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Jennifer Bellor's "898 Hildegard" Premieres With The Las Vegas Philharmonic

Jennifer Bellor
Jennifer Bellor

Jennifer Bellor

Las Vegas-based composer Jennifer Bellor's “898 Hildegard” receives its premiere Saturday night with the Las Vegas Philharmonic under the direction of Donato Cabrera, along with the Las Vegas Master Singers, and the UNLV Concert Singers and Chamber Chorale conducted by David Weiller.

Bellor told KNPR's State of Nevada about how the music of medieval composer Hildegard von Bingen served as the inspiration for her own musical creation.

“I was very much inspired by her music,” Bellor said.

Bellor sang in a women's choir that would sing Hildegard von Bingen's chants. So, when she was asked by a friend to compose pieces based von Bingen's work for the Genesee Valley Orchestra in Rochester, New York, she was excited.

“It was a very exciting project for me, because I have never done anything like this before. I’ve never used an existing tune as source material,” Bellor explained.

She listened to the chants by von Bingen and then transcribed them. From there, she tweaked and improvised to make them her own.  

“My first step was to internalize the chants that I had chosen,” she said, “Now, when I listen to even the midi recording there are parts of it that I can’t even remember how I came to that.”

The Genessee Valley Orchestra and Choir did Bellor's compositions first, but after hearing them - and singing them - in the first performance, Bellor made changes to her original work. The music the audience will hear Saturday is what it is now.

“When I compose, I like to include a lot of lyricism and grace notes and make it very much an improvisatory sound,” she said. 

The music heard during the interview:

“O Vis Aeternitatis” (Composer: Hildegard von Bingen)

Group: Sequentia

Album: Canticles of Ecstasy

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi  


“O Gloriosissimi Lux” (Composer: Hildegard von Bingen)

Group: Sequentia

Album: Celestial Hierarchy

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi


Jennifer Bellor,  Composer, Performer, Educator

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Since June 2015, Fred has been a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada.