded a great investment of time and energy from both the pupils and teachers.  For me the results clearly reflect that effort.  I was impressed with the obvious improvement, notably in listening and tone pitching, by the end of the project.

Photos by  R. Noviello