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New Project:

Brussels Cathedral Project

2023 – 2024

! As I am approaching capacity for these workshops, here is a further word of explanation !

In principle, each workshop will be restricted to 10 participants. However, for the first workshop (on October 28th) I am allowing up to 15 participants, as a number of people have asked to experience one workshop before deciding whether to sign up for the full cycle. I have only a few places left for this first workshop (your place is guaranteed on payment). I will also keep a waiting list.
From November on, priority will be given to those who have signed up for the full cycle, and any remaining places will be offered on a first come first served basis

During the next academic year, I will be running a series of monthly workshops in the Chapel of Our Lady of Deliverance (Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral), given in English, French and Dutch, that will teach you to sing Hildegard von Bingen from her original notation. Once you’ve tried it you’ll never look back 🙂

Music was a central part of Hildegard’s life – she considered it to be a foretaste of paradise. This project concentrates on her Marian chants, which we will explore using two magnificent 12th century manuscripts.

Why learn to read her language?

Singing Hildegard from modern editions is problematic because our modern notation encourages a note-by-note interpretation of her melodies. Using the original notation as a basis frees up your mind and your voice as you follow the direction of the musical phrases, shown graphically on the page. It is a language that once learnt is never put aside!

Who should come?

Many different kinds of singer will benefit from these workshops, from music students and professionals interested in learning about medieval music and Hildegard’s compositions, to musical amateurs drawn by her brilliance. The only technical requirement is that you can pitch and hold a note, because we will learn the language of the notation together.


There are eight workshops planned between October 2023 and May 2024 (first workshop will be on October 28, 2023 – all dates are on the flyer), all in the beautiful Brussels Cathedral on Saturday mornings between 9:15 and 12:00. There will also be 2 group performances, one mid-way through the series and one at the end, and there will be an end-of-series concert given by the ensemble La Noeva on Sunday May 26, 2024 at 4pm.

Because of the nature of these workshops, I am limiting the number of participants. First come first served! The registration form is at the top of this page (choose the language you prefer!) If you have any problems downloading the form, please contact me ( and I will send you the form by email.

The basic prices are mentioned on the flyer, but please note that I am also offering a reduction for the complete cycle, which covers free entry to the end-of-series concert by La Noeva on May 26, 2024. Full details on the registration form.

Big thanks to the Cathedral for hosting this project. I can’t wait to share this wonderful music with you!

Ongoing Projects

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.

I offer tailor-made workshops 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 Dutch, French and English and in a variety of different 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. Contact me at penelope.turner(at) for more information.

Previous Projects


De expressieve en vernieuwende kracht van muziek: workshop and weekend retreat featuring the music and language of Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179). Ut Sol (Penelope Turner and Jos Somsen) at the St. Dominicanenklooster Huissen, Stadsdam 1, 6851 AH Huissen, NL. More information here.

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